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STRUTHERS Ohioan gets jail in bomb scare



Published: Wed, June 13, 2001 @ 12:00 a.m.



A limo driver alerted police to the bomb scare after hearing his passenger's conversation.

STAFF/WIRE REPORTS

STRUTHERS -- Donald Snyder will be doing jail time for a scare he caused Monday at Glacier Hills Service Plaza in Springfield Township.

Snyder, 46, of Canal Fulton, pleaded no contest this morning to charges of inducing panic and criminal damaging. Judge James R. Lanzo of Struthers Municipal Court heard the pleas. Both charges are misdemeanors.

Snyder was found guilty and fined $700 plus court costs, ordered to serve 180 days in jail and one year of reporting probation. He must also pay to replace the window of an Ohio State Highway Patrol car that he kicked out. He was taken into custody by U.S. Secret Service agents.

Officials from the U.S. Attorney's Office in Cleveland could not be reached to comment on the possibility of federal charges.

What happened: This all began when Snyder's limousine driver chose to end a drive from Ohio to Washington, D.C., on Monday after overhearing a phone conversation in which his passenger used the word bomb and asked to speak with President Bush.

The limo driver, Patrick McAler, said Snyder loaded boxes and a briefcase into the limo's trunk earlier.

McAler said Snyder borrowed his cellular phone and called Washington, but he didn't know whom Snyder had called.

Troopers arrested Snyder after the limo driver pulled off the Ohio Turnpike about 6 p.m. Monday and called 911, Sgt. Paul Newburn of the Highway Patrol's Hiram post said Tuesday.

Got worried: McAler said he was worried by the comments he overheard but did not hear any specific threat made against the president or any Washington location.

The service plaza, about four miles from the Pennsylvania state line, was briefly closed and evacuated while a bomb search was conducted.

Newburn said Tuesday he didn't know of any link between Snyder's actions and the execution Monday of Oklahoma City bomber Timothy McVeigh. But McAler said he asked Snyder if he was concerned about McVeigh's execution earlier that day.

"He said, 'Yes, he did not have to die. He should have talked to me,"' McAler said, recalling Snyder's comment.

Snyder, who was traveling in the limo with his 13-year-old son, had McAler pull the limo into a McDonald's restaurant.

"He told me he was going to 'build a monument in Washington taller than any monument there.' He said that he had an alternate site, which was Waco." McAler said he took that to mean Waco, Texas, the scene of the government's confrontation with the Branch Davidians.

Snyder had hired the limo at the Akron-Canton Regional Airport.




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