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Defendant accused of pepper spraying crowd of people


A preliminary hearing is scheduled today for a Lucernemines man accused of instigating a neighborhood confrontation in December. 


39-year-old Matthew Jon Hilty is accused of tailgating a car in which three HomerCenterhigh school students were traveling on 11th Street in Lucernemines, and after the driver of the students’ car made an obscene gesture at him, pulling in front of their car by driving into a yard.  When the teenagers got out of their car at a home, police say Hilty started arguing with the driver, and neighbors began to gather.  Hilty claimed to be a former state trooper and said he had a badge in his car, but then he got a can of pepper spray out of the vehicle and pointed it at the group.  One parent tried to knock it out his hand and struck him, and Hilty then sprayed several people.  When a woman sprayed him with her pepper spray, he got into the car and tried to leave, but the group blocked him until state police arrived.


Hilty is charged with misdemeanor simple assault, recklessly endangering another person, and impersonating a public servant, plus summary harassment, disorderly conduct, reckless driving, and driving with a suspended or revoked license.  He is due before District Judge Susanne Steffee at 3 o’clock this afternoon.

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Kathleen Smathers

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