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'Snow Rage' Pits Storm-Weary Residents Against Plow Drivers Just Trying To Do Jobs

MANORHAVEN, N.Y. (CBSNewYork) -- The seemingly never-ending rounds of snowstorm after snowstorm have taken a toll on residents' patience in the Tri-State Area.

As CBS 2's Carolyn Gusoff reported Tuesday, people have found themselves fed up with the hassle of plowing, shoveling and salting. In fact, they have been pushed to the edge, to the point where they have been taking out their frustrations on plow drivers.

Eric Ramirez, a snow plow driver on Long Island, said an irate man went so far as to rack a shotgun Sunday and threaten to shoot him because he was piling snow in front of the man's Manorhaven home.

"I see the guy is coming across the street; is coming to me. I say, 'Hi.' He talked to me," Ramirez said, adding the man responded by saying he was coming to shoot him.

Raymond Hounigringer, 48, was charged with menacing in the incident. But that was not the only recent case of "snow rage."

Raymond Hounigringer
Raymond Hounigringer, 49, is charged with allegedly brandishing a shotgun at a snow plow driver in Manorhaven, Long Island. (Credit: CBS 2)

Last week in Norwalk, Conn., Tony Thompson, also 48, was charged with assault for allegedly attacking a plow driver with a shovel.

Tony Thompson
Tony Thompson, 48, is charged with attacking a snow plow driver with a shovel in Norwalk, Conn. (Credit: NYPD)

Plow drivers said tempers are raging everywhere.

"They yell. They curse at you. They do all kind of stupidness," said driver Zaheer Hussain. "They make snowballs and throw them at you."

Employees of Aero Snow Removal, where the threatened driver works, said they have seen an escalation of hostilities with each snowfall.

"It started with snowballs, and worked its way to branches; lids, anything they can find and now it's to weaponry," said Aero Snow Removal supervisor Sergio Vasquez. "A shotgun is a little extreme."

"Our operators – people throw things at them; curse at them. They get very irate," Aero Snow Removal dispatcher Emily McEntea said.

And while plow operators said they understand the frustration of residents, digging out only to be boxed in by a passing plow, they themselves are frustrated, too.

"We are out there fighting it as well, and we can't -- you know, there's nowhere to put it," Vasquez said.

Mayor Giovanna Giunta released a statement about the incident in Manorhaven.

"This act is reprehensible! I am thankful that a tragedy was avoided. Plowmen work responsibly and tirelessly.... They don't deserve any lack of consideration, let alone to have their safety threatened," Giunta said.

Snow-weary residents agreed Tuesday.

"I've actually been standing there, and then they come. That's infuriating," one woman said. "I wouldn't become violent, but it is frustrating."

Long Island defendant Hounigringer could not be reached Tuesday. Ramirez will be back on his plow on Wednesday.

But Ramirez's partner on the plow actually had his first and last day Sunday. He quit on the spot, saying the work was too dangerous.

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