Skip to comments.Luciano: Bottle throwing menace on I-74
Posted on 04/04/2012 4:52:09 PM PDT by Tolerance Sucks Rocks
PEORIA Peoria road rage now boasts a new threat:
Granted, it's happened just once. And the attack didn't involve any military-grade ordnance. It was just a water bottle.
Yet, that's a scary prospect, if The Mad Bottle Bomber still lurks out there. A hard-throwing motorist thunked it off another driver's head, leaving him dazed and car nearly out of control - on Interstate 74, no less. That could've made for a nasty wreck.
"It all happened so fast," the 30-year-old victim says, his voice still what-the-heck-happened wondrous. "It was just shocking."
For Peoria, yes. For elsewhere, no.
As headlines tout, riled drivers across the nation have been whipping water bottles for years at others. An especially nasty (and bizarre) case occurred in California in November. A male escort got stiffed in his payment, leading to a high-speed chase in which a water bottle was thrown - triggering a hail of gunfire, a careening of cars and a pile-up of vehicles, shutting down a major freeway for four hours.
Mind you, airborne attacks are not totally foreign to Peoria, but mostly as ground warfare. As chronicled here over the years, Peoria has hosted more than its share of Ernest T. Bass wannabes who get their jollies from breaking the peace and flinging things, especially foodstuffs. Cranberry-sauce can through a picture window? Boiling pasta at a crabby father? Frozen roast at a fiancee? Peoria long has been blasted with criminal victual volleys.
Still, aerial assaults had never much touched our roadways. In 2005, a carload of drug dealers became miffed after a pedestrian rebuffed a business offer, so they threw an onion at his head. And three years ago, when a McDonald's customer became enraged at the lack of an egg on his McGriddle, he hurled the greasy breakfast sandwich at an employee, smacking her in the face.
But now the food fights have hit a high-speed meanness.
About 4:30 p.m. Saturday, the 30-year-old was a eastbound on I-74, approaching the Gale Avenue exit at about 55 mph. He says he'd not driven in an aggressive way. In fact, he'd stayed in the right lane for miles and miles without changing lanes, so he couldn't even have inadvertently cut off anyone.
Regardless, a blue Dodge Caravan van suddenly pulled up next to him. Without warning, the other driver whipped a half-full water bottle - out his open passenger window and through the victim's open driver-side window.
"I don't really know what happened," he says. "Out of the blue, an Aquafina water bottle hit me in the face."
The discombobulated driver almost lost control - which could've been a disaster.
"Everything was so frantic," he says.
Yet he regained his composure and took the Gale exit. At the top of the ramp, he pulled alongside the road to call police.
Cellphone in hand, he looked back to see the Dodge Caravan man was still after him. The van pulled over, and the driver scampered toward the 30-year-old's car. But as he got close, he stopped and turned tail.
Why? Maybe he'd he feared a call to the cops. Or maybe he realized he'd made a case of mistaken identity, misreading the law-abiding driver as someone who had done him wrong somehow. Either way, he got in his car and zoomed off.
The other driver followed for a while, trying to get a plate number. Before the Dodge Caravan vanished, he called police with a license number. But with all of the bustling commotion, he'd jotted down the wrong digits: the plate turned out to be for a old couple with a Toyota in McLean County.
The victim wasn't badly hurt, and he has no idea as to the attacker's identity. His best description pegs the bottle-thrower as 5 feet, 8 inches and 150 pounds, with very short hair, blue jeans, white tank top - and armloads of tattoos.
But there is one piece of evidence: the bottle. Police recovered from inside the victim's car and are running fingerprint tests.
It's hard to further pinpoint the assailant, except he might be the combination of Nolan Ryan and Albert Einstein in their prime. Not only does he have a rocket arm, but on the fly can calculate the physics of multiple moving objects - and put the bottle through the window. If that were a carnival game, 99.9 percent of us would never win a kewpie doll.
But such skills don't make him admirable. He's a menace. And he'd better watch out. Next time he throws a plastic water bottle, the other guy might return fire with a stoneware moonshine jug. Ouch.
BUT HE WASN'T DOING 70, DAMMIT! GET ME THE WATER BOTTLE!!!
I had an idiot get mad because I had to merge and his passenger threw a cup of soda at me. Luckily it missed my window. People are NUTS!!!
Don’t try that in SoCal.
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