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Tacoma Man, 71, Charged With Allegedly Striking, Harassing Woman Near Point Defiance Ferry

William Zesbaugh rear-ended the woman, then struck her with a steering wheel lock from his trunk, prosecutors say. He also allegedly said to the victim and her female passenger: "I can tell you’re lesbians. I should beat the crap out of you.”

Today, Pierce County Prosecutor Mark Lindquist charged William Zesbaugh, 71, with Assault in the Second Degree and Malicious Harassment for assaulting and threatening a woman after rear-ending her vehicle Monday. The defendant was arraigned today and bail was set at $10,000.

Around noon Monday, the victim and a female passenger were driving north on Pearl Street towards the ferry terminal when the defendant, angry that the victim had cut him off in traffic, started following her. He pulled behind the victim's vehicle, following closely and honking his horn. The victim stopped at a stop sign and the defendant's car collided into the back of her vehicle. 

When the victim approached the defendant’s car and asked for his insurance information, he went to his trunk and took out a “Club” steering wheel lock. Realizing he was going to strike her, the victim held up her arm to block the assault. The defendant managed to strike her once more before a ferry employee intervened.

After being confronted by the ferry employee and another witness, the defendant returned the weapon to his trunk. The defendant told the victim and her passenger, "I can tell you’re lesbians. I should beat the crap out of you.” He then fled the scene, stating, "I’m gonna get you for this" as he passed the victim’s vehicle.

Ruston and Tacoma Police officers spotted the defendant, who was stopped at a red light, and blocked his vehicle. As he was being escorted to a patrol car, the defendant told the arresting officer, “I should have hit her lot harder if I’m going to get in trouble for it.” The victim went to a hospital, where she was treated for a deep gash several inches long to her forearm.

Charges are only allegations and a person is presumed innocent unless he or she is proven guilty beyond a reasonable doubt.

- Pierce County Prosecutor's Office

Been there January 31, 2013 at 07:34 PM
I tried to pass someone a few months ago who was driving erratically on Rosedale. While I was passing him, the driver came into the passing lane and rammed the side of my car twice. Luckily when we stopped to exchange information, there were witnesses or he might have gone after me. He was ticketed for reckless driving, but my insurance (State Farm) could not have his insurance (State Farm) pay my deductible because he rammed my car on purpose. That makes a lot of sense. There are nuts out there. I try to be as unobtrusive as possible when driving, but one should be allowed to safely pass another car without being nearly rammed off the road.
Brent Champaco January 31, 2013 at 08:31 PM
That's horrible, Been there. I hope you get compensated somehow...
Lance Orloff January 31, 2013 at 09:00 PM
Been through something similar. Small claims court is the avenue to getting the rest of it.
Robert Martin February 01, 2013 at 01:10 AM
Lance, your comments are right on the spot. The older fellow should not have allowed an inconsiderate person upset him to that point. The lady, although technically a victim, is just as much at fault for being overly aggressive for cutting him off. More considerate drivers would prevent all the drama. Unfortunately, it's like football, the one that's retaliating against a bad hit gets the flag.
Lance Orloff February 01, 2013 at 09:31 PM
Thanks for that Robert. Unfortunately it is worse than the football analogy. Imagine a scenario, purely hypothetical, where an American company with ties to the highest levels of the US government, and let us give this company a fake name such as Halliburton, and let us propose an unlikely connection betwen the company and the goverment such as members of the President's cabinet being also in charge of this company and using this relationship and the resources of the US governement to further their goals (I know, this kind of stuff only happens in Hollywood so who could take it seriously), (wow, run-on sentence), (um, where was I?), ... anyway, if this company; Halliburton, were to go to someplace where terrorists live and piss them off and they retaliate, then smart thing to do is for us not to piss off Halliburton because, remember this is purely hypothetical, they are tied to the goverment and they may do something like turn our country into a police state using a completely unconstitutional, and therefore it cannot happen, legislation, let us call it the patriot act even though it is unpatriotic, legal action that attacks anyone who opposes the people who caused the terrorists to kill so many Americans. We really are dumb as sheep. God Bless America or Rumsfeld will start something and even God cannot wield that much power.

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