The victims of a New York road rage incident last week say their attackers were attempting to mete out vigilante justice — but chose the wrong targets, and yelled racial slurs at them.
Natia Shim was taking her 17-year-old son to apply for a job on May 10 just after 3 p.m. when a green truck ran Shim’s vehicle off an Interstate 87 exit ramp in Latham, New York, Shim told WRGB.
Then three men and two women got out of the truck and used a frying pan and a baseball bat to pummel the windows and mirrors on Shim’s red SUV, she told WNYT. Her son thought they were going be killed. Finally her son successfully drove the car away from the attackers, according to Shim, as she dialed 911 to report the attack. The car was damaged to the tune of $3,000, Shim said.
"All he kept saying was, 'mommy, they're going to kill us, they're going to kill us,' and I'm just sitting there . . . ducking down in the seat," Shim told the TV station.
During the attack, the perpetrators were shouting racial slurs, Shim told WRGB.
"They're screaming, 'We are the white supremacists,' and n*****s do not belong in their country," Shim told WNYT.
A week after the incident, New York state police announced Thursday that two suspects have been arrested in the alleged road rage attack: Phillip O. Quandt Jr., 50, and Kristen P. Wright, 51.
Each has been charged with felony second-degree criminal mischief, as well as misdemeanor second-degree reckless endangerment and misdemeanor second-degree menacing, state troopers said.
The pair was arraigned in a Colonie, New York, courtroom, according to state police. A restraining order was issued to protect the victims. Both suspects are now being held at the Albany County Jail — Quandt on $10,000 bail, Wright on $5,000 bail, troopers said. They are residents of Watervliet, New York.
The investigation into the incident is continuing, and state police haven’t released more details. But Shim told WNYT the attackers thought her son had stolen a radio from them just one day earlier — and that when the attackers thought they saw the thief, they decided to jump into action.
"The people that did it said, 'Oh, we thought that her vehicle was the vehicle who robbed my son for a radio a day prior in Watervliet,' " Shim told WNYT. "They took it in their own hands and chased down the wrong car from Troy to Latham to kill me and my son. How are we supposed to feel safe?"
The attackers even called police to say they were trailing Shim and her son, Shim told WRGB. They reported following Shim and her son as he bought a slushie at a Speedway gas station, she said.
"For them to identify the exact drink — they followed us to a gas station and everything — I'm like, are you serious?" Shim asked WRGB. "Why are these people not arrested?"
State police had to depose several witnesses to the attack before the arrests could be made, WRGB reports.
Shim added that she saw the green truck cruise by her home after the attack, heightening her family's fears: "I really have to get me and my kids out of here because we're not safe," Shim told WRGB.
Any other witnesses who saw the incident should call the state police, troopers said.