Well “Orange” You An Incensed Driver!

By: Gerri L. Elder

It was a situation that you could imagine happening in few locations other than Florida. A driver is accused of road rage, after smacking another driver in the head with an orange and then trying to run him over with his car.

In Brooksville, Fla., police say that Jeremy Velez had a serious case of road rage and fruit within his reach, and this was not a good combination. Velez hit his target with the orange he hurled at David Ross, but luckily he did not have as good luck when he tried to hit him with the vehicle he was driving in reverse.

Velez, 20, was arrested and taken into custody after the road rage incident played out and now faces a felony charge of aggravated assault for trying to run over Ross with his car. After the victim’s story was verified, Velez was put behind bars at the Hernando County Jail. His bail was set at $1,500.

According to police, Ross enraged Velez when he was driving his 2006 Ford Expedition one morning and was attempting to make a left turn. Before Ross could make the turn, Velez quickly drove up behind him in a red 1996 Honda Civic. Ross told police that he was forced out of the turning lane when Velez attempted to pass him on the left.

The police report states that when Velez got beside Ross’ vehicle, he allegedly stopped quickly and threw the fruit out of his passenger side window. The orange struck Ross in the head and bounced back out of the window.

Ross says that he then put his vehicle in park and exited the vehicle to check for any damages. That’s when he says the situation escalated and his life was put in danger. When Velez saw Ross get out of his vehicle he allegedly stopped, put his car in reverse and backed his car at a high rate of speed in the oncoming traffic lane towards Ross. He then spun his car around and took off.

Ross then got back into his vehicle and chased Velez for three miles in order to get his license plate number. At one point during the chase, Ross says that Velez slammed on his brakes. Ross then had to veer sharply to the left and stop to avoid hitting him. Then Velez drove away once again.

Since Ross had gotten the license plate number from Velez’s car, he did not chase him any further and at that point contacted the police. Later, a sheriff’s deputy found Velez and his Honda Civic at his home. Velez admitted to becoming enraged and throwing the orange at Ross, but claimed that Ross had provoked him.

A witness later came forward and verified Ross’ version of the incident and told deputies that Velez had obviously attempted to get Ross to slam into the back of his car when he suddenly stopped short during the chase.

Velez will be in court on February 19th with his criminal defense attorney to face the felony aggravated assault charge.