WALTHAM (CBS) – The two drivers involved in a wild road rage incident on the Massachusetts Turnpike appeared separately in court Monday. One of them left with his license revoked.
Mark Fitzgerald, 37, of Ashland and 65-year-old Richard Kamrowski of Framingham were both arraigned on charges in the confrontation that was captured on video and made national news over the weekend.
The men got into a minor crash on the westbound side of the Mass Pike Friday afternoon in Weston and began to argue. Kamrowski claimed Fitzgerald swerved into his lane and bumped his car, but the dispute escalated quickly.
Kamrowski allegedly took a water bottle from Fitzgerald's car and smashed his windshield. He claims he tried to get Fitzgerald to stop but said Fitzgerald kept trying to take off. Moments later, Kamrowski ended up on the hood of Fitzgerald's SUV.
State Police said Fitzgerald took off, reaching 70 miles per hour at one point, stopping and accelerating for three miles when Kamrowski didn't get off his vehicle. "He kept going fast, slow, fast, slow tried to get me to slide off," Kamrowski said.
The incident, which was captured on cell phone video, ended when some good Samaritans helped box in the SUV and kept Fitzgerald from leaving until troopers arrived. One man forced Fitzgerald out of the car at gunpoint. It was later learned he had a license to carry a firearm and was not charged.
That man, an Army veteran, told WBZ-TV, "They didn't know if the guy was armed, so that's why I drew my weapon and then I asked him to get out of the car because the car was still running, the person was still on the hood, and he can still take off and kill the two other civilians that were there."
Both Fitzgerald and Kamrowski were arrested.
Fitzgerald pleaded not guilty Monday to charges of assault with a dangerous weapon, negligent operation of a motor vehicle and leaving the scene of a property damage accident. His driver's license was revoked and he was released on $500 cash bail. He was also ordered to stay away from Kamrowski.
The prosecutor said Fitzgerald has a criminal record in Connecticut and Vermont. His attorney argued that Fitzgerald was afraid for his life during the incident Friday and said Kamrowski jumped on the hood of his car.
"If someone was attacking me, if someone smashed my windshield, had already tried to attack me from both sides of my car, I think my first thought would be, 'Let's get out of here.' I think everybody reasonably acts to protect their own safety," Fitzgerald's attorney Michael Chinman told reporters outside court. "I was astonished that a man would jump onto the hood of a moving car when there was, by all accounts, extremely minor contact between the cars prior to that."
Chinman said his client is not the bad guy here.
"I just don't think the evidence is there that Mr. Fitzgerald was a bad man."
When asked why Fitzgerald never called 911 if he felt threatened, Chinman said, "I can't speak to that."
Kamrowski pleaded not guilty to disorderly conduct and malicious damage to a motor vehicle. He was allowed to leave on a promise to return to court for the next hearing in the case on March 13.
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