JACKSBORO, TN. (WLAF)- A New Jersey truck driver will have to appear in court again despite his protest that he was the victim.
During last Monday’s session of the Eighth Judicial District Criminal Court, Keith David Kugel attempted to argue with Judge Zach Walden on procedure and the status of his case.
Kugel. 58, Forked River, NJ, was in court for arraignment on charges of aggravated assault and reckless endangerment with a deadly weapon. The weapon in question was 2019 Freightliner 18- wheeler.
Caryville Police were alerted to Kugel’s alleged actions on Sept. 13, 2023, when a driver on I-75 called for assistance alleging a commercial vehicle had “hit him and was attempting to run him and other motorists off the roadway,” the report said.
Police had positioned themselves at Exit 134 when they saw the semi-truck, driven by Kugel, on the southbound side of the interstate, leave his lane and go into the opposite lane nearly causing a collision with another driver. Kugel allegedly continued “to swerve back and forth until he gained control” of his truck. Throughout the situation Kugel used his 18 wheeler “as a weapon” and acted “with no regard to his life or any other motorists on the roadway,” police said.
When he was stopped by the CPD, Kugel said the other driver had run him off the road which resulted in a 10 mile feud with each trying to cut the other one off in traffic.
At his arraignment Monday, Kugel said he wanted to hire an attorney but it would take a few months to do so.
Walden offered an appointed lawyer to assist Kugel with his case.
Instead, Kugel wanted his bail money back in order to hire a lawyer. With Walden explaining that to release the bail money would equal a release of Kugel, he attempted to argue with the judge.
“I am the victim here. You have it backwards,” Kugel said.
“It is not going to go well if you argue with me,” Walden said pointing out that Kugel was in fact the alleged aggressor in the case.
Walden reset Kugel’s case for March to allow him time to retain an attorney. The judge also told the truck driver that when he returned he was to bring the business cards of all the lawyers he met with.
(WLAF NEWS PUBLISHED 2/12/2024- 6AM)