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Tuesday, July 15, 2008

Limo Rage: Stretch Driver In Spat With Vespa

Posted by Matt Davis on Tue, Jul 15, 2008 at 12:46 PM

A limo driver lashed out at a city employee riding a scooter last Thursday night, in a road rage incident on SW Taylor and Broadway.

The scooter rider, Mary Volm, happens to be the spokesperson for the city department that regulates taxis and towncars but ironically, not limousines (the city has not yet bowed to pressure to regulate so called "luxury" vehicles). Volm was driving her Vespa behind a 33-foot stretch SUV. Ronald Johnson, a former town car driver, was behind the wheel of the SUV limo at around 6:30pm.

Volm alleges Johnson was blocking the intersection and began reversing when the light turned red, so she shouted at him to stop. She alleges Johnson got out of his limo, began screaming at her, and pushed her Vespa nine feet forwards into the intersection, with her still on it. Then he got back in and started moving, but pinned Volm between the right rear side of the car and the oncoming traffic, Volm alleges.

"So I hit the side of his car with the flat of my hand," says Volm. "And that's when he really lost it. He got out of the vehicle and got out and he came after me, and hit me with both hands on my shoulders and pushed me down into the ground. And he stood over me with a fist telling me to get up or he's going to punch me in the nose."

The limo driver, Johnson, was arrested and cited by the police for menacing and harassment and booked at Central Precinct, but has yet to be formally charged by the District Attorney's office with a crime.

Witness Jackie Evans, from Ohio, told police she saw the limo backing up and it appeared to strike the scooter, according to the police report. She said Johnson got out of the car and was screaming, then, that he got back in and came out a second time and shoved Volm into the ground.

Johnson, meanwhile, denies Volm's version of events. He says he was trying to perform a citizen's arrest of Volm for taking a "leaping kick at the side of my vehicle," when Volm "just fell down in the street and started yelling and crying."

Johnson even sent the Mercury pictures of a circular dent in the side of his limo:

limodent.jpg

"The police just assumed I hit her," he says. "I was driving 100 percent safely and I plan to ask to have her charged with criminal mischief."

Volm says the dents in Johnson's limo are "fabricated," adding that Johnson was screaming and calling her a "cunt" and a "bitch" during the entire encounter.

"There's no way I can dent a vehicle, I'm a 54-year-old woman for God's sake," says Volm. "Now I'm on the defensive, and I'm the victim, and it's really made me angry."

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