APD: Altercation near Lowe’s appears to be road-rage related

ATHENS, Ala. (WHNT) — The Athens Police Department (APD) said its investigation into an altercation over the weekend suggests it was road-rage related, though the Alabama Republican Party felt it was politically motivated.

Athens Police Chief Anthony Presnell said the department investigated the incident, which occurred near Lowe’s off U.S. Highway 72 around 5:50 p.m. on Saturday.

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“Our investigation suggests road rage led to the altercation between a driver in one vehicle, and a passenger in another vehicle,” Pressnell said. “We received numerous questions from media asking about it being a politically motivated attack, which we never reported, and there is no indication that was the case.”

According to the chief, two vehicles met at the entrance of Lowe’s at U.S. 72. One driver was on a side street that parallels U.S. 72 when she reportedly ran a stop sign near the Lowe’s entrance.

Police said the second driver was attempting to turn into the Lowe’s at the intersection when the first driver did this, and honked the horn and flashed their lights at them. Both vehicles pulled into the parking lot and went in opposite directions, according to Presnell.

Responding officers were told by the woman who was a passenger in the second vehicle that she and her husband had just left a restaurant, and they stopped in the parking lot to check their vehicle for items they thought they’d left behind.

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The woman was outside their vehicle when APD said the first driver returned, drove up to the couple, cursed at her and grabbed her shirt from the car window. Presnell said she told police she responded by hitting the driver.

“The passenger said she assumed Driver Nov. 1 was coming from the walking track,” Pressnell said, “Neither woman indicated this was politically motivated.”

Neither driver asked for medical treatment at the scene following the incident, the chief added.

The Alabama Republican Party, on the other hand, offered a different interpretation of the incident, saying it was a politically motivated attack on Republican Volunteer Tara Johnson near a local Trump campaign headquarters.

ALGOP Chairman John Wahl told News 19 on Monday that the party was outraged by the incident.

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“We feel it had to be politically motivated and (really) a target toward a Trump supporter or Republican,” Wahl said. “The party as a whole…we’re just completely outraged and heartbroken about this incident. We want to see justice.”

Presnell said at this time, no one involved has pressed charges and police are considering the case closed.

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