A 37-year-old man faces assault charges after being accused of punching a woman in the face several times.

Mark Kendall Simmons Jr. was charged Jan. 29 in Crow Wing County District Court with three felonies of second- and third-degree assault with a dangerous weapon, causing bodily harm and making threats of violence, along with gross misdemeanor domestic assault.

The charges stem from the night of Jan. 28 when a Crow Wing County sheriff’s deputy was patrolling Crow Wing County Highway 45 in the area of Cook Road. The deputy saw a vehicle parked on the shoulder of the highway with its lights off and a man standing on the driver’s side of the vehicle waving his arms. The deputy pulled over and asked the man, later identified as Simmons, if everything was alright.

Mark Kendall Simmons
Mark Kendall Simmons

According to the criminal complaint, Simmons told the deputy he and a woman with him were arguing because they ran out of gas. The deputy saw the woman sitting in the driver’s seat with the hood up. The woman had heavy bruising on her face with a large lump over her eye, the complaint stated, and she was also bleeding from the mouth. The deputy told Simmons he would be detained until further investigation.

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Two more deputies arrived and one spoke with the woman, who said she and Simmons got into an argument about an email she received. Simmons, who was driving, got upset with her and threw her purse out the window with her phone. She reported Simmons was driving very recklessly and fast, reaching 95 mph. He allegedly threatened to kill them by driving the vehicle into a tree or field.

The woman told the deputy Simmons punched her in the face 10 to 15 times, her head hitting the car window. She said he also hit her with an object she found in the vehicle: a knife with a blunt handle. She reported she was scared for her life and violently shaking and hyperventilating afterward, the complaint stated. She also reported feeling dizzy from being hit. An ambulance crew evaluated her and transported her to the hospital for a possible skull fracture.

Simmons was arrested and while being transported to the jail and without being questioned, he stated the woman was trying to jump out of the vehicle so he punched her, according to the complaint. He said the woman was less injured from being hit than she would have been if she’d jumped out of the vehicle.

Simmon’s criminal history showed one prior domestic violence-related conviction within the last 10 years and he had active warrants for his arrest at the time of the incident.

Simmons, who was still in custody Sunday, Feb. 14, is scheduled to have his next court appearance March 3.