Former Murray mayor accused of spitting in driver’s face in road rage case

Jan 28, 2023, 2:06 PM | Updated: 2:08 pm
Former longtime Murray Mayor Dan Snarr is photographed on Dec. 13, 2013. Snarr, 73, was charged Thu...
Former longtime Murray Mayor Dan Snarr is photographed on Dec. 13, 2013. Snarr, 73, was charged Thursday with propelling a bodily substance in a person's face, a class A misdemeanor. (Laura Seitz, Deseret News)
(Laura Seitz, Deseret News)

MURRAY, Utah — The former longtime mayor of Murray has been charged with spitting in the face of another driver during a road rage incident.

Daniel Clarence Snarr, 73, was charged Thursday in 3rd District Court with propelling a bodily substance in a person’s face, a class A misdemeanor.

But Snarr says it was the other driver who tried to attack him, that he never spit on the man and that he’s looking forward to vigorously defending himself in court.

“The whole thing is bull (expletive),” he told KSL.com.

On Sept. 11, a man claims he was cut off while driving away from a gas station near 5300 South and 600 West. The man “flipped his middle finger at the driver of the car who cut him off in the parking lot,” according to charging documents

Snarr, however, says the driver — who he believes recognized the former mayor who is known for his unusual mustache — repeatedly yelled at him and called him a “(expletive) Democrat.”

The man drove off from the gas station, but near 800 West and 5200 South he noticed that the other vehicle was following him and the driver, Snarr, was honking his horn, the charges state. The man pulled over. Police say Snarr also pulled over, got out of his car and approached the driver’s window where the man remained in his vehicle.

The two men argued and Snarr tried to get the other man to get out of his car but he refused, according to the charges.

He kept pointing his finger and rammed it toward my eye. … If someone goes to attack you with a weapon, in this case a finger, what’s my recourse? Let him poke me in the eye?

–Former Murray Mayor Dan Snarr

“Snarr put his arm inside (the) window. As (the driver) attempted to roll his window up, Snarr spit in (his) face. Some of Snarr’s spit hit the car window, and the rest landed on (the man’s) face and on the glasses that he was wearing,” the charges allege.

Snarr said the man continued to yell obscenities at him.

“I told him, ‘You need to calm down,'” said Snarr, who denies ever putting his arm inside the man’s window. “‘You need to be patient.'”

The former mayor says he told the man he was going to take a picture of his license plate, but said he kept flipping him off and yelling obscenities and, at one point, the man put his hand out the window and toward Snarr’s face.

“He kept pointing his finger and rammed it toward my eye,” Snarr said. “If someone goes to attack you with a weapon, in this case a finger, what’s my recourse? Let him poke me in the eye?”

Snarr said he had to move out of the way quickly to avoid being gouged in the eye. Then, in what Snarr called “muscle reflex,” he claims he responded by coughing up phlegm. He says the man’s window was up, and no spit hit the man’s body.

“He lied about that,” said Snarr, who also said he’s willing to take a lie detector test regarding his version of what happened. “The guy lied the whole time.”

According to charging documents, when questioned by officers, Snarr said the other driver flipped him off as he pulled out of the gas station and that he “felt he needed to get (the man’s) license plate number to see if there were any other incidents where this person had acted aggressively toward other people.”

Snarr said when they stopped and he approached the man’s vehicle, the man flipped him off again. Snarr said he then “coughed and some of his spit may have gotten on (the man’s) window,” the charges state.

The case was transferred from Murray police to Unified police to avoid any conflict of interest.

Snarr served four terms as mayor of Murray from 1997 to 2014.

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Former Murray mayor accused of spitting in driver’s face in road rage case