A Chesterton man punched a South Haven man last week in the parking lot of
Al’s Supermarket after the South Haven man, angry about the Chesterton man’s
driving, provoked him, the Porter County Sheriff’s Police said.
Which prompted the investigating officer to cite the South Haven man for
“provocation” and to seek a charge of disorderly conduct against both.
According to police, at 3:38 p.m. June 8 the South Haven man was southbound
on McCool Road, stopped behind five or six cars for a red light at U.S.
Highway 6, when he saw the Chesterton man turn right onto U.S. 6 from the
left-turn lane, causing “several other vehicles to slam on their brakes.”
The South Haven man followed the Chesterton man to Al’s, where he called the
Chesterton man a “hillbilly” and made other derogatory comments to him,
police said, then got out of his vehicle and “lurched” at the Chesterton man
“as if to hit him,” police said.
So the Chesterton man punched him.
The South Haven man admitted that he followed the Chesterton man, “sought
him out, exchanged words with him, and addressed him about his driving
habits,” police said. “When asked why he didn’t just leave instead of
‘waiting for (the Chesterton man) to come back out of the store to confront
him again,’ he stated, ‘it’s a free country and I can say whatever I want.’”
So the officer issued him a citation for provocation and a summons to appear
in court on July 30. Under Indiana Code a “person who recklessly, knowingly,
or intentionally engages in conduct that is likely to provoke a reasonable
man to commit battery commits provocation, a Class C infraction.”
Neither man was charged with battery, police said—as the officer judged the
incident to be a case of “mutual combat that could have been avoided by both
parties had they gone their separate ways or contacted police for
assistance”—but the PCSP is requesting each man be charged with disorderly
conduct, police said.