A jury trial is scheduled to start today for a man accused of repeatedly ramming a teen driver during a road rage-fueled chase through Los Alamitos.
Bellflower resident Robert Allen Barnhart, 53, faces 11 felony counts including nine counts of assault with a deadly weapon and has plead not guilty to the charges and will appear again in court for a preliminary hearing next week.
The incident occurred in November when Barnhart was rear-ended in his pick-up truck by an 18-year-old driver in an Isuzu Rodeo on Bloomfield Avenue, according to the Los Alamitos Police Department.
Both men got out of their cars, and Barnhart became livid, according to Los Alamitos Police.
Barnhart allegedly chased the other driver and his passenger to a nearby gas station and rear-ended him as the driver pulled into the station. The chase continued as both drivers headed down Bloomfield and then east on Ball Road into Cypress.
According to investigators, Barnhart continued ram the other driver, sideswiping him and causing he Isuzu to spin into oncoming traffic.
“He turned the victim’s vehicle around so that he was facing west into eastbound traffic lanes,” Captain Bruce McAlpine said at the time of the arrest. “Apparently Barnhart was still not satisfied, and he gave chase again.”
In an effort to evade Barnhart, the teenage driver continued heading west into oncoming traffic. In a fourth and final collision, Barnhart turned his truck into the Isuzu, crashing into it and bringing both vehicles to a stop, said McAlpine.
“Mr. Barnhart got out of his vehicle and pulled the victim out of his vehicle and hit him,” said McAlpine.
Throughout the chase, several witnesses called 911, and police from Los Alamitos and Cypress arrived on the scene to arrest Barnhart.
Barnhart was taken into custody and released on $50,000 bail. Today’s scheduled preliminary hearing will determine if there is enough evidence in the case to move forward with the trial.