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School board member charged in injuring police chief with car

Friday, October 24, 2003

By Mike Bucsko, Post-Gazette Staff Writer

The arrest last night of the husband of a South Allegheny school board member triggered a bizarre chain of events that led to the board member being charged with striking the district's police chief with her car and the cancellation of today's classes.

District Police Chief Kristopher I. Kircher was flown to UPMC Presbyterian last night with an injured right leg. Police said board member Terry Dozzi hit him with her car outside the Glassport office of District Justice Edward Burnett.

Kircher was in fair condition last night. An examination of Kircher's leg at the hospital revealed no broken bones, said South Allegheny police Officer Mark Langford.

Terry Dozzi fled the scene after Kircher was struck and was arrested within minutes at her Port Vue home. She was taken to the Glassport police station and later to the Allegheny County police headquarters in Point Breeze, where she remained in custody last night.

Superintendent Patrick Risha canceled today's classes as a result of last night's chain of events. He said in a statement that the district was taking "whatever steps necessary to ensure a safe and healthy educational climate for all students."

Eugene "Gino" Dozzi, 44, was arrested at the couple's home last night and charged with inciting South Allegheny High School students to engage in a food fight in the school cafeteria in April and supplying cigarettes to some of the students.

Terry Dozzi, who found out about the arrest during a school board meeting last night, rushed over to Burnett's office on Ninth Street to await her husband's arraignment.

Burnett, who witnessed the incident, said Dozzi's car came up Allegheny Avenue and turned on to Ninth, struck Kircher, who was standing across the street from the office, and kept going.

Burnett arraigned Eugene Dozzi on charges of reckless endangerment and corruption of minors.

According to the affidavit of probable cause, Kircher said Eugene Dozzi told three students at his house to start a food fight in the school cafeteria and to "resist and assault police officers if any attempts were made to detain them."

Dozzi blamed his arrest on politics.

"This is what happens when you speak out in South Allegheny," Dozzi said last night as he was being led from Burnett's office by police.

He denied supplying cigarettes to minors.

"They bring their own cigarettes to my house and smoke them," he said.

Eugene Dozzi was being held last night at the Allegheny County Jail on $100,000 straight bond.

The Dozzis have three children who attend South Allegheny schools -- 14-year-old twins and a 10-year-old.

Terry Dozzi is among the four-member minority and is a vocal opponent of spending and often raises questions about the budget.

"The entire district is pulling for [Kircher] for a quick and full recovery," Risha said in a statement. "With that said, the South Allegheny school board and administration will take whatever steps necessary to ensure a safe and healthy educational climate for all students."

"At this time, there have been some arrests as a result of an ongoing investigation."


Mike Bucsko can be reached at mbucsko@post-gazette.com or 412-263-1732.

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