ROGERS PARK — With a nearby surveillance camera recording it all, two feuding drivers launched into a violent and extended battle on a Rogers Park street last week, with one driver repeatedly ramming the other's car while the second man delivered wild jump kicks and punches, according to police and the video.
For more than six minutes, the drivers went at it as bystanders — including a young girl on a scooter — looked on, according to the video obtained by DNAinfo Chicago.
When it was over, police said the man driving the ramming car, a 1997 Audi A4, was hit with counts of misdemeanor assault, leaving the scene of an accident, criminal damage to property and a minor traffic infraction.
Police said the accused is Martin Vigil, 48, the sales/leasing director for Chicago Real Estate LLC in North Center.
But Vigil, reached Monday night, said he was actually the "victim of road rage."
"Everything you’ve been told is a lie. That's all I can tell you," he said. "I called 911. He punched out my windows. He was trying to kill me. I was defending myself."
But court records and police charges refute his claims; the police report called Vigil the "offender" and the other driver of a gray Toyota Camry the "victim."
Surveillance cameras were rolling about 1:30 p.m. March 16 outside a business on West Morse Avenue.
Police said there was another traffic incident involving the two drivers shortly before at Devon Avenue and Sheridan Road that was not captured on the video.
Vigil "fled the scene after a minor traffic accident," said Officer Bari Lemmon, a Chicago Police Department spokeswoman.
The other driver then "followed the offender," said Lemmon. In the video, that driver, who appears to be wearing a light-colored T-shirt, can be seen jumping out of his Camry and kicking the driver-side door of the car police said was driven by Vigil.
He "exited his vehicle" and began kicking and hitting Vigil's car, Lemmon said. The police report said that was an "attempt to get [Vigil] to exit the vehicle."
Ben Woodard discusses the incident:
In the video, a young girl in a red jacket and riding a scooter can be seen watching the incident from the sidewalk.
Vigil's car then slowly moves away as the other driver continues to strike it. Then, the car goes into reverse and slams into the other driver's Camry "several more times," Lemmon said.
Vigil then speeds off, only to pull a U-turn and smack head-on into the Camry, the video shows. As the car crosses into the wrong lane, it narrowly misses a bicyclist on the street, who swerves to avoid being struck.
The Camry driver, whom police did not identify, then runs toward Vigil's car again and lands a flying front kick on the driver-side door. He also begins to swing at the driver-side window, appearing to break it as the car reverses and causes another front-end collision before yet again speeding off.
The other driver then pulls his Camry onto the sidewalk, seemingly out of harm's way.
One of the cars was parked on the sidewalk after of the incident. (Craig Gernhardt)
But Vigil's car returns, leading the other driver to deliver another running kick — this time to the passenger-side door. He lands the strike as Vigil's car speeds up, and the man spins to the pavement.
Vigil then appears to drive his car in the direction of the other driver, who continues to punch and kick.
"At one point he attempts to strike the victim while the victim was standing outside of his vehicle,” Lemmon said.
Vigil speeds away again westbound on Morse.
But it's not over yet.
Vigil returns, and several times appears to drive by the other driver, who is now standing near his Camry parked on the sidewalk. In one instance, the other man appears to grab a snow shovel from his car and is ready a swing.
That's when witness Erickson Ocasio tried to calm the situation.
"He wanted to run him over," Ocasio told DNAinfo Chicago. "It was like a 'Law and Order'-type thing."
Coincidentally, Ocasio said he knew Vigil from a previous firm they both worked for and called out to him as he passed to stop the attack, pointing a finger.
According to the police report, Ocasio said "This is not the right way to do things," to which Vigil responded, "If you tell, I'll kill you, too."
Ocasio said Vigil drove a short distance away from the scene as police arrived. He was soon arrested. His Audi was impounded, according to court documents.
Police question one of the drivers in the incident. (Craig Gernhardt)
The Camry driver could not be reached for comment.
Vigil, of the 3600 block of North Ashland Avenue, was released on his own recognizance after a court hearing Tuesday. His next court appearance was scheduled for 1 p.m. April 22.
Contributing: Erica Demarest
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