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Claimed he was ex-state trooper, pepper-sprayed crowd of people


A Lucernmenines man is facing numerous charges after a road rage incident yesterday in Center Township that escalated into a neighborhood confrontation.


State police say it happened at about 3:15 PM when a car driven by 38-year-old Matthew Jon Hilty began tailgating a vehicle operated by three high school students.  At the stop sign at an intersection on 11th Street in Lucernemines, the teen driver of the car flipped the middle finger at Hilty, who then sped up his vehicle to get around the other car to stop it.  The teen drove his car off the roadway and into a yard and then went to the home of one of the students, but as they were getting out of their vehicle, Hilty pulled in behind them and started arguing with the driver, telling him he was an ex-state trooper and had his badge in his car.


Other people started gathering around the scene and Hilty went to his car and got a riot-type pepper spray fogger, waving it toward the group.  Another parent came onto the scene and as she questioned him, Hilty raised the pepper spray can and she tried to knock it from his hand, striking him in the process.  Police say Hilty then doused the group with pepper spray, and only retreated when another woman sprayed him back with her own pepper spray.  Hilty got in his car and tried to flee, but the group blocked him and state police finally arrived.


Hilty, who is not a retired state trooper, is charged with misdemeanor simple assault, recklessly endangering, and impersonating a public servant, along with summary counts of harassment, disorderly conduct, reckless driving, driving while suspended, and failing to notify of change of address.

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