SHALER TOWNSHIP (KDKA) – A man is facing charges after an off-duty deputy sheriff prevented a potentially violent road rage incident.
According to police, the incident happened around 2:30 p.m. on Tuesday along Route 8 in Shaler Township.
Off-duty at the time, Allegheny County Sheriff’s Deputy Randy Grossman observed a gold SUV being driven by Joseph Riccelli, 35, of Allison Park, tailing another vehicle. At one point, Riccelli passed the vehicle and slammed on his brakes.
He then allegedly sped up and slammed on his brakes several times. At one point, Riccelli leaned out his driver’s side window to yell at the other driver.
“He then went into oncoming traffic, the southbound lane of Route 8 and passed this vehicle, got in front of him, slammed his brakes on and continued screaming out of the window, slamming his brakes on,” said Grossman.
Riccelli says he was agitated because the driver of the other vehicle, a jeep, cut him off.
Eventually, the vehicles came to a stop at a red light at the intersection of Route 8 and Butler Plank Road. Riccelli got out of his vehicle, yelled at the other driver again and tried to open the passenger’s side door.
“As we approached the next intersection, there was a red light,” said Grossman. “The first vehicle pulled into the left lane to make a left-hand turn. The second vehicle stopped next to him. The gentleman jumped out. Attempted to get into his vehicle.”
At that time, Riccelli began beating the vehicle with a black and silver object, which turned out to be a baton.
“He was trying to assault the gentleman. At least assault him, if not more,” Grossman said.
At that time, the Grossman got out of his vehicle, drew his weapon and ordered Riccelli to drop the baton. Riccelli complied and was taken into custody.
A search uncovered 22 doses of Oxycodone Hydrochloride. It was later determined Riccelli was driving with a suspended license for a previous DUI conviction.
He is now being held in the Allegheny County Jail and is facing a list of charges including, aggravated assault, disorderly conduct, possession of a controlled substance, reckless driving and reckless endangerment.
Meanwhile, Grossman has a message for anyone who might see a similar incident on the roadway.
“If you’re another motorist and you see something like this happening, call 911 for them ’cause you don’t know what they’re going through,” says Grossman. “What kind of fear or their inability to call 911.”