A man authorities are describing as a “Good Samaritan” used his concealed firearm to help end what could have been a deadly road rage incident on the Massachusetts Turnpike over the weekend.
The incident involved two men, one of whom ended up on the hood of the other’s car as it sped along the highway, at one point reaching speeds of 70 mph. According to local media as well as video footage of the incident, Frankie Hernandez, 49, used his car to force the driver to the side of the road and then used his gun to force the man out of the car.
Hernandez told investigators he was “in fear of the safety of the man on the hood,” so he pulled his gun and ordered the driver out of the car and onto the ground. Video footage shows the driver step out of the car but refuse to get on the ground.
When state troopers arrived, they told Hernandez to drop his firearm, which he did. They initially handcuffed him, but he was soon released without charge.
SEE ALSO: Ep. 9 Should I Shoot? Road Rage
The incident allegedly began when Mark Paul Fitzgerald swerved into Richard Kamrowski’s car and refused to stop. Fitzgerald claims Kamrowski hit him, and his lawyer argued in court on Monday that Kamrowski was the aggressor and that his client feared for his safety.
When the traffic stopped, Kamrowski exited his vehicle and approached Fitzgerald’s SUV. He claims he wanted to exchange insurance information.
“Kamrowski then walked in front of the Infiniti,” according to a Massachusetts State Police report. “Fitzgerald stated that he then started to drive and Kamrowski jumped on the hood of his SUV and smashed the windshield with the water bottle. Fitzgerald stated that he was in fear for his safety so he started to drive with Kamrowski on his hood.”
Fitzgerald claims he stopped several times and asked Kamrowski to get off of his car, but the 65-year-old man refused.
“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.”
Fitzgerald has been charged with 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 at his court appearance on Monday, and he was released on $500 cash bail. Prosecutors also noted that he has a criminal record in Connecticut and Vermont.
Kamrowski was charged with disorderly conduct and malicious damage to a motor vehicle.
Both men pleaded not guilty.
Check out the video below for more footage.