New Ken driver charged with road rage on Kittanning man
Police say a road rage incident Monday afternoon involving a gun began on Route 28 and ended in New Kensington with nobody hurt.
However, state police said charges are being filed against the man with the gun, Michael Waugaman, 42, of 1421 Taylor Ave., New Kensington.
Police said the incident began at about 3:45 p.m. when, just south of the Freeport exit, Michael Lattanzio, 60, of Kittanning came up behind Waugaman's slower-moving car in the passing lane of Route 28 southbound.
“He didn't move over, so I tapped on the horn,” Lattanzio said.
When the motorist would not move over, Lattanzio said he passed the car on the right.
“He flipped me off, I flipped him off and I thought that was it,” Lattanzio said.
But Lattanzio said the motorist followed him down Route 28 and pulled up next to his van, which was now traveling in the right lane.
“He got right up beside me, he got a gun out and pointed it at me, which caused me to duck and which made him laugh,” Lattanzio said.
Trooper Timothy Amy said that happened just south of the Burtner Road exit (Exit 15) in Harrison.
“Once the gun came out, that's when (Lattanzio) called 911,” Amy said.
Meanwhile, Lattanzio, who was headed for Valley High School in New Kensington, said he got off at the Tarentum exit (Exit 14). He said the motorist with the gun was right behind him and stayed behind him through Tarentum and across the bridge into New Kensington.
New Kensington police intercepted Waugaman's car at the intersection of Tarentum Bridge Road and Freeport Road and pulled him over into the parking lot of Buffalo Bill's restaurant.
Lattanzio continued on to Valley High School, where he was met by police and then drove up to the parking lot across from Buffalo Bill's where he provided police with a written statement.
When asked if he had anything to say, Waugaman replied, “All I did was brandish it (gun). I never did anything before, so I'm not worried.”
Amy said that Waugaman claimed Lattanzio was tailgating and harassing him on Route 28, and that's what led to the incident.
“He admits to pulling (the gun) out just high enough for (Lattanzio) to see it,” the trooper said.
After handing his statement to Amy, the visibly shaken Lattanzio was told he could leave.
“I'm going to sit for a while, I'll be honest with you,” Lattanzio replied.
Although Waugaman was not taken into custody, his handgun was.
Amy said the .45-caliber semiautomatic was loaded and had a round in the chamber. He said the gun was registered and Waugaman had a permit for it.
The trooper said misdemeanor charges of recklessly endangering another person, simple assault-physical menace, terroristic threats, along with some traffic violations, among them reckless driving would be filed against Waugaman. Amy said Waugaman will be issued a court summons through the mail.
Amy said it was fortunate that the incident did not end with someone killed or injured in a shooting or an accident.
Noting that road rage incidents on Route 28 have become more prevalent, Amy said: “I don't know what it's going to take for all this to stop. There's a lot of angry people out there.”
Tom Yerace is a staff writer for Trib Total Media.