Defense: Hit & Run Suspect Feared For His Life
JEFFERSON TOWNSHIP (KDKA) — The attorney for a man who’s accused of running down a woman outside a bar in Greene County on New Year’s Day says his client was in fear for his life.
Maris Chandler, 22, turned himself in at state police barracks this morning with his family by his side.
Chandler was wanted in connection with a hit and run accident outside Ozy’s Bar and Grill in Jefferson Township that sent a local woman to the hospital with life-threatening injuries.
“Scared for my life,” Chandler said as he got into a police car. “Still am.”
Witnesses say Chelsie Robinson was standing in front of Chandler’s grey Mitsubishi when he sped off around 2:30 a.m. on January 1st. “He just took off and she ended up the road about 100 feet and he just kept on going,” Gary Bogumit told KDKA earlier this month.
Robinson, 24, suffered broken ribs, a broken leg and damage to her spleen.
Chandler contends that he was assaulted by an unruly crowd hurling racial slurs.
They didn’t tell you he was being called the N-word,” defense Attorney Blaine Jones II said. “They didn’t tell you they were going to lynch him.”
“They were beating on his car, telling him they were going to lynch him,” Jones continued. “He was trying to get out of there. He was scared for his life.”
Jones said Chandler and a friend were the only two African-Americans in the bar.
“I didn’t want anything bad to happen, that’s why I tried to get him to leave,” his friend, Jon Green, told KDKA after the accident. “He wanted to leave. They wouldn’t let him leave.”
Green said he and Chandler were scared for their lives and “unfortunately from him trying to escape and get away, somebody got hurt bad and it’s terrible – it’s just a terrible situation all the way around.”
Jones says his client has never been in trouble before, has a family and is self-employed in construction.
“His family’s gotten threats – they’re going to burn the house, they’re going to do all these things,” Jones said. “These people are living in fear right now.”
Chandler will be arraigned on charges including aggravated assault in Greene County.