WILMINGTON - What state police call a road rage incident led to weapons charges against an 82-year-old Wilmington man, but he has a different side to the story.
After a driving disagreement led to a verbal altercation, Robert E. Rider displayed a pistol to a 50-year-old man from Peru, who reported it to police. Rider was charged with second-degree menacing with a weapon and fourth-degree criminal possession of a firearm, both misdemeanors, at 11:25 a.m. Saturday.
The incident that prompted the charges happened Saturday morning on Bonnie View Road in the town of Wilmington. It began at the driveway to the local garbage transfer station and shooting range, about 4 miles north of the town's main "Four Corners" intersection.
"I went to the dump, and then I got rid of some recyclables, and then I went over to the range to do some shooting," Rider told said Sunday evening. "This was on Saturday, and that's dump day, and there's a lot of traffic coming in and out of that road."
As Rider started to pull out of the driveway, "Here come this truck, and boy, he was just boiling," Rider said. "I did a sharp left, I avoided a collision, and he didn't even slow down."
Rider, driving a Jeep Wrangler, said he followed the truck and only caught up with it because it was slowed down behind another driver coming from the transfer station.
"I caught up with him, and he stopped, and he jumped out of his truck," Rider said. In what he admitted was a foolish move, he stopped, although he stayed in his vehicle. On his passenger seat was the pistol he had been using at the range
"He was real hostile," Rider said of the other man, "and I put my hands on the gun on the passenger seat. He called that menacing, but it wasn't.
"I didn't point it at him or anything."
While the other man called state police, Rider went to a local restaurant to have a root beer float - and that's where state police found him.