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Scofflaw Trucker Gets State Prison for Tussle with Officer

February 16, 2016


FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Contact: Marc Furber, 215.348.6339, mjfurber@buckscounty.org

A Bucks County truck driver who fought with and wrested a Taser from a police officer who tried to arrest him was sentenced this morning to state prison.

Michael George Maier, described by his lawyer as a person who “doesn’t like authority,” was ordered to serve 16 to 48 months in state prison, followed by three years of probation after his parole expires.

Bucks County Senior Judge Albert J. Cepparulo told Maier that Pennridge Regional Police Officer Pedro Ruiz had shown “an enormous degree of restraint” by not shooting Maier during an extended brawl outside Maier’s home in East Rockhill Township last September.

On Sept. 7, Ruiz had spotted Maier, 51, outside his house while on patrol. Maier was wanted on a bench warrant for having failed to report to the Bucks County Correctional Facility in July.

Maier had been sentenced by Cepparulo on June 10 to serve three to 12 months for operating a moving company without a license. Maier had flouted the law for years by not having proper credentials, and had prompted a long trail of consumer complaints from former customers.

He had been expected to report to the prison on July 1, but never showed up.

When Ruiz approached Maier in September, Maier fled into the woods behind his home, yelling “I can’t go back to jail!” The officer caught up with Maier, and the two wrestled on the ground as Ruiz tried to put handcuffs on Maier.

At one point, Ruiz testified, he was forced to use his Taser weapon on Maier twice to subdue him, but that Maier quickly recovered and continued to struggle. Maier ultimately managed to grab the Taser from Ruiz while the officer was trying to handcuff him. Maier repeatedly pulled the trigger, but failed to stun the officer.

Even after Ruiz succeeded in handcuffing Maier, the defendant kept trying to break loose and flee, prompting another wrestling bout near Ruiz’s parked patrol car. Because of the remote setting of Maier’s home, Ruiz’s handheld radio had no reception and he had been unable to call for backup officers.

A civilian motorist passing Maier’s home saw the officer struggling on the ground with Maier and stopped. Ruiz asked the motorist to use the radio in his patrol car to call for backup help. Ruiz said the altercation left him with nerve damage that caused numbness in his hand for about one month.

Deputy District Attorney Marc J. Furber, who prosecuted the case, said there “could have been some serious injuries here” had Ruiz not shown such restraint.

Maier was imprisoned after the encounter, serving his initial sentence before being released Feb. 5 on bail. He pleaded guilty today to resisting arrest, and no contest to simple assault and disarming a law enforcement officer.

Maier told the judge that he had apologized repeatedly to Ruiz at subsequent court hearings, and that being in jail had blunted his oppositional attitude. Defense attorney A. Charles Peruto Jr. said he had lectured Maier as well.

“He is a different person now,” Peruto said. “It’s the big picture that has changed, the attitude toward regulations and police in general.”

Cepparulo nonetheless sentenced Maier to state prison. Maier begged unsuccessfully for the judge to reconsider, saying he needed time to close down his business before surrendering.

“Well, too bad,” Cepparulo said. “As far as I’m concerned, I’m showing you mercy.”

He ordered Maier taken into custody immediately.

Approved for release by Michelle Henry, First Assistant District Attorney.

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