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Norfolk man faces several charges from Friday night road rage confrontation

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POTSDAM - A truck driver from Indiana reportedly suffered a broken nose, a facial laceration and multiple bruises to his face during what police have described as a road rage incident Friday night in the village of Potsdam.

Village police charged Kennin K. Snyder, 26, of Route 56, Norfolk, with second-degree assault, third-degree aggravated unlicensed operation of a motor vehicle, unlawful possession of marijuana and disorderly conduct at 8:52 p.m. Friday on Madrid Avenue. He was arraigned in village court and released under the supervision of the probation department.

Police allege Snyder punched Mark A. Howard, 48, a truck driver from Huntington, Ind., several times and also kneed him during a physical confrontation on Main Street.

The disorderly conduct charge alleges Snyder used abusive and obscene language toward hospital staff when he was being treated in the Canton-Potsdam Hospital emergency department. He was also charged with the marijuana violation after he was found in possession of less than 15 grams when he was being taken into custody on the assault charge.

Village police said they received multiple calls of two males fighting in the middle of Maple Street at Pine Street. Both individuals had left the scene prior to the arrival of the police, but the alleged victim was located on Madrid Avenue after contacting village police.

Snyder had fled the scene but was apprehended by Norwood Police assisted by Norfolk Police and St. Lawrence County Sheriff’s Department deputies.

Snyder, whose New York state operating privileges were suspended, allegedly passed the victim’s truck unsafely and then braked suddenly right in front of him as both vehicles were leaving the village of Canton, before speeding up again and passing several other vehicles.

Mr. Howard, in the statement he provided police, said he was enroute to Lavalle Transportation in Potsdam after making a delivery in Ogdensburg when the incident occurred. He noted he had to slam on his brakes to avoid the sports utility vehicle after it passed his tractor trailer.

He said he decided to share his thoughts with the SUV operator that had almost caused him to get into an accident when their vehicles were stopped at a red light near the Walmart store in Potsdam.

“I parked my truck, got out and approached the SUV. When he saw me, I asked him, ‘Why did you slam your brakes on me?’ He looked at me and said that I was driving way too slow. I then told him that I had my control set on 55 mph because that is the speed limit. Because the guy in the SUV seemed so agitated, I went back and got in my truck,” Mr. Howard noted in his statement to police.

He said he went back to his cab and both vehicles left the intersection near Walmart and continued heading east toward the village of Potsdam. He said a short distance down the road he noticed the red SUV pulled off on the side of the road and the “blonde, skinny male driver” got out of his vehicle waving his arms and yelling at Mr. Howard to pull his rig over.

“I just ignored him and continued to drive on,” he told police.

But he said he had another confrontation with Snyder at a red light on Maple Street at Pine Street. He said he was waiting at the light to turn left on to Pine Street to go to Lavalle Transportation Inc., his final destination, when out of the corner of his eye he noticed the SUV driver standing on the side step of his truck.

He said Snyder jerked the door open, entered the cab and started punching him in the head.

“I instantly reached over to apply the air brake on the truck, and the guy continued to punch me. I was able to get the brakes on but then the guy grabbed me and started pulling me out of my truck,” Mr. Howard noted in his statement.

“I was able to grab the tire beater out of my truck cab. The guy continued to punch me and then pulled me completely out of my truck. I swung my tire beater at him trying to defend myself. The guy continued to punch me in the head so I threw the tire beater aside and tried to grab the guy by his arms. The guy them slammed me back against my truck and then threw me to the ground, where I hit my head on the pavement. The guy then struck me in the face with his knee and ran off,” he added.

Patrolman Matthew A. Seymour, who accompanied Snyder while he was being treated at Canton-Potsdam Hospital between 8:58 p.m. and 10:50 p.m., said the Norwood man made several admissions as well as “excited utterances”while he was in the emergency room.

His information noted Snyder suggested several times that the other man had gotten out of his tractor trailer, approached him and struck him in the head with a baseball bat or a billy club. Ptl. Seymour said Snyder told him he had driven the other guy in the head, grabbed the billy club and thrown it across the highway in a confrontation near the Walmart intersection.

“The defendant went on to explain that he couldn’t believe he got arrested and not the other guy because the other guy hit him first in the head with a billy club. The defendant stated he got angry when he returned to his vehicle, then followed the truck driver into the village and kicked his ... The defendant asked ... how he could be arrested because he only hit the other driver once, after the guy came up to his vehicle and started yelling at him through his closed driver window,” Ptl. Seymour noted in his information.

Potsdam Rescue was called and transported Mr. Howard to Canton-Potsdam Hospital due to injuries sustained to his face and head, including a broken nose and multiple lacerations and contusions.

Snyder, who also complained of injury to his head and right hand, was transported to CPH by Potsdam Village Police. While in the emergency department, he reportedly became combative and disorderly and had to be physically restrained several times.

His actions and refusal to cooperate, including extending his middle finger only while his hand was X-rayed, swearing and yelling, and physically resisting hospital staff attempts to examine him were disruptive to the staff and other patients in the Emergency Department and resulted in the disorderly conduct charge, police said.

He was arraigned by Potsdam Village Justice Nicholas Pignone, who after consulting with the District Attorney’s Office released him under the supervision of the Probation Department to return at a later date. The court signed a temporary order of protection directing Snyder to stay away from the alleged victim.

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