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DEMOCRAT ROAD RAGE INCIDENT OVER BUSH/CHENEY BUMPER STICKER

Police: Bush/Cheney bumper sticker sent man into road rage

3-9-05


TAMPA - A Tampa man is out of jail after a possible road rage incident that gives new meaning to the term "driving left of center."

Nathan Winkler, 31, was arrested overnight and charged with aggravated stalking for allegedly terrorizing a mother and her two children.

According to police, Winkler pulled up alongside Michelle Fernandez as she was headed south on Armenia and began beeping his horn and flailing his arms, pointing at her. Fernandez, meanwhile, could not see Winkler's face because of a handmade sign in his window that read, "Never forget Bush's illegal oil war murdered thousands in Iraq."

"Apparently, this starts over political views or bumper stickers. She had a Bush/Cheney sticker on the back of her car. There's just no excuse for it to escalate to what it did," observed Tampa police spokesman Joe Durkin.

Winkler apparently grew more agitated as they continued to drive along, allegedly trying to run Fernandez's car off the road several times over the next few miles.

The 34-year-old grew increasingly concerned for herself and her two children in the car and called 911. Action News obtained recordings of those calls, in which the fear in her voice is evident.


No one would answer the door at Winkler's South Tampa home.
"Look, he's trying to run me off the road," she is heard telling the 911 dispatcher. "Look at him. You [censored] idiot! Whatever, you moron! Get away from me."

"I was blowing my horn at someone because I'm running stop signs and everything to get away from him," she added later.

But investigators say even that did not stop Winkler from pulling in front of Fernandez and forcing her to stop. As he tried to run up to her car, she drove away and was headed to police district headquarters when she finally managed to lose Winkler.

Cops caught up with Winkler at his home not long afterwards, where he reportedly blamed Fernandez for starting the altercation by making an obscene gesture. He was booked into jail on a charge of aggravated stalking, but was free by morning on $2,000 bond.

Back at home Wednesday morning, Winkler declined to answer the door. From inside, a female voice told Action News that the incident was simply a "misunderstanding" with another driver.

Fernandez, meanwhile, could not be reached for comment.

Submitted by Wendy T.
 

DEMOCRAT ROAD RAGE INCIDENT OVER  BUSH/CHENEY BUMPER STICKER






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