Motorcyclist, motorist come to blows on southbound JFX during rush hour Argument turns physical after 1 driver cuts off other

July 18, 1996|By Peter Hermann | Peter Hermann,SUN STAFF

A war of words between a motorcyclist and a motorist over who cut off whom on the Jones Falls Expressway ended in a roadside fight yesterday, slowing rush-hour traffic during the morning commute.

The two drivers yelled at each other while traveling south on the highway, exchanged profane gestures and then stopped a quarter-mile south of Northern Parkway, where the driver of a Toyota Camry got out of his car and attacked a Harley driver with a stick, police said.

Police said the motorcyclist grabbed the stick from the motorist, who went back to his car and allegedly drove it at the motorcyclist -- who then smashed the Camry's windshield.

"It created a disturbance on the side of the road that distracted motorists," said Agent Robert W. Weinhold Jr., a city police spokesman.

"Certainly there is a more reasonable way for motorists to settle their frustrations than to pull to the side of the road and assault one another," he added.

Police said Robert Lamonte Joyce Jr., 41, of the 1700 block of Pleasantville Road in Harford County, and and Charles Wesley Kearse, 43, of the 3600 block of W. Mulberry St. in West Baltimore were arrested and charged with one count of assault each.

Police were trying to determine who was at fault.

"We have conflicting statements as to what precipitated the dispute," Weinhold said.

Joyce and Kearse have traffic violation records. Joyce was cited in 1993 and 1995 for speeding and has a seat belt violation charge pending. Kearse was found guilty in May of driving through a red light and fined $115.

Yesterday's altercation follows several incidents involving dueling drivers on roads outside Washington.

A Fairfax, Va., man recently was charged with manslaughter after a four-car crash in April on the George Washington Memorial Parkway that killed three people. Police said that drivers racing from Arlington to McLean cut each other off dTC several times, causing both to jump a median and slam into oncoming traffic, according to the Washington Post.

Ten days later, the newspaper reported, a Fredericksburg, Va., man was shot near Dumfries, Va., by a motorist who apparently was upset that the victim was driving no faster than 70 mph on Interstate 95.

Northern District Lt. Paul Abell said officers are not sure where on the JFX the dispute began. But he said after one of the vehicles cut the other off, the two drivers shouted at each other as they headed south.

Eventually, police said, the motorcyclist pulled onto the right shoulder, and the Camry, which had a female passenger inside, pulled up behind.

Several commuters, including an off-duty police officer, witnessed the fight and called police on their cellular phones.

Police said traffic on the normally busy highway slowed but did not stop.

"They are fortunate that their struggle did not lead them into a lane of traffic where they might have been hit by an oncoming vehicle," Weinhold said.

Pub Date: 7/18/96

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