SACRAMENTO, Calif. » A Northern California woman made her first court appearance Tuesday after a road rage incident was captured in a dramatic cellphone video that showed a vehicle forcing a car off a mountain highway.
Two women frantically called the California Highway Patrol on Saturday afternoon to report that they were being repeatedly cut off by the driver of a Ford Explorer Sport Trac pickup truck on Interstate 80, about 60 miles northeast of Sacramento.
"She just hit our car, she just hit our car. She’s pushing us off of the road. Yes, she’s pushing us off the road. She’s coming for us," passenger Delanie Strykul tells a CHP dispatcher on the video, her voice shaking. "Please help us."
The video shows the Explorer forcing their Mazda onto the shoulder as the Mazda’s driver screams.
"I could not believe this was real. I was sitting there going, ‘This has to be a joke,’" Strykul told The Associated Press on Tuesday.
The Highway Patrol said the incident began after Strykul made a rude gesture because the Ford Explorer had been tailgating.
Strykul shot the video while also calling the Highway Patrol. They eventually were directed to an interstate exit where a highway patrolman was waiting to make the arrest.
The suspect, Deirdre Orozco, 50, of Santa Clara, was charged with two counts of assault with a deadly weapon, two counts of false imprisonment, unlawful use of a badge, reckless driving and resisting arrest.
She was held in lieu of $250,000 bail and was due back in court Friday after pleading not guilty to multiple charges from two incidents days apart. A public defender was to be appointed to represent her.
Roseville police said Orozco also had been arrested three days earlier but was freed while prosecutors weighed charges from that incident. Police say a woman identified as Orozco first hit a driver at a Roseville intersection, then continued on to a relative’s house. There she threw large rocks through a window while threatening the residents, said police spokeswoman Dee Dee Gunther.
Orozco is charged in that incident with assault with a deadly weapon, criminal threats, vandalism, reckless driving, and hit-and-run.
Associated Press Writer Alina Hartounian contributed to this story.