A California man faces hate crime and assault charges after a road rage encounter escalated into a hatchet attack, according to police.
A female family member was driving 21-year-old Blake Baldwin through Riverside, California, on Saturday when Baldwin and the woman got upset with an Amazon delivery driver who was also on the road, police spokesperson Ryan Railsback told McClatchy in a phone interview.
The angry pair then started following the delivery driver along his route just before 7 p.m., police said. As the car trailed the delivery truck, the Amazon driver said he noticed Baldwin was using a hatchet to hit the top of the vehicle he was a passenger in, according to Railsback.
Then, at one of the driver’s stops, the vehicle Baldwin was riding in pulled up next to the Amazon delivery driver’s vehicle. That’s when both Baldwin and the woman hurled racial slurs at the driver, according to police.
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Police said the delivery driver was Hispanic, according to the Press-Enterprise.
The Amazon driver said he was sorry if he cut the other driver off, and told the pair he was just trying to make deliveries, Railsback said.
But as the driver got out of his vehicle, Baldwin began swinging the hatchet at him, police said. Railsback said the driver managed to back away as Baldwin nearly slashed him.
After the incident, the delivery driver was able to provide a license plate number for the attacker, Railsback said.
Authorities tracked Baldwin down and arrested him. He was taken to jail and now faces charges of assault with a deadly weapon and a hate crime violation, according to police. Police said they also found the hatchet.
As of Tuesday, Baldwin was no longer in custody, the Press-Enterprise reports.
Railsback said the woman driving the car will not face charges because, though she made an “insensitive remark,” she did not commit a crime.