An Anne Arundel County man who got out of his vehicle and began arguing with other motorists at a Dunkirk intersection this past spring, entered a guilty plea to a single charge in district court Wednesday, the Calvert County State’s Attorney’s Office reported.
A press release from the prosecutor’s office cited court documents alleging the defendant, Jacob Tyler Cliff, 23, of Crofton — who was driving in the Dunkirk area on April 21 — “and the occupants of a black Honda Civic” were traveling “at a high rate of speed, tailgating, flashing lights and driving aggressively. When they reached the stoplight at Route 4 and Ward Road, Cliff exited his vehicle and started arguing with the driver of the Honda. Two occupants of the Honda got out and began fighting with Cliff in full view of passing motorists. Several drivers stopped and called the police. Another driver got out and broke up the fight. Cliff left the scene before police arrived but was apprehended a short time later in Prince Frederick.”
Court records show the investigation of the incident was handled by Trooper Brendan White of the Maryland State Police Prince Frederick barrack.
At Wednesday’s district court hearing, Cliff, who was represented by attorney Peter Sean O’Neill, pleaded guilty to affray, which the state’s attorney’s office press release defined as the unlawful engagement “in a fight to the disturbance of the public peace.”
Cliff, who was originally facing eight charges in connection with the incident, received a sentence of 90 days in jail, which was suspended. Cliff was given one year of supervised probation.
As a condition of his probation, Cliff must complete 40 hours of community service.
The occupants of the Honda Civic — dentified in court documents as Merrilinn Drew, 27, who was the driver, and passengers Michael Latroy Hawkins, 36, and Hunter Riggins, 20 — are all from North Carolina.
According to court records, Drew, Hawkins and Riggins were each charged with disturbing the peace and hindering passage, disturbing the peace disorderly, disorderly conduct, second-degree assault, affray, state of emergency Maryland Emergency Management Agency violation, state of emergency willful MEMA violation and health emergency failure to comply.
Cliff had been facing those charges prior to Wednesday’s hearing.
Drew, Hawkins and Riggins will have district court hearings on the charges Aug. 31.
“We simply can’t permit people to engage in behavior that threatens the safety of other motorists,” said Calvert County State’s Attorney Robert Harvey in the press release. “Fortunately, no one was seriously injured in this incident. I’m pleased that Mr. Cliff suffered consequences for his inappropriate behavior.”