Family seeks answers after driver, 90, punched in apparent road rage incident

The niece of a 90-year-old Mount Pearl man who was punched in the face in what she thinks was a road rage incident is looking to the public for answers.

Angela Short-Hammond posted a photo of her uncle Bill on Facebook, showing him with bruising and a bandage on the left side of his face. In the photo, he is in the entrance of the emergency department of the Health Sciences Centre in St. John's.

She titled her post, "Road rage alert!!!" saying the family has few details about what happened.

"All we know is he was in the area of Park Avenue and Topsail Road and something must have happened, and I guess he hauled in and whoever was upset with him hauled in also and basically just punched him in the face," she said.

"We don't know if it was one time or twice," Short-Hammond said. "We actually don't know a whole lot about it and this is why we're trying to get things out there to see [if] we can catch somebody for doing it, you know?"

This is unreal. - Angela Short-Hammond

Short-Hammond said there is a complaint with the Royal Newfoundland Constabulary, but she took to Facebook to plead for details from anyone who may have been in the area around 12:30 p.m. Thursday.

"He was so shook up he couldn't even get a licence plate," she said.

"He was quite shocked. I mean, a 90-year-old person don't expect a slap in the face, like this is unreal."

The RNC said it is investigating the incident, where a man exited his vehicle while stopped on the road near Mount Pearl Square, assaulted the 90-year-old driver in the other vehicle, and left the area before police arrived.

An ambulance was called, Short-Hammond said, when a nearby worker noticed her uncle was in distress.

"From what I can understand, there must have been a guy working in the area, a construction worker, and he must have saw my uncle in the vehicle kind of out of sorts and he was the one that called the ambulance," she said.

Short-Hammond said the Facebook post — which has been shared more than 11,000 times as of Friday morning — has garnered a bit of information.

A young woman messaged her saying she may have seen the light-coloured vehicle that pulled in behind her uncle, with hazard lights flashing, but didn't get a licence plate or witness what happened.

Angela Short-Hammond/Facebook

The RNC described the suspect as a male between 30 and 40 years old, tall and slender, and driving an orange sedan with a licence plate ending with 892. 

Const. James Cadigan said with all the information available, the RNC is confident it will be able to locate the individual.

Anyone with CCTV or dash cam footage from the area between noon and 1 p.m. are asked to contact the RNC, or anyone with other information can alternately contact Crime Stoppers.

Uncle a 'very kind gentleman'

Meanwhile, Short-Hammond is hoping the huge number of shares of her Facebook post lead to more tips that could help figure out exactly what happened.

"Someone's gotta know something," she said.

Whatever started the confrontation, Short-Hammond said her uncle is a kind man, and didn't deserve what happened to him.

"A very, very kind gentleman," she said, adding, "my God he'd never throw a punch to anyone."

In the meantime, Short-Hammond said as of Friday morning she hasn't spoken to her uncle, but she wants people to practice patience on the roads.

"This is unreal. People are nuts," she said.

"They need to take time if they're going to work and if there's an elderly person or someone going slow, like, you don't get out and punch them, you know?"

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