A bad case of weekend road rage, or, to be exact, parking lot rage, landed a Springs man in jail on Sunday afternoon, facing a felony charge of strangulation.
Robert P. Greene, 49, was headed south on Three Mile Harbor Road, East Hampton, at about 4 p.m., at the wheel of a Jeep. John Furth of East Hampton, meanwhile, was driving north on the road. Both drivers had the same destination: Damark’s Deli. Mr. Greene’s wife was a passenger in his car.
The two men arrived at the deli at the same time. Mr. Furth, who was going in to pick up some ice, made a left turn into the parking lot ahead of Mr. Greene’s Jeep.
The pair exchanged words, and, according to East Hampton Town police, Mr. Greene’s wife made a hand gesture at Mr. Furth, who reportedly “swiped her hand away.”
Mr. Greene then attacked Mr. Furth, police said, punching him in the face and on his neck. Mr. Greene, a powerfully built man, overwhelmed Mr. Furth, according to witnesses, before relenting.
Mr. Furth then went over to the Jeep and began writing down the license number, further enraging Mr. Greene. According to the report, he then struck Mr. Furth, knocking him to the ground, and jumped on the downed man, punching him repeatedly with his right fist.
There were many bystanders, it being a Sunday in June, and several people called 911. When police arrived Mr. Furth was having difficulty breathing and was complaining of throat pain. He was taken to the hospital, where doctors found that his thyroid cartilage, which forms the Adam’s apple on a man’s throat, had been fractured.
Under the state penal code, the alleged attack qualifies as strangulation, in that it caused pain and obstructed breathing. On Sunday, Mr. Furth went to a specialist to confirm the extent of his injury.
Police contacted Mr. Greene and asked him to come to headquarters in Wainscott, where he was placed under arrest. In addition to the felony charge he faces a misdemeanor count of assault.
At his arraignment the next day before Town Justice Lisa Rana, Mr. Greene was represented by Brian De Sesa of Edward Burke Jr. and Associates, who was in court on another matter but volunteered his time at the request of the court. After conferring with Mr. Greene, the lawyer told the justice that his client had never been in trouble with the law before and that he had had no previous contact with Mr. Furth.
Justice Rana informed the defendant that the district attorney’s office had recommended that bail be set at $20,000.
Mr. De Sesa said that Mr. Greene had a lawn care business, had long-time ties in the community, and was therefore not a flight risk.
The justice agreed, and set bail at $2,000. She granted Mr. Furth an order of protection against Mr. Greene and explained to the defendant how it works: “If you see Mr. Furth, just go in another direction,” she said. “Just go away.”
Mr. Greene is scheduled to be back in court today.
In other police news, arrests were made recently in connection with several thefts from cars and one report of a car itself stolen. Town police picked up four men between May 21 and May 22 and charged them with larceny. Police have not yet released a report on the circumstances of the arrests.
Police received a report of a suspicious vehicle on Fort Pond Boulevard, Springs, at 8:30 a.m. on May 21, leading to them to interview an 18-year old youth, as well as Jose Nava, 24, of Southampton. The two were eventually arrested. The identity of the teenager and the charges against him have not yet been released.
Mr. Nava faces three charges of petty larceny and one of felony grand larceny. He will be arraigned on June 20. Also arrested were Surth Z. Chavez, 21, of Sag Harbor, on four counts of petty larceny, and Christopher S. Pulido, also on four petty larceny counts as well as one felony grand larceny charge. Bail for Mr. Pulido was set at $2,000, which he has since met.
Because Mr. Chavez has a previous criminal history, according to East Hampton Town Court records, his bail was initially set at $8,000, which he was unable to meet. On May 30, it was reduced to $1,550. Still unable to meet bail, he is being held in the county jail in Yaphank until his next court appearance on June 27.
Mr. Pulido and Mr. Nava will be back in court on June 20.