An Italian Embassy employe was arrested early yesterday for allegedly running his car up onto a sidewalk in Georgetown and trying to hit another man, but the charges against him were dropped and he was released after invoking diplomatic immunity, D.C. police reported.
The embassy employe was charged with assault with a deadly weapon, according to police department documents, but the charges were dropped when police confirmed with the State Department that he was a secretary for the Italian military attache.
The man was identified by police sources as Bruno Sautariello, 42, of Silver Spring. Although Sautariello is not a diplomat, police said, he enjoys diplomatic immunity because of his position with the embassy.
Ludovico Ortona, press counselor for the Italian Embassy, confirmed that an embassy employe was involved in the incident but would not release the employe's name, saying that he was not charged. He said the employe chased a man with his car only after he was "threatened."
Police said the incident occurred about 2:30 a.m. near the intersection of 34th and M streets NW when a man in a car tried to start a conversation with a 16-year-old girl who was standing on a sidewalk.
When the girl refused to talk to him, according to police department documents, the man got out of his car and started to walk toward her, and the girl fled, returning with David S. Caldwell, 23, of the District. As Caldwell approached, the documents say, the man ran to his car, got in and locked the doors, and Caldwell kicked the car.
The man backed up his car, then "attempted to run over Caldwell by chasing him across the street and up on to some steps with his vehicle," the documents say.
Caldwell jumped from the steps and ran north on 34th Street as the car "then attempted to drive up the sidewalk after him . . . ," the documents say.
Officer Ronald M. Shroeder of the 2nd District saw the chase, pulled his service revolver and ordered the driver to stop.
The driver was taken to the 2nd District station, where he was charged with assault with a deadly weapon: the car. He was released after the State Department confirmed that he had full diplomatic immunity.
Embassy spokesman Ortona said the employe was interviewed by embassy officials and that "he actually had no intention of injuring the youngster, and he didn't."
Ortona said the employe "tried to contact the girl and there were some youngsters in the vicinity who threatened him."
Ortona said the threats consisted of "the usual verbal threats.
"This is the report we received and as far as we're concerned . . . that's it. It's over." Ortona said the embassy anticipates no action against the employe "unless something different emerges."
In an unrelated incident 10 days ago, a high-ranking Soviet military attache, reported in police documents to be "apparently severely intoxicated," was involved in a two-car accident in Rock Creek Park in which an 85-year-old woman was hospitalized with a hip injury. Soviet officials denied that the attache, identified as Sergie N. Smirnov, was intoxicated.