Friday, August 19, 2011

Scuzzbucket of the week

53 year old Steven Gelder driver chased down the 74-year-old motorist who almost hit him, rammed his car off the road and beat him after a near wreck, according to police.

Investigators believe the older man was driving on North Boulevard when he almost struck Gelder's pickup truck. The close call apparently enraged Gelder, and he pursued the 74-year-old in his truck, police said.

The victim turned onto Robert Boulevard and Gelder began pounding the back of it with his truck, witnesses told officers. Gelder thenforced the car off the road at its intersection with Fountain Drive.

Several people witnessed saw Gelder hop out of his truck and rush to the victim's car, opening the door and repeatedly punched and elbowed the seated driver. Gelder then fled the scene

Police were notified, and they obtained the license plate of Gelder's truck. Officers soon discovered he lived in the 300 block of North Boulevard, and they arrested him there.

Gelder denied beating the Lexus' driver, but he refused to speak with investigators at length. Nonetheless, officers took him to Slidell's jail for detention because of the people who alleged that they indeed saw him attack the septuagenarian.

The most serious accusation lodged against Gelder is aggravated criminal property to damage, whose penalties include a maximum fine of $10,000 as well as between 12 months' and 15 years' imprisonment.

Simple battery of the infirm upon conviction carries a sentence of at least 30 days but no more than six months of prison time and possibly a fine of up to $500. Hit-and-run driving where there is no death or serious bodily injury allows for at most a $500 fine and six months in prison.

Friday's incident was not the first time Gelder had been in trouble with the law. St. Tammany Parish court records show he pleaded guilty to possession of marijuana in 2004 and got two years of probation.

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