LUCKY, Lucky Deer Hunter, Motorist
Bridgeton News, NJ
By JAIME MARINE. DEERFIELD TWP.
Thursday, December 04, 2003
DEERFIELD TWP. -- While out deer hunting early Tuesday
morning near Lebanon Road, Mayor John Stanzione fired his muzzleloader
at a deer and missed the head of Rosenhayn resident Frank Manno by 2
inches as he was driving to work.
The bullet smashed through the windshield of Manno's car
and lodged in the headrest, inches from his head.
Doug Ely, conservation officer for the Department of Fish
and Game, said no one was injured and that the incident was an accident.
"Mr. Stanzione believed he was firing in a different
direction," he said.
"Maybe he should have used better judgment in a developed
area, but he was very forthcoming with information and he was sorry for
Stanzione is expected to be charged with careless
discharge of a firearm and damage to property of another while hunting, both
"He may have to pay a fine and he will also lose his
hunting privileges for two years," he said. "Also, he will be required to
take a safety course before he gets his license back."
The incident took place at 7:10 a.m., Ely said, when
Stanzione and a group of hunters were conducting a deer drive, meaning
they were trying to drive deer out of hiding.
"Mr. Stanzione had a deer come across the field toward
him, he fired and missed the deer," he said. "His projectile went from where
he shot to the vehicle of Mr. Manno, who was traveling eastbound Lebanon
The projectile went through the windshield of Manno's car
on the passenger side, Ely said, moved diagonally to the drivers
side and lodged in the headrest.
"After the incident, we conducted an investigation and we
found that the bullet missed Mr. Manno by no more than two inches," he
Stanzione said he couldn't give the specifics of the
incident, but he said, "This was a freak accident, it was nothing
intentional or negligent and I cannot comment any further."
Stanzione said he talked with Manno Wednesday and told him
how sorry he felt.
"I can't imagine what I would feel like right now if I had
hit him,'' said Stanzione.
It would have changed the lives of both men forever.
"I am so thankful no one was hurt,'' said Stanzione.
Officers were able to recreate the incident with little
trouble, Ely said, and they feel they have a clear picture of what
"We were able to find where the shooter was standing
during the incident and we also recovered pieces of his projectile," he said.
"When we traced the line it went from the shooter to the victim's vehicle
and after that everything fell into place, it was obvious what had
Stanzione waited before he attempted to fire at the deer,
but Ely said he believes that no matter how careful Stanzione was being,
there was no safe spot to shoot in that field.
"Mr. Stanzione had been hunting in that area for many
years," he said.
"While there might have been safe shooting lanes in the
past, those are now gone due to the development the area has seen."