July 31, 2014

Elyria
Sunny
59°F
test

Victim mad ‘road rage’ attacker receives 11 day jail sentence

ELYRIA — People aren’t always happy with sentences handed down in court, but Elyria resident Patrick Buckley is still stewing that his attacker received 11 days in jail after what he described as a particularly brutal assault.

rage

Patrick Buckley shows the burn scars on his arm from the incident.

Buckley, who has burn scars on his arms that he said were from the fight, said the incident caused him to lose his job and seek psychiatric help for post traumatic stress syndrome caused by the attack.

The attack, which both the Elyria prosecutor and the defendant’s attorney described as a “road rage incident,” occurred Aug. 16, 2010.

Buckley was driving his motorcycle southbound on West River Road when a driver pulled behind him in a PT Cruiser. Buckley told police in 2010 that the driver, later identified as Robert Gibson Jr., was tailgating him, and he later sped in front of him, cutting him off.

Buckley said he argued with Gibson about his driving on Bell Avenue when Gibson grabbed him in a “bear type” hug, flipping him over the bike and on the ground. Gibson then knocked the motorcycle over, choked Buckley and dragged him over to the motorcycle’s engine to burn his chest and arms, according to Buckley’s statement to Elyria police.

“I couldn’t fight back. I couldn’t do anything,” Buckley recalled.

Gibson left before police arrived, and a witness, Precious Armstrong, told police she saw the two men arguing, and she recounted the events as Buckley did, according to a police report. Another witness, Brittany Conner, didn’t witness the attack, but she told police she saw the PT Cruiser tailgating the motorcycle.

Gibson was not identified as the driver until the next day when Buckley told police that Gibson was working at the Speedway gas station on Lorain Boulevard. Gibson, who was questioned by police, said he was the driver, but he said Buckley had scratched his car, leading to the fight.

Gibson also denied starting the fight, and he said Buckley tried to “knee” him in the groin and “head butt” him with his helmet. He told police he left because he believed Buckley had a knife, according to police reports.

Gibson was arrested Sept. 2, leading to a legal battle lasting three years.

Gibson initially was charged with felonious assault, but a Lorain County grand jury refused to indict him on the felony charge, sending the case back to Elyria Municipal Court. Gibson’s charge was changed to a misdemeanor assault charge, and, after failing to appear in court several times, he was convicted of assault Aug. 27 after entering a no contest plea.

Gibson was sentenced to 11 days in jail and ordered to pay $2,000 restitution to Buckley.

But for Buckley, who said his life was ruined by the incident, the sentence wasn’t near enough.

“I’m scarred for life. Every time I look at (the scars), they remind me of the horrible thing that happened,” he said.

Buckley said he had bruised and cracked ribs, contusions and second- and third-degree burns on his arms and chest. He said he was too scared to ride his motorcycle, had to begin seeing a psychiatrist and was eventually fired from his job.

The money he will receive from Gibson isn’t enough to pay for medical bills, lost work and the damage to his motorcycle, according to Buckley.

“I had so much anger and frustration about what happened. I was confrontational because of what happened, to say the least,” he said.

Elyria Prosecutor Scott Strait said he felt the sentence was fair given the circumstances.

Road-rage cases are particularly difficult to prove, and Buckley and Gibson each had their own stories about what led to Buckley’s injuries, Strait said. A county grand jury refused to indict Gibson because members didn’t believe they could prove he intended to injure Buckley, he said.

mug

Robert Gibson Jr.

In addition, person who witnessed the incident never showed up in court.

“It was Buckley’s word over Gibson’s word about who started the fight. … In the end, the burden on us is to prove the offense, and it comes down to what I can prove,” he said.

Gibson’s attorney, Kenneth Nelson, said there was an issue of who started the fight, and he said Buckley was partially to blame. He said Gibson pleaded no contest simply to end the three-year legal battle.

Attempts to reach Gibson were unsuccessful.

Buckley, who said he was just starting to get over the incident, said the sentencing last week was another upset. He said he didn’t have the opportunity to speak in court, nor was he notified of the hearing.

“I just got really, really wronged in this situation,” he said.

Gibson has a past conviction for theft, possession of drugs and possession of drug abuse instruments in Aug. 2012, according to court records. Buckley has past charges for assault, criminal trespass and menacing, but those were dismissed in court.

Contact Chelsea Miller at 329-7123 or cmiller@chroniclet.com.

  • Peter Aldrich

    A grave miscarriage of justice. Gibson got off easy. Buckley got hosed.

  • Ray Venn

    This should prove to some of you that arguing over a person’s driving habits is never ever a good idea.

    Yes the other person may be a total idiot and be tailgating you or passed you too close but that other person may be carrying a gun or just like in this case be able to clean your clock. Is it really worth it?

    Yep, you may be right at first, but you could also be “dead right”.

    • Joe Smith

      Yep and even after you argue with someone and tell them how stupid they are driving, they will still continue to do so which means saying anything is a waste of time in the first place and you are better off just driving away while cursing under your breath

      • Zen Grouch

        Yeah, but on that occasion where YOU do the clock cleaning and take off before the cops show up… it feels soooo good.

        • Joe Smith

          It would be a great stress reliever, better than yoga!

          • Zen Grouch

            Unless it’s that involuntary kind of yoga where some huge and angry gorilla twists you into a pretzel then kicks the daylights out of you while telling you to breathe deep through a nose that’s now gushing chunky blood, as you’re rethinking that whole ‘tough guy’ response to someone’s inconsiderate driving habits.

  • Derp

    I have a feeling neither of these two are as innocent as they say

  • Phil Blank

    Sorry for this man’s pain.

    But, it seems every time you turn around someone is complaining of post traumatic stress syndrome. Is this for Social Security disability reasons or what?

    Maybe I should complain of post traumatic stress syndrome from being bullied as a child, or the bad car accident I had with my mom when I was a child, or the broken leg I received as a child or maybe post traumatic stress syndrome from the military when I never saw a day of military action or fighting while a young man?

    Sometimes the claim of “post traumatic stress syndrome” is starting to sound like a scam!

    • SweetScarlet

      I actually have PTSD from a sexual assault… but I still work, maintain a home and family, etc. I understand some people are truly crippled by it, but… it is possible to carry on a somewhat normal life.

  • Zen Grouch

    When I was young and indestructible I enjoyed riding my bike, but was constantly annoyed with little old ladies who would pull out in front of me, and with the miserable pieces of garbage who went out of their way to mess with motorcycles, probably because they wouldn’t cause too much damage to their POS cars/trucks.

    Modified my back license plate holder, so I could flip it up making it impossible to read, then whip out my .38 special, cause some severe radiator damage, then zing the heck out of there.

    From what I gather it cost a fortune to repair a semi tractor’s radiator. And there’s nothing as satisfying as watching those inbred truck drivers lock up all 18 wheels at 80 mph.

    • Ray Venn

      Riiiiiighhhhhhhhttttttt……..

      • Zen Grouch

        Whatever…

        At this point in life I don’t much care if people can’t wrap their heads around, or even believe my tales.

        Either I’m a horrible liar, or way too many people live lives that are so boring they can’t comprehend any other way.