Martin Luther Kane went to the Vienna Town Hall yesterday morning to discuss his frustrations over a $10 parking fine. When he arrived, he told a police officer later, he saw something that made him snap: a row of police cars.
Kane hit the accelerator on his dump truck and headed across the parking lot. Seconds later, town officials said, the truck had demolished two new Vienna police cruisers and heavily damaged a third. No one was injured, but damage was estimated at $40,000.
"He did it on purpose," said Marie Kisner, a Town Hall spokeswoman. "He told one of our officers that he was despondent over some traffic tickets and when he saw the cars he had a 'nervous breakdown.' "
"In his own words, he just lost it," said Vienna Police Chief Donald G. Harper, whose car was one of the two that was ruined. "It's totaled," he said of the cruiser. "A brand new car, and it's totaled."
Although Kane, 28, may win the sympathies of some motorists frustrated by fines, Vienna authorities were not amused. They charged Kane, of 9808 Clifford Dr. in Fairfax County, with destruction of town property and reckless driving.
Kane owed only one parking ticket to Vienna, Kisner said, but he told officers that he had outstanding fines in Fairfax County and that his car recently had been towed after being illegally parked in a private lot. Kane said the car was still impounded because he did not have the money to get it released, officials said.
Kane was driving a 21,000-pound dump truck owned by his employer, Wiser Bros. Inc., a Fairfax trucking firm. Damage to the truck was estimated at $500, according to a Wiser employe at the scene.
He was released on his own recognizance. If convicted on both charges, Harper said, Kane could face $1,500 in fines, up to one year in jail and a six-month suspension of his license.
"His original intent was to come in and talk it over," Kisner said of the parking fine that brought Kane to the Town Hall.
Chief Harper said officers have not found any witnesses to the entire episode, but town employe Sandy Jester said she saw the final moments. "It just went boom, and there was smoke everywhere," she said. "It drove right over the car . . . . The driver jumped out and started running. I think he went inside the Town Hall ."
Jester said she often deals with parking violators in her job in the town's accounts payable department. "Of course everyone is a little irritated at first," she said. "But you don't expect someone to go do something like this." CAPTION: Picture 1, The dump truck that rammed into three police cars parked behind the Vienna Town Hall is checked by mechanics. Damage to cars was estimated at $40,000.; Picture 2, Vienna authorities escort truck driver Martin Luther Kane, center, into car at police station behind Town Hall. PHOTOS BY ELLSWORTH J. DAVIS -- THE WASHINGTON POST