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Canton man deliberately drove car carrying women and children off the road, causing injuries, officials say

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POTSDAM — A Canton man was arrested and held in jail Friday after allegedly running his family off the road in what state police called a “domestic/road rage incident” that seriously injured his mother-in-law.

Douglas Matthews, 32, of Minor Street, driving his Toyota Sequoia, forced a Toyota Camry carrying his wife, two sons and mother-in-law off of Route 310 in Potsdam at 12:58 p.m., according to police. The Camry went into a ditch and overturned, and the Sequoia landed on top of it.

Mr. Matthews’s mother-in-law, Susan Latimer, 65, of Madrid, who was driving the Camry, was taken by LifeNet helicopter to Fletcher Allen Health Care, Burlington, Vt. Hospital officials reported she was in stable condition Friday night. The nature of her injuries was unclear.

His wife, Jenelle Matthews, 32, and their two sons, ages 5 and 9, were taken to Canton-Potsdam Hospital, Potsdam, where they were treated for non-life-threating injuries, according to police. The children’s names were not released.

The crash occurred approximately one mile south of County Route 34. Police said Mr. Matthews was following his family members as they fled a domestic dispute that started earlier in the day.

Mr. Matthews refused medical treatment at the scene. He faces charges of first-degree assault, four counts of reckless endangerment, and endangering the welfare of a child. He additionally was charged with second-degree reckless endangerment, third-degree criminal mischief and second-degree harassment, all stemming from the initial domestic dispute earlier in the day in Canton.

He was arraigned Friday night in Potsdam Town Court and taken to St. Lawrence County jail, where he was being held in lieu of $100,00 cash bail or $200,000 bond.

Potsdam Rescue, Canton Rescue, state police, the St. Lawrence County Sheriff’s Office, the Parishville Fire Department, the West Potsdam Volunteer Fire Department and Madrid Rescue responded to the scene.

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