Southern California Freeway Fight: "I Should Have Called Police"

A man involved in a freeway fight caught on video says he cut off the other driver

By Jonathan Lloyd, Antonio Castelan and John Cadiz Klemack
|  Thursday, Jun 21, 2012  |  Updated 8:34 AM PDT
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Emeal Age says he didn't want to risk his life by jumping into a brawl on the side of the 5 Freeway, so he did what he called the next best thing: he recorded it on his cellphone. Patrick Healy reports for the NBC4 News at 11pm on Wednesday, June 20, 2012

Patrick Healy and Sean Browning

Emeal Age says he didn't want to risk his life by jumping into a brawl on the side of the 5 Freeway, so he did what he called the next best thing: he recorded it on his cellphone. Patrick Healy reports for the NBC4 News at 11pm on Wednesday, June 20, 2012

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Freeway Road Rage Victim: "I Was Fighting For My Life"

Jerry Patterson shares his side of what happened on the 5 Freeway when he and three men engaged in a vicious roadside brawl. John Cadiz Klemack reports from East Los Angeles for the NBC4 News at 5 p.m. on June 20, 2012.

Raw Video: Road Rage Victim Speaks Out

Jerry Patterson was injured following a fist fight on the 5 Freeway. Video of the altercation has prompted an investigation by the California Highway Patrol. Now, Patterson is sharing his side of the story with NBC4.
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A driver involved in a Southern California freeway confrontation that was captured on video said he probably should have called police instead of fighting with three men who had stopped their car in front of his vehicle.

Updated Article: Two Arrested in Freeway Attack

The video, captured by a passing motorist, prompted an investigation by the California Highway Patrol.

"I didn't want to jeopardize what I have going on in my life for something like that, so I just made the best decision and all I could do what get it on camera for him," Emeal Age, who stopped on the 5 Freeway to take the cellphone video, told NBC4.

When the group dispersed, leaving the victim lying in the emergency lane, Age and another man tended to the victim. The other man called 911, but none of them waiting for officers to arrive.

"In 20/20 hindsight, I probably should have called the police," said Jerry Patterson, who told NBC4 he suffered a concussion. "I'm just not that kind of person. I didn't think in my wildest dreams it would escalate to where it went to. ... It was just a fight. You win some, you lose some. ... I don't remember much of that."

CHP officials conducted a brief news conference Wednesday at 7 a.m. regarding the video, captured June 12 at about 3:30 p.m. on the southbound 5 Freeway near 7th Street. CHP officials talked with Patterson and one other person seen in the video.

In the video, a motorist with the camera slowed to a stop next to four men standing outside their vehicles on the freeway. The men appeared to be involved in an argument before a fight ensued.

Patterson, a mortgage consultant, told NBC4 he was driving on the 710 Freeway when he "accidentally" cut off the other driver.

"I told them, 'Sorry, my bad,'" said Patterson, who told NBC4 he has not seen the video.

The driver followed Patterson for about five miles and threw objects at his vehicle before they stopped in front of him on the 5 Freeway, Patterson said.

One of the men -- identified as Patterson, a father of three -- was thrown to the ground before two men appeared to kick him in the head. Someone can be heard yelling, "Hey, get the license plate" as the three assailants fled in a black Volkswagen Jetta.

"The initial involved parties would have been better warned to simply take a step back," said CHP Sgt. Denise Joslin. "If you're involved in an incident where your emotions get the better of you, it's always best not to act on that emotion. Call 911 to get law enforcement out there. "

The victim appeared unresponsive as two motorists approached him on the side of the freeway. Joslin did not have information regarding the victim's condition, but the man told NBC4 that he suffered a concussion.

"Everybody can relate to road rage and being in LA traffic, but I've never known it get to a point where someone is trying to kill you," Patterson (pictured, right) said.

Joslin was asked whether she was surprised that the passing motorist did not attempt to stop the fight.

"Yes and no. The ideal situation would have been that these individuals didn't engage in the type of conduct they did," said Joslin. "We all know of good Samaritans out there, but I don't necessarily recommend getting involved in a incident like this. We don't know the capability of the individuals involved. We don't know if the individuals are armed."

The driver who captured the video, Emeal Age, told NBC4 he did not want to risk his life by getting involved in the brawl.

"I didn't think it was going to escalate to this," Age said. "I didn't want to jeopardize what I have going on in my life for a situation like that. So I just made the best deicision and all I could do was get it on camera for him."

The video captured images of the assailants, their vehicle and the car's license plate.

Authorities responded to a 911 call regarding the attack, but by the time authorities arrived at the location the assailants and victim had left. Patterson told NBC4 he drove himself home and did not go to a hospital.

He said he probably would not have stepped forward had it not been for the video and the attention it received.

The video was posted June 12 on Live Leak. The original post on YouTube has been removed.

Investigators considered the possibility that the video was staged.

"We do believe at this time that the incident did occur," Joslin said. "We take into consideration the possibility that this could be a hoax, but that's all part of what we're investigating at this time. That was an initial thought yesterday, but hence the reason for the followup this morning."

Anyone with information can call the CHP's Central Los Angeles Office at 213-744-2331.

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