Road rage suspected in Oakland County attack

Police believe road rage is what drove a man to attack a woman in Oakland County.

The  previously convicted felon on parole was allegedly punching  the 21-year-old woman.  When two men tried to help, he pulled a gun from his pants.

The incident happened in Brandon Township at Sashabaw and Seymour Lake roads at 10:30 a.m. Oct. 13. Both had stopped to argue and the woman got out of her car to confront the man, 59.

One of the witnesses called 911 to report the incident. On the call, a witness can be heard saying: "A guy is beating the hell out of a woman. We got out and he pulled a gun on us.

"He was beating the hell out of her. She had a baby in the car. I pulled up and said dude, mellow out, relax. He said 'I'll show you how to relax' and pulled a gun."

"Thankfully she wasn't seriously hurt," said Michael Bouchard, Oakland County sheriff. "He was beating on her pretty hard. When someone came to her aid, he pulled a gun.

"The first message is leave. In any road rage situation, your life, your car, is not worth arguing over a lane ownership."

Lerke then jumped in his car and sped off.  Both men followed him and stayed on the phone.  Oakland County Deputies quickly caught him.

"Given that we're opposed to some of these parole changes in Lansing, things that they want to make looser. This guy had been to prison and been convicted three times for carrying a concealed weapon.

"Three times for assault, felonious assault, assaulting a police officer, assault with a dangerous weapon."

When police pulled him over, he had a loaded .380 semi-auto handgun and an illegal switchblade. As a felon he could never legally own a gun.

"This is his fourth weapon offense," Bouchard said. "That's the guy you hammer and come down on with the full force of the law."

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