RISING SUN — A man is facing an assault charge after he allegedly punched a driver in the face during what investigators categorized as a “road rage incident,” police reported.
The suspect, Franklin Delano Heaps, 40, of the 1100 block of Kirk Road near Rising Sun, was released on personal recognizance Monday after his bail review hearing, according to Cecil County District Court records. Heaps had been held in the Cecil County Detention Center without bond since his arrest Thursday, court records show.
Charged with second-degree assault, a misdemeanor that is punishable by up to 10 years in prison, Heaps is scheduled for an Aug. 9 trial, according to court records.
The incident occurred at approximately 10:45 p.m. Wednesday near the intersection of Kirk and Blacksnake roads, after Heaps allegedly had followed a vehicle operated by an 18-year-old man “too closely” on Kirk Road, passed it and then blocked the teen by stopping his black Ford Mustang in the middle of the road, according to Lt. Michael Holmes, a Cecil County Sheriff’s Office spokesman.
“At that point, the suspect, described as a heavyset man, got out and walked to the driver’s side of the vehicle. The man yelled at (the teen) for speeding and punched him in the left eye,” Holmes outlined.
Meanwhile, according to Holmes, a woman who was Heaps’ front-seat passenger got out of the Mustang, went to the passenger’s side of the teen’s vehicle and yelled at a female in the front passenger’s seat of that vehicle. The woman, who was not charged, complained that the teen’s speed was excessive because children live in that area, he reported.
The couple then got back into the Mustang and drove away while the teen called police, launching an investigation by CCSO Deputy Rachel Lawrence, who canvassed the area in hopes of finding someone who could identify the suspect, Holmes said. The incident occurred a short distance from Heaps’ Kirk Road residence, he noted.
“She did good police work. Deputy Lawrence found a neighbor who provided her with Heap’s name,” Holmes said.
Lawrence also found another neighbor who reported that, about four months earlier, he had been involved a similar road rage incident in that area with an unknown man in a black Mustang who fit Heaps’ description, Holmes said. The man in the Mustang blocked the road with his vehicle, confronted the neighbor about his speed and then left — but did not touch the neighbor, he added.
The deputy checked computer records and learned that Heaps was wanted on an unrelated outstanding warrant, which led to his arrest Thursday at the High’s Dairy Store in Cherry Hill, according to Holmes. After further investigation, he noted, Lawrence later charged Heaps with second-degree assault relating to the purported road rage incident Wednesday.