After being caught up in a terrifying alleged road rage incident on Interstate 80 in Placer County on Saturday, Delanie Strykul said she will refrain from responding to a traffic slight with an obscene gesture no matter how dangerous or rude the actions of the other driver.
The incident Saturday involving Strykul and her friend, Vanessa Gladieux, started when the driver of a Ford Explorer repeatedly tailgated and cut off their vehicle, Strykul said. Eventually, Strykul, of Turlock, made an obscene gesture and the Explorer driver escalated her response as the women tried to get away.
“I definitely regret flipping her off,” said Strykul, a 2012 Miss California candidate. “I’m not proud of that.”
The CHP identified the woman in the Explorer as 50-year-old Deirdre Orozco of Santa Clara. She was booked into Placer County jail on suspicion of assault with a deadly weapon/not a firearm, obstructing a peace officer and reckless driving.
The dust-up shortly after noon between the drivers near Auburn was captured on a video and posted on YouTube.
The video includes the women trying to escape Orozco as the vehicles sped on eastbound I-80. The driver in the Mazda, Gladieux, of Yuba City, is aided by Strykul in the passenger seat who is trying to seek advice and help from authorities – all the while capturing the scene on another cellphone.
“Please help us,” Strykul, 23, said to a police dispatcher.
The CHP report said that Strykul told dispatchers that the Explorer was tailgating their Mazda. As the vehicle pulled alongside the car, “the passenger in the Mazda made a rude hand gesture toward the Explorer,” according to the CHP report.
When the vehicles got west of the Gold Run highway rest area, the Explorer pulled in front of the car and came to an abrupt stop. Orozco got out of her vehicle and approached the car, according to the report, and held up an unknown type of identification card and identified herself as a sheriff and stated the two women in the car were going to jail.
Gladieux then sped away in an attempt to get away from the Explorer. Orozco followed, pulled around in front of the car again and forced the Mazda to come to a stop by blocking its path.
Once again, the car sped away. At that point, the Explorer came up alongside and struck the left side of the car of the two women, forcing it onto the shoulder of the freeway.
“She just hit our car!” Strykul tells a dispatcher as Gladieux screams. “She’s pushing us off the side of the road. Put it in reverse, Vanessa.”
The dispatcher eventually instructed the two women to exit at Dutch Flat, where an awaiting officer at a service station came to their aid. Orozco followed them into the gas station, where CHP officers initiated an enforcement stop.
“There have been so many times people have tailgated me but then it was over and done with, but this was continuing and continuing,” Strykul said. “It was definitely really scary. But when I was in the moment on the freeway, I knew I had to stay focused and stay calm.”
The Roseville police reported Tuesday that Orozco was also arrested in a Dec. 17 incident when a woman driving a sport-utility vehicle collided with another car at Sunrise Avenue and Cirby Way at about 5:30 p.m. and left the scene.
The Explorer driver, later identified as Orozco, continued to a relative’s house in Roseville, and allegedly threw large rocks through a front window while threatening the residents with bodily harm. The family called police.
Officers responded and arrested Orozco without incident on suspicion of felony hit and run, making criminal threats and felony vandalism. She was booked for a while into the Placer County jail.
About 188,000 viewers have seen the intense freeway experience of Strykul and Gladieux on YouTube. Strykul said everyone asks her if she has any advice after living through the situation.
“My advice is call 911 if anyone is getting really aggressive on the road,” Strykul said. “And don’t flip anybody off. I learned my lesson. I never thought it was that big of a deal, but now I feel differently.”
Here’s the cellphone video of the tailgating incident. WARNING: The unedited video contains profanity.
Call The Bee’s Bill Lindelof, (916) 321-1079. Bee researcher Pete Basofin contributed to this report.