March 4, 2010

Man run down by SUV, suspect jailed

DAVID HENCH

— By

click image to enlarge

Police tape secures the scene where police say this Ford Explorer was used to run down a man outside this Auburn Terrace apartment building in Portland on Wednesday, before the car crashed into the electrical meters on the side of the building.

David Hench/Staff Writer

Timothy Antone

Staff Writer

PORTLAND — A Portland man was seriously injured Wednesday, police say, when he was deliberately run down outside his apartment building by the driver of a sport utility vehicle.

Roland Villacci, 49, was listed in critical condition at Maine Medical Center with head and other injuries. Police and family members were unsure whether he would survive.

Timothy Antone, 42, of Scarborough was charged with elevated aggravated assault in the incident and was held in the Cumberland County Jail.

Police later added a charge of criminal attempt to commit murder, and Anton's bail was increased from $250,000 to $1 million.

Police said the charges could be elevated if Villacci died.

The two men knew each other and were in a dispute over Antone's wife, said Villacci's brother, Nick Villacci.

He said Antone had left notes at several buildings in the Auburn Terrace apartment complex accusing Roland Villacci of assaulting Antone's wife.

Nick Villacci disputed that allegation, but police would not comment on any details of the investigation except to say they are looking into the dispute between the two men.

At 11:20 a.m. Wednesday, Antone was parked in a Ford Explorer in a lot near Building B of Auburn Terrace, police said. He called Villacci, who was in his second-floor apartment, and said he should come down.

Villacci's roommate argued against going down, but Villacci, who is a bodybuilder, decided to go anyway, said his brother.

Police said that, as Villacci walked toward the Explorer, Antone accelerated quickly and drove toward him. Villacci tried to run toward the building but couldn't escape and was hit.

The sport utility vehicle crashed into the building, damaging the electrical meters.

Antone was seen walking out the driveway of the apartment complex and officers arrested him, police said. Villacci was unconscious when police and rescue workers arrived.

Michelle Castrello, who lives in a nearby building in the complex, said Villacci was friendly. She didn't know him well but often saw him cooking on a gas grill behind his building.

Castrello and others said that notes had been left around the building saying that Villacci had committed an assault, though she didn't give it much credence.

''I just figured he was having a dispute with somebody,'' she said.

Nick Villacci said his brother and Antone have known each other for a long time.

He said his brother was in a coma Wednesday night, with a machine providing oxygen to his lungs.

Staff Writer David Hench can be contacted at 791-6327 or at:

dhench@pressherald.com

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