Orange County District Attorney investigators Thursday cleared Fountain Valley police officers of any wrongdoing in the shooting of a suspect who drove through a crash scene last fall.
The determination was announced one day after Matthew Earl Snoyman, 35, of Westminster pleaded guilty to two felony counts of assault with a weapon on a police officer and one count of assault with force likely to produce great bodily injury, along with misdemeanor drunken driving charges. He was sentenced to a year in jail, according to court records.
At 5:16 a.m. last Oct. 14, officers were investigating a fatal crash that had occurred hours earlier at Magnolia Street and Mint Avenue when Snoyman drove a pickup truck through the barricades, police said. He then did a U-turn and drove at the officers at the crash scene again, prompting them to open fire, according to police.
Snoyman, who was not seriously injured in the shooting, told investigators he did not recall much of the episode, according to the District Attorney’s Office report.
Snoyman “said that he must have dozed off and did not remember a lot,” the report says. “He did not remember seeing the sign truck, police tape, accident scene or police cars. Snoyman stated that he remembers slamming on his brakes to avoid hitting something, his windshield getting shot at, and being on the ground with the officer. Snoyman did admit, `I was pretty intoxicated.”’
The crash scene police were investigating stemmed from the death of 25-year-old Melanie Barlow.
Jonathan Truong St. Thomas, 24, of Westminster, pleaded not guilty Monday to a murder charge related to that crash.