Traffic spat heats up to fiery finish and lesson Truck set ablaze carries message

January 27, 1996|By Amy L. Miller | Amy L. Miller,SUN STAFF

What began as a rude exchange between two irate Carroll County drivers ended Thursday evening with one man's truck ablaze and another man in the hospital for high blood pressure.

City police say the argument began in a northwest Westminster neighborhood and escalated as the two drove east down busy Route 140 before erupting into a shovel-wielding brawl in the parking lot of the Twin Kiss restaurant.

"From now on, if someone wants to give me the finger and give me a hard time, they can go on their way," said Frederick W. Blickenstaff, who estimates the damage to his truck at about $5,000.

"Being 44, I had already lost a lot of that attitude I had when I was 20-something," Mr. Blickenstaff said. "What happened yesterday caused me to lose what was remaining. I think it's a lot that happened for us acting like a couple of kids.

Mr. Blickenstaff, who lives in the 2000 block of Herbert Ave., said he also lost construction tools worth about $2,000 in the incident.

Police said the incident began about 6 p.m. Thursday when Mr. Blickenstaff stopped at an intersection with the front of his truck out in the road. Irritated when he had to drive around Mr. Blickenstaff's pickup, another driver made a rude gesture as he passed, police said.

Mr. Blickenstaff followed the man onto Route 140 and flashed his lights, and the two stopped by the road and argued loudly,

police said.

'The way guys are'

The pair got back into their vehicles and continued down Route 140 until the other driver threw something at his truck and pulled into the restaurant parking lot, Mr. Blickenstaff said.

"Being the way guys are, I yanked in there as well," Mr. Blickenstaff said.

When confronted in the parking lot, the other man sprayed a Mace-type chemical into Mr. Blickenstaff's eyes, then pulled a shovel from the back of Mr. Blickenstaff's truck and threatened him with it, police said.

Mr. Blickenstaff grabbed a shovel, and the two men began fighting, police said. When the other man's shovel broke, he grabbed a gasoline can from Mr. Blickenstaff's truck, poured gasoline over the vehicle and set it on fire, police said.

Mr. Blickenstaff called police as the other man drove away. Officers said they found the man at Carroll County General Hospital being treated for high blood pressure.

Hospital officials said the man was treated and released Thursday night.

Charges filed

"I was more mad than anything else," Mr. Blickenstaff said. "After I was hit with the spray, I had to stay away from the guy. I was more scared of what was going to happen because I couldn't see what was going on."

Westminster police said yesterday that charges have been filed against Robert G. Dallatezza, 37, in assault, battery, assault with a deadly weapon and related violations.

Deputy State Fire Marshal Frank M. Rauschenberg said the Carroll County state's attorney's office is reviewing his report.

Mr. Dallatezza of the 800 block of Young Court declined to comment yesterday.

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