An Illinois man has been charged with a felony hate crime after police said he chased another motorist with an ice pick and shouted hateful epithets.
The Chicago Tribune reported Thursday that 67-year-old Joseph Zens was arrested after a motorcyclist told police Zens cut him off abruptly in traffic before stopping at the side of the road, at which point Zens allegedly drew an ice pick from his vehicle and chased the motorcyclist, telling him to "go back to your country."
The motorcyclist, a 57-year-old man whose name was not released, told officers he had been displaying a Mexican flag on his bike at the time of the incident and that he had initially followed the man after he was "recklessly" cut off in traffic in order to obtain Zens's license plate number, a police spokesman said.
Police reportedly discovered an ice pick in Zens's car and obtained a photograph of Zens wielding it, according to the Tribune, which led to his arrest.
The motorcyclist was reportedly not injured in the attempted assault, but heard Zens yell "You [expletive] Mexican, go back to your country," before driving away.
Lake County State’s Attorney Mike Nerheim said in a statement obtained by the Tribune that his office would pursue hate crime charges that could lead to up to three years in prison.
“This type of hateful conduct will never be tolerated in Lake County,” Nerheim reportedly said.