Argument over debt in North San Juan leads to wreck, pepper spray, Nevada County authorities say |

Argument over debt in North San Juan leads to wreck, pepper spray, Nevada County authorities say

Matthew Steven Atiyeh

An intentional wreck in North San Juan over a debt led a Nevada City man to use pepper spray on two people and their dog, authorities said.

Matthew Steven Atiyeh, 33, faces a charge of force with a deadly weapon that isn’t a firearm. Held on $25,000 in bond, Atiyeh remained Monday afternoon in the Nevada County Jail, reports state.

The accusations against Atiyeh stem from a Thursday afternoon argument on School Street, near Highway 49, sheriff’s Lt. Sam Brown said.

“The occupants were fighting and throwing items at each other,” he added.

Deputies responded to the fight and spoke to Atiyeh and the two victims. They heard that an argument began over Atiyeh owing the victims $30. Atiyeh denied any debt and left, Brown said.

“When he returned, he rammed the vehicle of the victim,” the lieutenant said.

At some point Atiyeh used pepper spray on the victims and their dog. At another point it appeared that a knife or blade was drawn, though the scene was chaotic and it’s unknown how one victim’s finger was cut, Brown said.

Speaking to deputies, Atiyeh said the victims rammed his vehicle. However, evidence like skid marks reinforced the victims’ story and Atiyeh was arrested, Brown said.

To contact Staff Writer Alan Riquelmy, email or call 530-477-4239.

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