Pickax-wielding suspect arrested after road rage incident
A Nevada man living and gold-mining in Washington was arrested Tuesday morning after a road rage incident on Highway 49 reportedly ended with a collision between two vehicles, and an attempted assault with a pickax.
Multiple witnesses called 911 as the two drivers began feuding on the highway near La Barr Meadows Road at about 11:15 a.m., then progressed until the vehicles reached the Empire Street overcrossing, said California Highway Patrol spokesman Greg Tassone.
“They were jockeying for position as the passing lane ended at La Barr Meadows Road,” Tassone said. “They were tailgating, passing each other at high speed and then brake-checking.”
Joshua Allen Ruppert, 44, was driving a Suzuki Sidekick, while the other vehicle, a Toyota Corolla, was occupied by two men aged 35 and 60, as well as an infant in a car seat, all from Acampo, Calif.
Just past the overcrossing, the Toyota’s driver pulled around the Sidekick at high speed and then slammed on his brakes, Tassone said, causing the other car to hit him.
According to Tassone, it was not clear whether the collision was accidental or intentional.
“They came to a complete stop in the fast lane,” he said.
All three men exited their vehicles and Ruppert reportedly grabbed a pickax.
“He had a double-sided pickax over his head and was swinging it at them,” Tassone said, adding that no one was injured.
“Thankfully there were no other collisions, everyone else was able to dodge the accident,” he said.
The incident remains under investigation, Tassone said, adding there were a number of witnesses.
Ruppert was taken into custody and booked into county jail on suspicion of assault with a deadly weapon; he was being held in lieu of $25,000 bail.
All of the involved parties were “very unwise,” Tassone said. “People need to think very carefully about what they’re doing before they engage in this type of back and forth behavior.”
To contact City Editor Liz Kellar, email email@example.com or call 530-477-4229.
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