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Penn. Man Accused of Harassing Off-Duty EMTs With Ethnic Intimidation

Tribune-Review, Greensburg, Pa.

Two black emergency medical technicians with Murrysville Medic One were first harassed after a farewell party and then nearly driven off the highway by a Pittsburgh man who tailed them in his pickup truck, according to police.

Murrysville police on Tuesday charged Michael W. Klaus, 43, of West End, with ethnic intimidation, reckless endangering and driving on a suspended license for an incident against one EMS provider that reportedly started early Nov. 21 outside Bob’s Inn on Old William Penn Highway.

Monroeville police separately filed non-traffic citations for public drunkenness and disorderly conduct against Klaus for harassing a second EMS provider who was allegedly followed and harassed during the drive home to Monroeville, according to online court dockets.

Both victims went to the restaurant after working until 11 p.m. Nov. 20 to join co-workers attending a party for another employee who was leaving the ambulance service, according to Murrysville police officers Matthew Panigal and Daniel Cox.

When the victims departed with others about 12:30 a.m., “they were approached by a white male (later identified as Klaus) who was outside in the parking lot,” according to the complaint.

The victims told police they had never met Klaus. As one victim drove out of the parking lot to head east on William Penn Highway, he heard Klaus begin “screaming at him.” The victim reported Klaus was yelling racist slurs and began following him in his 2015 GMC pickup truck.

“(The victim) reported that Klaus attempted to ram into his vehicle and several times had to accelerate and maneuver out of the way to avoid being struck by Klaus’ vehicle,” Panigal reported.

The victim, who reported the incident to police the next morning, said that Klaus had his window down and continued yelling racial epithets before fleeing west.

Murrysville officers reported that they learned from Monroeville police that Klaus allegedly returned to the restaurant and followed the second EMS provider. Police reported Klaus also attempted to run the other victim off the road several times.

Klaus could not be reached for comment. It could not be determined from police reports whether Klaus had been a customer at the restaurant prior to the incident.

A worker at Bob’s said they were not aware of the alleged incident.

Police reported that Klaus has a suspended driver’s license from a DUI conviction in Allegheny County.

Murrysville Medic One administrative director Darrick Gerano noted that the employees attending were all “off duty” at the time of the alleged incident.

“I will say we support our employees and the police investigation. I really have no further comment right now,” he said.

Reached by phone, one of the victims said he had no comment at this time “because it is an active, ongoing investigation.”

The citations and complaints against Klaus were mailed via summons. Preliminary hearings have not been scheduled.

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