POTSDAM — A Potsdam justice ruled following a preliminary hearing Friday that the case of a Canton man charged with using his truck to ram a car containing his mother-in-law, wife and two children should be sent up to superior court for possible grand jury action.
Douglas A. Matthews Jr., 33, of 324 Minor Street Road, cupped his face in his hands and sobbed as he sat in bright orange jail garb listening to testimony about the incident during a preliminary hearing Wednesday in Potsdam Town Court.
He was charged with five felonies after allegedly driving alongside and then repeatedly ramming a car driven by his mother-in-law, Susan M. Latimer, 65, causing it to go off the road and overturn in a cornfield on Route 310 about a mile south of County Route 24. In the car with Ms. Latimer was Mr. Matthews’s wife, Jenelle M., 33, and their two sons, Owen, 5, and Gavin, 9.
“My daughter said we were going at about 80 miles an hour and everyone started screaming,” Ms. Latimer testified. “I tried to pass a vehicle in front of me, and he continued to ram my car after we passed it ... when we were on the shoulder of the road.”
Witness Aram F. Gomez testified that the truck driven by Mr. Matthews landed on the car in the cornfield and that another passerby broke a window in the car to allow all passengers except Ms. Latimer, who was trapped in the wreck, to get out.
Ms. Latimer, the only person injured seriously in the crash, was rescued by first responders and flown by LifeNet helicopter to Fletcher Allen Health Care in Burlington, Vt. She was released from the hospital late Saturday afternoon.
Mr. Matthews is charged with the felonies of first-degree assault and four counts of first-degree reckless endangerment. Judge Samuel R. Charleson ruled there was enough evidence to present the case to the St. Lawrence County grand jury and that Mr. Matthews remain in jail on $100,000 cash bail or $200,000 bond. Mr Matthews is jailed in Franklin County because he works as a corrections officer at the St. Lawrence County Correctional Facility. He was placed on unpaid leave from his job after his arrest.
Matthews is represented by attorney Richard Manning.