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Assault alleged during Virginia truck drivers' traffic dispute

A disagreement in a central Virginia parking garage apparently started with a honking horn. According to the alleged victims, the dispute began as an argument about the actions of two drivers but eventually involved five people, a crowbar and a fist.

Assault and battery charges were filed against the driver of a tow truck, who reportedly stepped into the middle of an ongoing argument. A man, his girlfriend and a friend claim they were in a vehicle exiting a parking garage when a minor traffic dispute ended with physical violence.

A truck from Collier's Towing Services was in front of the car and began to back up. The car driver blew the horn in fear the truck would strike his vehicle.

The tow truck driver reportedly got out of the truck while yelling, threatening and carrying a crowbar. A second Collier's truck driver overheard the argument and joined the heated dispute.

The car driver claimed he and his passengers tried to leave when the second truck driver reached through a window and punched the couple's friend. A hotel employee supposedly witnessed the violence.

The 26-year-old truck driver was arrested and charged the following day. Reports neglected to say whether the first Collier's driver faced any criminal charges.

A person making verbal threats may not be guilty of assault since threats alone may not contain an action that makes a victim fearful. A crowbar or fist shows the victim that harm is possible. The threat becomes assault when it takes on the strength to create apprehension in the victim.

A defense attorney may wonder why one Collier's employee escaped assault charges while another did not. A person who commits a violent act, like striking someone in the face with a fist, is guilty of battery. If the car's occupants are telling the truth, then both towing company employees would be guilty of assault, the threat of violence.

Source: nbc29.com, "Charlottesville Tow Truck Driver Facing Assault Charges," Amy Vu, March 5, 2013

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