A Scott Township man is being praised for his quick action when he helped out an injured Pittsburgh Pirates ballplayer and his wife during a road rage incident.
Joe Changle, 22, who lives in the Glendale neighborhood, was grabbing a soda at the BP convenience store Wednesday afternoon when he looked over to see an angry confrontation brewing at the Banksville Road gas station. A man appeared to be threatening a couple and their young children following a road rage incident.
“I saw all that’s going on and the commotion with them, and I’m looking at him and thinking, ‘What’s going on?’” Changle said. “She’s screaming for help and shouting ‘My husband just had back surgery and we need help.’”
Chris Snyder, who was the Pirates’ starting catcher until having back surgery for an injury he suffered last week, couldn’t do much to defend his wife, Carla. He was able to get out of the car but could only shield his wife using the driver’s side door, Changle said.
That’s when Changle, a volunteer firefighter at Glendale and 2006 graduate of Chartiers Valley, decided it was time to intervene as others just watched. He confronted the man, Subhash Arjanbhi Modhwadia, and told him to back away. Changle said the man started swinging at him when he tried to push him away from Carla Snyder.
“I said, ‘Dude, chill out. I don’t want to have to put you down.’”
Changle said that’s when he took Modhwadia to the ground and tried to pin him down. Modhwadia then started biting him on the arm, so Changle said he pulled his hair back until he released. An off-duty police officer came to the scene and tried helping subdue Modhwadia, who continued swinging at them and threw his shoe.
Pittsburgh police eventually made it to the gas station and arrested Modhwadia, who is also from Scott Township. They charged him with aggravated assault, criminal mischief and two counts of simple assault. Police said Modhwadia was angry because of an earlier incident in which he nearly crashed his scooter into the Snyder's car.
It wasn’t until things had settled down a bit when Changle realized the person he helped was a professional baseball player.
Changle talked to the couple for a few minutes and asked the man where he lived. Snyder said he had moved around the country, and Changle assumed it was for work. When he asked him what he did for a living, Snyder responded that he plays catcher for the Pittsburgh Pirates.
“I had no clue who he was. I didn’t know anything about him,” Changle said. “I’m a big Pittsburgh sports fan, but not a Pirates fan.”
Snyder appreciated the help and offered to do something for their rescuer. Changle said he had an 8-month-old son who died in 2009 from Leukodystrophy, a rare disease that affects cells in the brain.
He asked if the ball player could sign some memorabilia that would be auctioned off for the United Leukodystrophy Foundation. Snyder agreed and the two swapped numbers.
“He was a really polite guy,” Changle said.
Now his phone won’t stop ringing. He’s done numerous television and newspaper interviews after the story started getting out.
“I thought it was all going to end right there,” Changle said. “I didn’t think the press would get a hold of it. It was pretty crazy here this morning.”