wow, nypd would be proud of this one..cops also serve these: belizzi, a lower paid private server is cutting into their cushy, high $$ off duty work.
DPD Charges Process Server After Car Hits Him
Written by Brian Maass
Got A Colorado News Tip For CBS4 Denver? Share It Here Reporting
A photo of a leg injury sustained by Richard Bellizzi
A Denver process server has been charged with misdemeanor criminal mischief after he was run over and badly injured by a woman he was trying to serve with divorce papers.
Richard Bellizzi, a private investigator and process server told CBS4, "I was in somewhat of a state of shock," after Denver police arrested him and not the driver of the car that hit him following the June 24 incident.
"And I said, 'Process server divorce papers," and she tried to kill me."
Bellizzi was trying to serve divorce papers to Dr. Oksana Bantley, an area anesthesiologist. Bellizzi said Bantley had avoided another process server and appeared to be trying to avoid him. He spotted her June 24 driving a friend's car. Bellizzi followed her and when she got caught in traffic on Colorado Boulevard Bellizzi jumped out of his car and approached Bantley's car. He held the divorce papers in one hand and a camera in the other hand which recorded what happened next.
The videotape shows Bantley behind the wheel of her car. As Bellizzi stands near the front of her car, he can be heard saying, "Oksana Bantley ... Superior Court …" Bantley shields her face with her hands. But before Bellizzi finishes speaking, she can be seen apparently turning the wheel of her car toward Bellizzi and the car accelerates. The video shows Bellizzi on the hood of the speeding car for a few seconds before the tape cuts off.
"She turned the wheel and gunned the engine, effectively cutting my legs out and forcing me on to the hood of the car," Bellizzi said.
Bellizzi said he hung on for about 260 feet at an estimated 30 to 40 miles per hour before he said Bantley turned sharply, ejecting him from the hood of the car.
"This is not going to end well," Bellizzi remembered thinking as he held on to one of the car's windshield wipers. The incident left him with a broken left ankle and deep bruises and cuts. He hobbled back to his car and drove to the Denver Police Department's District 3 station to report what happened.
"I fully expected to sign a complaint and go to St. Joseph's Hospital and have my injuries attended to," he said.
But Bellizzi said he was immediately met with sarcasm, hostility and aggression by an officer manning the station's front desk. Frustrated by the officer's attitude, Bellizzi asked to speak to a supervisor. He provided Denver police with his videotape of what happened and information on how to track down Bantley, which police did, summoning her to the District 3 station. After several hours he said the same officer who greeted him with hostility and aggression handcuffed him and told him he was being arrested for harassment and criminal mischief.
"I knew I was in the right and not guilty of what they were saying. I knew I was a victim," Bellizzi said. "And I don't often feel I am a victim."
Bellizzi was transported by ambulance to Denver Health Medical Center for treatment and then on to the Denver Jail. He was released 24 hours later. The following day Bellizzi's lawyer, Jennifer Henslee, said she spoke to a sergeant from the Denver Police Department who "apologized for the treatment Mr. Bellizzi received, stated Mr. Bellizzi should never have been charged with a crime."
Henslee has sent a four-page letter to Denver Police Chief Gerry Whitman outlining what happened arguing that Bellizzi spent a night in jail "for no justifiable reason whatsoever." She complained of police conduct and wrote, "Given the facts of this incident, the overwhelming amount of evidence establishing at the very least probable cause that Mrs. Bantley committed several felony crimes, it is unbelievable that she has not been charged. The fact that your officers treated Mr. Bellizzi unfairly with hostility and disrespect is outrageous."
Bellizzi has been issued a summons for misdemeanor criminal mischief. It says he caused damage under $500 by using "physical force." Denver police spokesperson Lt. Matt Murray told CBS4, "My understanding from the report was that the investigation determined that Mr. Bellizzi caused damage to the woman's car." Murray said a detective believed Bellizi jumped on the hood of Bantley's car, leading to the criminal mischief charge.
Henslee now believes police only charged Bellizi because he complained about police conduct and asked to speak to a supervisor after he said the first officer he spoke with at District 3 was disrespectful and condescending.
"I do believe this is in retaliation for Richard pursuing DPD for its wrongful conduct," Henslee said.
Denver police said that an internal affairs investigation began after CBS4 began inquiring about the case and that precludes them from commenting further on what occurred. Bantley declined to provide any comment, saying she had already provided a statement to Denver police.
Bellizzi and his attorney vow to fight the charge. Henslee said facetiously, "So when she ran him over that caused some damage to her car, that was the reason they charged him with criminal mischief. She runs him over with a car, her car gets damaged and he's charged with criminal mischief. This sends a message to everyone out there that if you are a victim you may actually be arrested and you may be treated with hostility, sarcasm and disrespect. It seems incomprehensible to me they would treat a victim of a crime like this."
