Man could face charges after road rage incident

Published 11:10 am Tuesday, May 29, 2018

A 53-year-old Austin man could be facing a felony assault charge after he allegedly dragged a man alongside his vehicle while it was moving, at the same time, keeping the man in a headlock.

John M. Karnes was being held in the Mower County Jail following the Monday incident on 12th Street Southwest in Austin.

John M. Karnes

The 26-year-old victim from rural Austin suffered road rash as a result of the alleged assault according to Austin Police Chief Brian Krueger.

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According to the report, police received several 911 calls beginning at 10:25 a.m., reporting that a white van, driven by Karnes, was traveling northbound at 5-10 mph, on 12th Street Southwest, between the 1200 and 1600 blocks. A Ford sedan was traveling behind the van and the driver, witnesses said, tried to pass, since the van was traveling so slowly.

When the sedan tried to pass, Karnes allegedly slammed on the brakes, almost causing a motorcycle and its driver to hit the back end of the sedan.

Both Karnes and the driver of the sedan got out of their respective vehicles and began shouting at each other, with Karnes allegedly punching the sedan driver. The driver of the sedan allegedly pushed back.

According to the complaint, Karnes then got the sedan driver into a headlock, got into his van while still holding onto the man, and then began to drive, dragging the man, who according to witnesses, “tumbled down the road.”

Karnes then let go of the man and drove away. Police later located Karnes in downtown Austin and arrested him.

The victim at first refused medical assistance but later was taken by an officer to Mayo Clinic Health System in Austin with road rash.

Karnes, in addition to the possibility of facing a second-degree assault charge, could also be charged with disorderly conduct and reckless driving, Krueger said. Formal charges will be made pending review of the case by the county attorney.