William Keith Snyder


ELKTON — A man received a five-year prison sentence Wednesday for dragging his neighbor with a car near Port Deposit in August, after that neighbor — an off-duty police officer — had intervened in a domestic assault.

The defendant, William Keith Snyder, 46, punched the neighbor in the shoulder, knocking him backward slightly, at approximately 9 p.m. on Aug. 10 outside a residence in the unit block of Daisy Lane, where Snyder had been living with his then-girlfriend, according to court records.

When Snyder tried to flee from the scene in his 2004 Chevrolet 2-door sedan moments later, the neighbor stood at the open driver’s side door and tried to stop him, police said.

Snyder, however, put the vehicle in reverse and accelerated — striking the neighbor with the open driver’s side door and knocking him to the ground, before dragging him down the driveway and into the nearby road, police added.

The neighbor eventually was able to free himself from the door and Snyder sped away, leaving him in the road, according to police. Snyder was behind the wheel of his parked car, when investigators found him outside a residence near North East and arrested him shortly after the incident, police reported.

Court records indicate that incident started when the off-duty officer, who was living next door, had come over after Snyder’s then-girlfriend came out of the house — yelling for help — because Snyder had been pushing, hitting and choking her inside that residence, court records show.

During Wednesday’s hearing, Snyder pleaded guilty to second-degree assault, as part of a binding plea agreement, and, in turn, Retired Cecil County Circuit Court Judge V. Michael Whelan imposed the agreed-upon five-year sentence on him.

Also reflecting the binding plea agreement reached by Assistant State’s Attorney Robert Sentman and Snyder’s assistant public defender, Thomas Klenk, the judge ordered Snyder to serve three years of supervised probation after completing his five-year term in a Maryland Department of Corrections prison.

Probation conditions include abstaining from alcohol and drugs, submitting to urine analysis and having no contact with the victim.

(The neighbor told investigators that Snyder was carrying a beer when he got into the car, before dragging him with the vehicle, and that there was a “strong odor of alcoholic beverage emanating from his breath and person,” court records show.)

Cecil County Sheriff’s Office detectives took photos of the off-duty officer’s fresh injuries, which included cuts and scrapes to his right knee, both arms and back, and they reported that those injuries were consistent with his account of “being struck and dragged by Snyder’s vehicle,” court records show.

Investigators also took photos of Snyder’s then-girlfriend’s fresh injuries, which included “multiple abrasions and contusions” to her arms and shoulders and a lesser number to her neck and face, according to court records.

As part of the binding plea agreement, prosecutors dismissed seven related charges, including failure to immediately return to or remain at the scene of an accident involving bodily injury, two counts of first-degree assault and another count of second-degree assault, court records show.

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