Hate crime charge after women attacked in road rage

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by KING 5 News

KREM.com

Posted on January 30, 2013 at 8:55 AM

A 71-year-old man is accused of road rage and a hate crime after allegedly attacking two women in Tacoma.

LuAnn Branch and Kelli Nichols of Vashon Island say they were headed to a medical appointment Monday when they say the suspect ran into them.

The women said the suspect, identified by prosecutors as William Zesbaugh, calmly got out. He allegedly opened the trunk, grabbed his “Club” steering wheel lock and hit Branch with it.

According to court documents, Zesbaugh said to the women, “I can tell you’re lesbians. I should beat the crap out of you.”

“I kind of half laughed and I said, ‘You know, my husband would be entertained to hear that,’” said Branch.

Nichols said she is a lesbian.

“To threaten me because of my sexuality … that was just disconcerting,” said Nichols.

Zesbaugh has been charged with assault and malicious harassment, a hate crime. He was booked into the Pierce County Jail on $10,000 bail.

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