Driver allegedly threatens other driver with a pellet gun, police say

A Burnham man faces charges after allegedly threatening a fellow driver in Centre County.

According to the criminal complaint filed by state police at Rockview, a female driver contacted troopers on Aug. 18 regarding an incident along state Route 322 in Potter Township. The driver claimed to have been traveling west along the General Potter Highway near the left lane construction closure and attempted to merge into the right lane.

She attempted to merge in front of a car, police said, when the other driver sped up and swerved around her to get ahead. At the split, the woman reportedly continued along 322 while the other driver continued north onto Old Fort Road.

It was at this point when she was parallel with the other driver that he reportedly pointed a black handgun at her, police said.

A trooper spoke with the other driver, identified as Robert W. Laird, 43, later that day in Spring Mills, police said. Laird reportedly claimed that a female driver had cut him off and he had to swerve to get around her and avoid a collision.

He said he never had a gun in the vehicle and never pointed anything at her, police said. When asked further about a gun, he reportedly said there was a pellet gun “in the shop under some items.”

When pressed further if the gun had ever been in the vehicle, Laird allegedly changed his previous statement and said it had been in the vehicle at the time, police said. The pellet gun reportedly fit the description that the female driver provided.

Laird was arraigned via summons Thursday by District Judge Thomas Jordan, according to court documents, and charged with misdemeanor counts of terroristic threats, simple assault, reckless endangerment and disorderly conduct. A preliminary hearing is slated for Nov. 15.

Jeremy Hartley: 814-231-4616, @JJHartleyNews