A Wauwatosa man's concern for an erratic driver spiraled into a mid-day road rage incident, and the would-be helper was punched in the face while stopped at a red light at West Center and North 68th streets Wednesday, according to Wauwatosa police.
The suspect vehicle — a large and loud turquoise pickup truck with a cargo-style cap — was spied by police shortly after the incident, at West Center and North 75th streets. When police tried to pull the truck over, the driver sped away west on West Center. He led police on a nearly one-mile chase that zagged north on North 70th Street and then east on West Lisbon Avenue, with speeds hitting up to 50 mph before police called off the one-minute, 15-second chase.
The driver, a 30-year-old Milwaukee man, was arrested a day later, at a family member’s Wauwatosa home. Police are still seeking the victim’s assailant, who was a passenger in the truck.
The truck driver, whose license is revoked due to a fourth operating while intoxicated conviction in 2009, was arrested on misdemeanor fugitive and traffic charges, and on a warrant for a state probation violation.
The 55-year-old victim told police he was driving home from work about 2:50 p.m. Wednesday, waiting at a red light at North 67th and West Center. While stopped at the intersection, the man saw the truck driver run the red light and head west on West Center Street. The victim was headed the same direction, and ended up driving behind the truck as it weaved west down the road.
The truck driver abruptly pulled over and stopped along the curb, so the Tosa man, who told police he was worried the driver might be drunk or having medical problems, pulled alongside and asked if the driver was OK. The driver and his passenger spewed profanities, so the Tosa man decided to get away, police said.
A block later, the Tosa man was stopped at another red light, at North 68th and West Center streets, where the truck driver pulled alongside his SUV, according to police reports. The truck passenger jumped out, cursing and challenging the man to a fight. The suspect, a 30-year-old Wauwatosa man, pounded first on the man’s passenger side window and then on the driver’s side window, according to police.
The threatened driver thought his window would break from the pounding, so he opened it, and was punched on the left side of the face, police said.
A day after the truck driver and his passenger eluded police, Tosa police checked for the driver at a family member’s house in the 2200 block of Wauwatosa Avenue, where they found him and his truck, but not his passenger.
Police, aware of the man’s lengthy police history and his background as a boxer, used a taser to subdue the suspect when he refused to follow police orders and threatened active resistance. The man’s truck was impounded.