Driver called out after batting around victims

"An irate driver apparently decided to mete out his own brand of justice with a baseball bat Nov. 12 and then lied about it, according to Port Orchard Police.The 47-year-old man quickly learned that road rage doesn’t pay, though, after his bail was set at $15,000. Police said convenience-store videotapes showed the would-be vigilante hitting one young man in the stomach and another in the head with a bat.The assailant denied the attack, however, saying he only used the bat to “protect” himself from three unruly highway travelers.The man told police he was driving east on State Route 16 at about midnight when three occupants in another vehicle made an obscene gesture at him off for no reason and then turned off the highway onto Tremont Street. The man said he did the same because he needed gas, but soon found himself following the mysterious occupants into a nearby service station, parking directly behind them. According to the man, the occupants jumped out of their vehicle and started yelling at him. So he got out of his car too, bringing a baseball bat with him. The man said the unknown occupants jumped him and started hitting him, so he fought back and struck at least one person with the bat, though he couldn’t tell police with certainty whether he hit anyone else.The man said he got back in his car to call 9-1-1. Yet police said the video showed him attacking the occupants of the other vehicle, so he was promptly arrested.The victims said the incident did begin on SR-16, but they told quite a different story, police reported. They said the man was tailgating their vehicle because he was unable to pass them. When the man finally did, the three occupants admitted to gesturing at him obscenely for being so rude.The older man responded in kind, they said, and then pulled off the highway at Tremont, motioning them to follow him.The trio continued on, police said, but the man followed them to the station and parked behind them near a gas pump. Then they were confronted with a 20-inch bat, which they said the man used to hit one of them in the stomach and hit another in thed head. The third young man managed ran into the store and called 9-1-1."

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