Attorney charged with misdemeanor assault in ‘road rage’ incident

Published 4:36 pm Tuesday, September 1, 2009

Michael Burnside, 33, of Arden, was charged with simple assault and communicating threats for throwing a cigarette at Sheffron&squo;s car, coming at Sheffron in a threatening manner and telling Sheffron he was going to beat him, according to court records.

Burnside&squo;s charges were issued Tuesday after Sheffron was issued a criminal summons last Thursday.

Sheffron did hold a concealed weapons&squo; permit he obtained from the Polk County Sheriff&squo;s Office. His concealed weapons permit has been suspended, according to the Polk County Sheriff&squo;s Office, until an outcome is determined.

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According to court dockets, Burnside said Sheffron pulled a gun on him during the encounter, which took place on King Street in Hendersonville. Burnside said he did flick a cigarette at Sheffron&squo;s car, but that it hit the hood and he wasn&squo;t aiming for Sheffron.

Sheffron denied any wrongdoing and said he never asked Burnside to pull over and talk about the incident, according to a statement sent to the Hendersonville Times News this week. In the statement, Sheffron said Burnside forgot to tell news reporters that he threw a cigarette at Sheffron while Sheffron&squo;s windows were down.

&dquo;I pulled into Miller&squo;s parking lot looking through my car for the cigarette he threw at me. I looked up, while seated in my car, with the window down, and saw Mr. Burnside approaching. He had gotten out of his car with his hands in his pockets and approached my vehicle, making threats. I was in immediate fear for my life. I had no idea what he was capable of. I showed him my revolver and told him to get back in his car and to go back where he came from,&dquo; Sheffron said in his statement.

Burnside said Sheffron did tell him to pull over and he pulled over by the time he got out of his car, Sheffron had the gun pointed at him.

&dquo;I don&squo;t understand how they equate him pointing a gun at me and me flicking a cigarette as the same charge,&dquo; Burnside said.

The district attorney&squo;s office has said the case will be heard in Henderson County, but it will require a prosecutor from another district due to Sheffron working in court regularly with local prosecutors and judges.