Police were accusing a motorist of assault with a deadly weapon after video emerged of a Prius being rammed by a Jeep in Silver Lake in what witnesses call an extreme case of road rage.
The footage shows traffic was jammed as the Prius driver got out of the car to engage with a heated exchange at the Jeep driver's window. Los Angeles police said the incident occurred around 9 a.m. Thursday at the busy intersection of Silver Lake and Sunset boulevards.
The Jeep, which was behind the Toyota, can then be seen accelerating and striking the Prius several times, until the car is pushed up onto the sidewalk.
Another motorist who pulled up in the middle of the confrontation said the Jeep driver appeared frustrated and had already tapped the Prius once before.
"What I witnesses was a full-on vehicular assault," the motorist, who wished to remain unidentified, told KTLA. "He purposely bumped into his bumper; he gave the guy a good jostle. So — rightly so in my opinion — that guy jumped out of his car again and was like, 'Hey man, what are you doing?'"
That witness added that "you can see at one point that, clearly, if the guy was truly feeling attacked and just trying to escape, he could have pulled around the Prius and just driven off."
But the witness hadn't seen what led up to that moment. Shortly before, the Prius driver had gotten out of his vehicle and apparently threw something at the Jeep, surveillance video from a nearby business shows.
Officers who responded to scene said the parties involved only needed to exchange information. But after reviewing video of the incident on Friday, investigators now believe it's an assault with a deadly weapon case, with the Jeep being used as a weapon.
The Jeep driver, who stayed at the scene and called 911, said the Prius driver attacked him and he rammed the car to get away.
KTLA reached out to the driver of the Prius and was told he has no comment.
The witness KTLA spoke with said he also called 911, and that the Prius driver was "very shaken." The bystander maintains that the Jeep driver was the aggressor, and believes he should be taken off the roads.
"I believe a that person like that should not be driving," he said. "I think his license should be revoked. What’s to prevent him from doing it again?"