It was the apparent road rage incident that captured Greater Boston’s attention on Friday: A 65-year-old Framingham man desperately clung to the hood of a 37-year-old Ashland man’s speeding car — at one point allegedly reaching 70 miles per hour — on the Massachusetts Turnpike for more than 2 miles.
Although the incident happened Friday, more information came to light Monday, as both men in the incident were arraigned in Waltham District Court.
Here’s a look at what we know about the bizarre, charged encounter, according to the State Police report, eyewitnesses, and the men’s lawyers.
What exactly happened, according to the two men involved
The story differs a bit from each man’s perspective, but each agrees that the incident — which happened around 4:45 p.m. on I-90 westbound in Weston — began with what appeared to be a minor sideswipe-type crash. Mark Fitzgerald, 37, of Ashland, said that his Infiniti SUV was hit by a pickup truck that had gone into his lane; however, Richard Kamrowski, 65, of Framingham, said that Fitzgerald “drifted over into his lane and hit the mirror of his truck and folded it forward,” according to a State Police report.
Kamrowski said that he wanted to exchange information with Fitzgerald, who kept on driving, so he caught up with him in the left lane, according to the police report.
When traffic was stopped, Kamrowski said he went up to the Infiniti’s passenger window and asked for Fitzgerald to pull over so the two could exchange information, but said Fitzgerald wouldn’t pull over. So Kamrowski grabbed a water bottle from the passenger seat, walking to the front of the Infiniti and demanding Kamrowski to pull over. When Fitzgerald started to drive, Kamrowski jumped onto the hood of the car “to not get run over by the SUV,” Kamrowski told authorities, and smashed the windshield with the water bottle.
Fitzgerald told authorities “that he was in fear for his safety,” which is why he started to drive with the other man on the hood of his car.
Fitzgerald said that he stopped several times and told the other man to get off the hood of his car, but that he refused, “so he drove some more,” according to the police report.
However, Kamrowski said the other man “would speed up fast and hit the brakes fast” in an effort to try and throw him off the hood. He told police that he felt the SUV at one point going 60 to 70 miles per hour, and “stated that he thought he was going to die.”
The incident came to an end about 2 miles later, when several cars boxed the SUV in at the center median, and a Good Samaritan with a gun — identified by police as Frankie Hernandez, 49 — ordered Fitzgerald to get out of the car.
“Now that the SUV was boxed in, Kamrowski [said he] felt safe enough to get off the hood and he did,” police write.
What witnesses said they saw
Several witnesses took video of the two men interacting and called 911, according to the police report.
No one in the police report said they saw the actual side-swipe accident, but they did describe the dramatic ordeal that followed. One witness said he saw a “very angry” Kamrowski approach Fitzgerald’s car, and that the two were arguing through the open passenger side window and, at one point, possibly even hitting each other. That witness said he saw Kamrowski jump on the Infiniti’s hood, and then the SUV started to drive.
However, another witness said he saw Kamrowski walk to the front of the car, and said that the man had to jump onto the hood of the car to avoid being run over. He said that the Infiniti “would speed up and step on the brakes hard, quickly starting and stopping, attempting to throw Kamrowski off the hood.”
Both witnesses said several cars tried to initially box the Infiniti in, but that Fitzgerald took off, “and sped to an estimated 70 mph,” according to the police report.
When the Infiniti ran into traffic, several cars were able to box it in — successfully this time — on the median. Hernandez, who is licensed to carry a gun, told police he “was in fear of the safety of the man on the hood,” so he drew his weapon and ordered Fitzgerald to get out.
What police said they saw
A trooper caught up to the cars just after Fitzgerald got out of his Infiniti, and noticed Hernandez had a gun. The trooper drew his own gun and ordered Hernandez to put his weapon down, and then put him in handcuffs “till he could figure out what was going on,” according to the police report. Meanwhile, several bystanders told the trooper that Hernandez “was just a Good Samaritan helping out.” Police verified that Hernandez did have a license to carry, and his firearm was later returned to him, the report said. He was released without charge.
Meanwhile, police said that as Fitzgerald spoke to troopers at the scene, he “seemed very upset and was smoking from a vape machine,” the report said.
Fitzgerald was arrested and charged with assault and battery with a dangerous weapon on a person over 60, negligent operation of a motor vehicle, and leaving the scene of a property damage accident. Kamrowski was also arrested and charged with disorderly conduct and malicious damage to a motor vehicle.
Both Kamrowski and Fitzgerald were taken back to the State Police’s barracks, and were held in cell numbers 1 and 3, respectively, according to the police report. Both men were released Monday morning to appear in Waltham District Court — Kamrowski on personal recognizance, and Fitzgerald on $500 bail.
What the men’s lawyers said Monday
Not guilty pleas were entered for both men by their lawyers — each of which said the men were fearful of each other during the tumultuous encounter.
“It was an incredibly scary experience,” said Kamrowski’s lawyer, Joseph Comenzo, outside the courtroom Monday.
Comenzo said Kamrowski was traveling home from work at the time of the incident and wasn’t the aggressor. He said his client remained shaken up Monday.
“All he was looking to do is exchange information” with Fitzgerald after an initial accident, Comenzo said.
But Fitzgerald’s lawyer, Michael Chinman, told a different story in court: “The other party [Kamrowski] was the aggressor here,” he said.
Chinman said Fitzgerald was fearful of Kamrowski, and that after “minor contact between the vehicles,” Kamrowski got out of his truck and appeared angry.
“There is zero indication of any damage to the other party’s car,” Chinman said.
Asked why Fitzgerald drove for so long with Kamrowski on the hood, Chinman said his client feared for his own safety.
“It was a difficult situation,” Chinman said. “He was in fear of what had happened.”
As Chinman addressed reporters outside court, a suited Fitzgerald stood next to him in silence while sporting a pair of sunglasses.
“This is a man who had attacked Mr. Fitzgerald while he was seated in his own car,” Chinman said. “Mr. Fitzgerald reasonably decided I need to get away from this man, started to drive away, and the man jumped onto the hood of Mr. Fitzgerald’s car. The video we’ve all seen... doesn’t show what happened prior to Mr. Fitzgerald driving.”
Chinman was apparently referring to video footage shot by a civilian witness.