Chadwick James Tonneberger, 47, had pleaded guilty to felonious assault in the April 30 incident. In exchange, charges of brandishing firearms in public and reckless driving were dismissed.
“I’m very, very sorry for what I have done,” Tonneberger said before being sentenced Monday in Ottawa County Circuit Court.
His attorney, John Moritz, asked the court to consider the letters he submitted in his client’s support. He also noted that Tonneberger was working and undergoing counseling.
Judge Jon Hulsing said coming up with the best sentence was challenging because Tonneberger is a good community member, parent and employee, and had no prior criminal record.
But there were also three major problems.
First, there was a gesture war with another motorist, Hulsing said.
“Your worst mistake was you pulled in front, stopping the other vehicle to confront” three people in their 20s, including two women and the male driver, the judge said. “To top it off, you displayed a weapon in your hand. By injecting a weapon in the situation, you crossed a line, then lied when you told law enforcement that the gun was holstered.”
Hulsing said that the occupants of the other vehicle suffered “some serious emotional consequences.”
The judge said Tonneberger’s sentence needed to be both reasonable, yet make the man responsible for his actions. So, he ordered Tonneberger to spend 90 days in jail, with credit for one day already served. Work release is allowed. Once out of jail, Tonneberger will be on probation for a year.
“I am confident I will never see you in court again,” Hulsing told Tonneberger. “I hope you will get the anger, frustration issue you have under control.”
The judge also told Tonneberger that he needed to pay the consequences, and then hold his head up and move on with life.