Road-rager hit with felony charges after bat incident
A Basalt man with a recent history of angry confrontations with area residents was arrested Thursday and charged with two felonies stemming from the latest incident.
Matthew Kornafel, 31, is facing charges of felony menacing, felony criminal mischief, misdemeanor criminal mischief and obstruction of telephone, also a misdemeanor, according to documents filed in Aspen District Court. District Judge Chris Seldin ordered him held in lieu of a $6,750 cash-only bond.
The charges stem from an incident Wednesday at Howard’s Last Chance Garage at the Aspen Business Center, where Kornafel allegedly confronted a mechanic working at the garage with a baseball bat, according to an arrest warrant affidavit filed in District Court.
Kornafel was “very angry that (the mechanic) was not working on Kornafel’s Audi,” the affidavit states. “Kornafel then got an aluminum baseball bat out of the trunk of his Audi.
“Kornafel then returned to (the mechanic), got in his face and told him he would ‘kick (his) ass.’”
Kornafel then pulled a “piece of piping” off a Mercedes the mechanic was working on and threw it at the mechanic’s head, though it did not strike him, according to the affidavit.
“Kornafel then hit the back of the Mercedes with the bat,” the affidavit states. “He also hit the tailpipe of a Ford F-250 parked behind the Mercedes with the bat.”
The mechanic later told police that after Kornafel threatened to hurt him, he took out his cellphone and told him he would call police, but Kornafel hit the phone out of his hand, the affidavit states.
An employee of a neighboring business witnessed the confrontation and told police he saw Kornafel “yelling and screaming” and threaten the mechanic with the bat, according to the affidavit.
The manager of the garage told police Kornafel occasionally worked at the business, though he fired him after the altercation with the mechanic, the affidavit states.
After he was fired, “Kornafel became irate and flipped the company laptop computer off the desk, almost breaking it,” according to the affidavit. Deputies later found Kornafel’s blue Audi in a parking lot in Snowmass Village after the incident, but he was nowhere to found. He was arrested Thursday, said Alex Burchetta of the Pitkin County Sheriff’s Office.
Kornafel also was an employee at the Green Dragon marijuana dispensary until Oct. 1, when he allegedly confronted the manager of New York Pizza because she refused to give him a food discount, according to a police report. Kornafel then stole a $3 brownie and smeared it on the glass door of the business.
The manager later told police she was worried Kornafel might beat her up during the confrontation. He was charged with misdemeanor harassment in that incident.
Kornafel was fired from Green Dragon after the New York Pizza confrontation, said Alex Levine, Green Dragon operations manager.
Kornafel also was arrested Sept. 29 after an Aspen police officer saw him standing in traffic on Highway 82 near Cemetery Lane beating on a hotel shuttle with his hand and yelling obscenities at the driver.
Kornafel later told officers he’d been driving behind the shuttle but it was going too slow so he passed it in the bus lane. He said the shuttle driver then began tailgating him and taking pictures of him with a cellphone, police said.
When the shuttle driver allegedly stopped close to Kornafel’s car while waiting for the Cemetery Lane stoplight, Kornafel got out of his car and began pounding on the shuttle. He was charged with disorderly conduct in that incident.
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Kevin Warner started his career with the U.S. Forest Service as a wilderness ranger in 2001. Now he’s taking over the key position as Aspen-Sopris District Ranger.