Worces­ter man charged in road rage in­ci­dent

The Times Herald (Norristown, PA) - - LOCAL - By MICHAEL GOLD­BERG

LANS­DALE — A Worces­ter man has been ar­rested and charged in con­nec­tion with an al­leged road rage in­ci­dent in Towa­mencin Town­ship on Mon­day, Jan. 27, in which he got out of his car and threat­ened another driver with a long metal ob­ject de­scribed by the vic­tim as a crow­bar, ac­cord­ing to po­lice.

Thomas K. Gaskin, 44, of the 3100 block of Skip­pack Pike, was ar­raigned Tues­day evening be­fore Dis­trict Judge Scott Pal­ladino of Pottstown on eight crim­i­nal counts, in­clud­ing ter­ror­is­tic threats, sim­ple as­sault, pos­ses­sion of an in­stru­ment of crime with in­tent, reck­lessly en­dan­ger­ing another per­son and ha­rass­ment — all mis­de­meanors — as well as sum­mary charges of ha­rass­ment, reck­less driv­ing and care- less driv­ing. Pal­ladino set bail at $5,000 un­se­cured, and Gaskin re­mains free while await­ing a pre­lim­i­nary hear­ing in the case.

Po­lice said that just be­fore 6 a.m. on Jan. 27, a 22-year-old fe­male re­ported to au­thor­i­ties that she was driv­ing west on Detwiler Road when an older-model, dark-col­ored sedan two to three car lengths ahead of her braked abruptly, caus­ing her to stop. The ve­hi­cles be­gan driv­ing again, ac­cord­ing to po­lice, but just be­fore the in­ter­sec­tion with Wam­bold Road, the sedan abruptly braked again de­spite no other traf­fic or ob­sta­cles in the area, and the woman was forced to brake and swerve into the op­po­site lane to avoid a col­li­sion.

At that point, the woman told po­lice, a man later iden­ti­fied as Gaskin got out of his car and ap­proached her driver’s side win­dow while hold­ing the metal ob­ject, which she be­lieved was a crow­bar, and be­gan yelling pro­fan­i­ties at her while de­mand­ing she get out of her car, then tapped the metal ob­ject against her win­dow while threat­en­ing to kill her.

Po­lice said the woman told them that fear­ing for her life and be­liev­ing she was about to be as­saulted, she put her ve­hi­cle into re­verse when she saw Gaskin cross in front of her car and head for the pas­sen­ger side doors, and man­aged to flee the area south­bound on Wam­bold Road.

She was able to get Gaskin’s li­cense plate num­ber, and saw that he left the area head­ing north on Wam­bold Road, po­lice said, and im­me­di­ately called 911 to re­port the in­ci­dent. Investigators de­ter­mined the tag was not as­signed to the ve­hi­cle in­volved in the in­ci­dent, po­lice said.

How­ever, just be­fore 6 a.m. on Jan. 28, a Towa­mencin of­fi­cer ob­served a dark-col­ored sedan bear­ing the re­ported li­cense plate num­ber — court doc­u­ments list the ve­hi­cle as a blue 1990 Mer­cury Topaz — trav­el­ing on Detwiler Road and con­ducted an in­ves­ti­ga­tory stop, po­lice said.

The of­fi­cer iden­ti­fied the driver as Gaskin, who ad­mit­ted he had been in­volved in an in­ci­dent the pre­vi­ous morn­ing but claimed it had to do with a deer that had jumped into the road, and had noth­ing to do with road rage, po­lice said. Gaskin was al­lowed to leave af­ter the traf­fic stop, al­though the of­fi­cer said he ob­served a long metal ob­ject on the pas­sen­ger floor of his ve­hi­cle, ac­cord­ing to po­lice.

Later on Tues­day morn­ing, the woman iden­ti­fied Gaskin from a photo lineup as the man that had threat­ened her dur­ing the Mon­day in­ci­dent, po­lice said, and Gaskin was sub­se­quently taken into cus­tody and ar­raigned on the charges.

Gaskin is due in Dis­trict Judge Harold Borek’s Lans­dale court­room on Feb. 5 for a pre­lim­i­nary hear­ing.

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