The California Highway Patrol is in the early stages of investigating what appears to be a brutal road-rage beating that was caught on tape June 12, 2012.
“As I remember it, I’m trying to get away, they followed me, it got to a point where they blocked me on the freeway,” said Jerry Patterson, the victim in the altercation, in an exclusive interview with ABC’s Eyewitness News Reporter John Gregory.
Patterson said he defended himself to the best of his ability against his attackers but suffered a concussion.
The two-minute video shot by a witness driving by on his cellphone begins with a group of people arguing outside of their vehicles, which they’ve pulled over on the northbound side of the freeway near Seventh Street in downtown Los Angeles.
One of the men and Patterson got into a fighting stance while yelling at each other and began fist-fighting. The altercation quickly turned into a harsh beating when a second man joined in and threw several punches, tackling Patterson to the ground. The two men then dragged him and kicked him in the head several times before jumping into their VW Jetta and taking off.
“We would like to ask for the public’s assistance … to speak to the people involved in the altercation as well as any witnesses that saw or videotaped this instance,” said Sergeant Denise Joslin in a presser this morning.
CHP Officer Chris Baldonado said a call about the fight came in at 3:31 pm but witnesses said everyone involved had fled the scene by 3:33 pm.
By the time authorities arrived, the scene was empty, leaving them with little to work with besides the video which also shows the license plate number on the car the suspects drove off in.
“The plates have been run but just because there’s a plate doesn’t mean the car belongs to the driver or passengers of the vehicle,” said Baldonado.
The video was originally posted up on youtube.com but has since been removed and put up on liveLeak.com.
There were concerns over the authenticity of the video, whether or not it was staged, but forensics video expert David Notowitz said by the reflections in the video and the way the camera was shaking it was highly unlikely it was altered in any way.
“People are skeptical because it’s so difficult to watch and so close-up, almost like you wish it wasn’t real,” said Notowitz.
Although such beatings may be rare, road-rage is a real problem.
In the AAA Foundation’s 2008 Traffic Safety Culture Index, a survey showed that 78 percent of respondents rated aggressive drivers as a serious or extremely serious traffic safety problem, but half of those respondents admitted to engaging in aggressive driving behavior themselves.
CHP officials ask that witnesses or anyone involved in the incident contact authorities with any additional information at (213) 744-2331.