Truck driver guilty of road rage

Last updated 00:00 08/08/2007

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Feelings of road rage became so violent for a Napier truck driver he threatened an elderly motorist with a baseball bat after getting frustrated by the motorist's attempts to pass him through road works.

Bill Skudder, 26, was convicted of dangerous driving, possession of an offensive weapon and disorderly behaviour after appearing in the Kaikoura District Court last Friday. He was given 180 hours community work and disqualified from driving for six months.

Police prosecutor sergeant Steve Frost said at 3.40pm on November 22 Skudder was driving a Kenworth B train south between Blenheim and Clarence through a 30km road works area when a car sped up to pass him. While the car was passing, Skudder pulled his truck to the right of the road.

The 78-year-old driver of the car saw a campervan approaching and put on brakes to pull back behind the truck.

Skudder manoeuvred the truck to the right for a second time when the motorist tried to pass again, forcing the motorist to pull in behind the truck again.

Mr Frost said Skudder then stopped the truck on such an angle the car was unable to pass and then jumped out of the cab with a baseball bat.

Skudder then approached the victim, waving the bat around and screaming "so much the victim could not understand what he was saying".

He did this for around 30 seconds and he told him to "get the hell out" before the victim drove off. Members of the public called the police and in his defence Skudder told police he was "pissed off" with bad drivers.

Counsel for the defence Gary Sawyer said the vehicle had accelerated at some speed to overtake in road works and Skudder was frustrated by this. Initially the manoeuvring of the truck was a matter of road safety, but matters got out of hand and Skudder accepted his "irrational and inappropriate behaviour", he said.

Judge Stephen Erber took into consideration Skudder's guilty plea and said he had a previous conviction for the possession of an offensive weapon.

Judge Erber said driving in such a way was extremely dangerous and Skudder's road rage could have easily caused an accident.

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- Kaikoura Star

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