Bellizzi has been ordered to appear in Denver County Court Oct. 13 on the criminal mischief charge.
Ex-trooper convicted in double fatal crash wants money for his injuries
Accident resulted in death of two sisters
BY BETH HUNDSDORFER - News-Democrat Buzz up!
Former Illinois State trooper Matt Mitchell is asking the state to compensate him for injuries from a crash in which he hit and killed two Collinsville sisters at triple-digit speeds.
Mitchell filed a worker's compensation case on Sept. 13 against the Illinois State Police. The case is pending.
"I wouldn't have filed the case if I thought it was frivolous or didn't have merit," said Kerri O'Sullivan, of the St. Louis firm of Brown and Crouppen, who represents Mitchell. "People get hurt at work all the time. It's our job as lawyers to help people with the difficult and complicated administrative process of worker's compensation."
Matt Mitchell exits the courtroom in April. - Zia Nizami/BND
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Three worker's compensation lawyers say they believe Mitchell could receive compensation for the injuries he received in a Nov. 23, 2007, high-speed crash that resulted in the deaths of sisters Kelli and Jessica Uhl and injured Kelly and Christine Marler, of Fayetteville.
Thomas Q. Keefe, a Belleville lawyer who represented the Uhl girls' parents, Kimberly Schlau and Brian Uhl, in a civil lawsuit against the State Police, called Mitchell's claim "outrageous, but predictable."
"This man has no shame. He has no shame when he recanted his plea of guilty. He has no shame when he insisted on the stand that he was not responsible for this crash," Keefe said. "And he has no shame when he files for worker's compensation benefits."
Mitchell was driving 126 mph in busy day-after-Thanksgiving traffic on Interstate 64 near O'Fallon while sending and receiving e-mails and talking to his girlfriend on his cell phone moments before the crash. Mitchell was responding to an accident near Lebanon, but help already was at the scene of the accident where Mitchell was responding, authorities said.
Mitchell crossed over the median and hit the girls' car head-on. He sustained severe leg injuries.
After the accident, Mitchell was suspended with pay for nearly two years, drawing his $68,000 annual salary. He resigned from the Illinois State Police after pleading guilty to the criminal charges.
Mitchell pleaded guilty to reckless homicide and reckless driving in exchange for a sentence of 30 months probation.
Although Mitchell pleaded guilty to causing the accident, he can still receive a worker's compensation award, three lawyers agreed, saying that the only defense the state may have is whether or not Mitchell was doing his job as a state trooper when the accident occurred.
"If the accident occurred in the furtherance of the function of your employer, even if it was done in a negligent manner, it can be compensible under the Worker's Compensation Act," said Rod Thompson, a Belleville worker's compensation attorney.
"If an accident arises out of the course and scope of a person's employment, the employee is entitled to worker's compensation, despite their poor judgment," said Bruce R. Cook, a Belleville lawyer who handles worker's compensation cases.
Ian Elfenbaum, a Chicago lawyer, said an employee can be under the influence of drugs or alcohol when an injury occurs and still collect worker's comp benefits.
"You can be reckless and even negligent while working in the course and scope of your employment," said Elfenbaum. "Negligence or recklessness on the part of the employee is not a defense for the employer."
During the hearing on the civil suit filed by the Uhls' parents in the Illinois Court of Claims, the Illinois attorney general, who represented the state police in the suit, signed a stipulation agreeing that, despite his plea to the criminal charges, Mitchell was acting in his capacity as a state trooper when the accident occurred.
"That admission seals the deal," Thompson said. "That's all you need to get a compensible injury."
During the April Court of Claims hearing, Mitchell denied that he was responsible for the crash, despite pleading guilty three days earlier to reckless homicide and reckless driving charges.
Illinois worker's compensation was designed to allow injured workers easier access to health benefits and awards, Cook said, adding that "this claim is an insult to taxpayers and those two girls' families."
Under the Illinois Worker's Compensation Act, each injured body part is assigned a number of weeks of pay, and a hearing officer determines the percent of each injured body part.
For example, a hearing officer could determine that a person suffered a 50-percent loss of a leg. If the employee's gross salary was $60,000, he would receive 107.50 weeks at 60 percent of their weekly salary, or $74,423. But it could be an even greater award if the hearing officer finds Mitchell sustained a permanent total disability or finds the state must pay the difference between the amount that he earns now and the amount he earned as a state trooper.
That could be hundreds of thousands of dollars, Keefe said, that will be paid by the taxpayers. The benefits are non-taxable.
"But he still has to get out of bed every day and know that he caused the death of those two girls, and know that he didn't take responsibility for that," Keefe said. "He still has to look himself in the mirror and think about the fact his actions forever took two girls away from their parents, then he filed for worker's compensation benefits."
Editors’ note: Comments have been removed from this story due to the nature of the content and because of numerous inappropriate comments by readers on previous editions of the stories.
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