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Man sentenced in hit-and-run death

February 26, 1998

By MARLO BARNHART

Staff Writer

A Hagerstown man who remained free for a year after the vehicle he was driving struck and killed a pedestrian in a hit-and-run accident near South Hagerstown High School was sentenced Thursday to one year in jail.

Harry Philip Maus Jr., 32, of 945 Rose Hill Ave., also was fined $500 for reckless driving.

He had pleaded guilty to one count of hit and run and one count of reckless driving.

The penalties were the maximum for each offense.

"Your actions on that night to cover up and conceal this act show an absolute disregard for other people's rights," said Washington County Circuit Judge Frederick C. Wright III.

Defense attorney Martin Palmer said Maus wished he could go back to that night but he can't.

"It was a dark night ... the victim was wearing dark clothes," Palmer said.

In exchange for Maus' two guilty pleas, charges of negligent homicide by auto, failure to render assistance to a victim, failure to report an accident, negligent driving and making an unsafe lane change were dismissed.

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The April 27, 1996, accident claimed the life of Joachim Pierre, 24, who lived in the 1300 block of Jay Drive at the time of his death, police said.

His body was found by a passerby on the east side of the 1200 block of South Potomac Street.

An autopsy revealed Pierre died of multiple neck fractures, spine fractures and a lacerated lung.

Gloria Little, girlfriend of the victim, was seated in the courtroom Thursday.

In a telephone conversation after the hearing, Little said she wasn't asked to provide a victim impact statement nor was she given the opportunity to speak at Thursday's hearing.

"If I had been able to speak, I would have asked Mr. Maus how he felt knowing that the person in his truck that night told him he had just hit a person and he still didn't stop," Little said by telephone.

At the time of the accident, police gathered evidence at the scene that included pieces of grill and headlight glass believed to be from the vehicle.

Laboratory analysis indicated the vehicle could be a 1985-91 Chevrolet full-sized vehicle, police said.

With no more to go on, the police investigation became inactive until January 1997, when information surfaced in an unrelated case.

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