Ethnic intimidation charge

Mark P. Ferrari, left, is shown in this November 2018 file photo after being banned by court order from being on Peters Township School District property or buses. At right is his attorney, Keith Emerick.

An enraged Peters Township motorist who confronted a school bus driver apologized in Washington County Court Tuesday for his actions in October 2018 before a judge sentenced him to two years’ probation.

Mark Peter Ferrari, 61, of Locust Drive, entered an “open” guilty plea in September to charges of ethnic intimidation, entering a school bus without authorization and disorderly conduct, deferring to the judge to impose sentence.

Ferrari called the confrontation “a horrible mistake” and that he should have instead filed a report of speeding with the police and let law enforcement handle it.

Ferrari was, in fact, the first driver to contact Peters Township police about the incident, but after the bus driver, Henry Hill, told his side of the matter and police viewed a video recording taken from the bus, they filed charges against Ferrari.

The defendant described himself as the parent of a son and daughter, someone who would have been offended had they been exposed to similar conduct. He also said, among other activities, that he has been a youth soccer and basketball coach for children of various backgrounds and levels of skill.

He has been in therapy for both anger and stress management, with which he said he intends to continue even before the judge made counseling part of his sentence.

Hill did not attend Tuesday’s sentencing hearing, but Assistant District Attorney Nathan Michaux said he has kept him informed as the case proceeded. Hill is a former police officer who retired from the force in Colorado Springs, Colo., 15 years ago.

The grandson of Peter Glasser, former member of Peters Township council, was on his way home from elementary school on Oct. 8, 2018, when Ferrari claimed his vehicle was run off Locust Drive by the bus into a yard near Manor Drive and Beacon Way.

When children were disembarking, Ferrari boarded.

The grandfather described his grandson, then 9 years old, as one of 17 pupils Ferrari “terrorized” and “trapped” when the man climbed the vehicle’s steps, accused Hill of speeding, called the driver a “spic” and yelled obscenities.

“Mr. Ferrari’s actions have robbed me of a sense of security in the only place I have called home for 40 years,” Glasser told Judge Valarie Costanzo.

As the judge perused a victim impact statement, one of Ferrari’s neighbors spoke up, identifying herself as a character witness for the defendant.

Ferrari’s attorney, Keith Emerick, later asked Lynn Hiscar to address the court. She disagreed with Glasser’s characterization of Ferrari, calling him a “helpful neighbor for 20 years.”

In addition to his probationary sentence, Ferrari is to perform 100 hours of community service under the supervision of the Washington County Adult Probation Office, undergo a mental health evaluation, follow up with recommended treatment and complete an approved course of anger management. He was fined $300 for disorderly conduct.

The judge also ordered that Ferrari not have any contact with Hill, and allowed to stand an arrangement with the Peters Township School District that Ferrari be able to participate in his children’s school-related activities as long as he notifies the school district in advance.

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