SUNLAND PARK, N.M. — A road rage incident resulted in a portion of a man’s finger being bitten off, according to the Sunland Park Police Department.
A second driver also received bites during the road-rage-related fight.
The drivers of two vehicles involved, as well as a 17-year-old boy who was riding in one of the vehicles, are facing criminal charges in connection to the March 15 incident.
Robert E. Moore, 49, of El Paso and his wife were traveling westbound in a black 2016 GMC Yukon SUV. Marco Antonio Gomez, 40, of Sunland Park was traveling the same direction in a 2003 F150 pickup towing a trailer. Gomez’s 17-year-old family member was also in his vehicle.
Gomez’s and Moore’s vehicles were first on Mesa Street on the Texas side of the state line. But traffic merged into one lane when the street turned into Country Club Drive on the New Mexico side. Gomez claimed that Moore’s vehicle sped up to prevent him from passing when the lanes merged, but Gomez passed Moore anyhow.
Moore believed he had the right-of-way, according to court records.
A mobile dispute ensued, resulting in Gomez pulling off the road to the entrance a subdivision in Sunland Park. He parked his vehicle. Moore followed, driving up next to Gomez, according to police.
The passenger in Moore’s vehicle alleged Gomez got out of his truck holding a blue pole and hit the passenger-side door, near where she was sitting. She told authorities she “feared for her life,” when Gomez hit the vehicle, according to court records.
Moore and Gomez’s family member, the 17-year-old, also got out of their vehicles, authorities say. A verbal argument turned into a physical fight.
Moore claimed Gomez and his family member were verbally threatening him. Moore was allegedly shouting profanity. And the three allegedly started “chest bumping,” or shoving one another with their chests. Gomez told Moore the 17-year-old was a minor and should be left alone.
Two people bitten
Gomez reportedly told the teen to get back into the truck, and Gomez moved to do the same. But Gomez told police Moore pushed the door so Gomez couldn’t get in. Gomez told authorities Moore “tried to swing at him,” and Gomez swung back.
The exact sequence of events during the fight is somewhat unclear from court records. The combatants allegedly were putting one another in headlocks and choke holds. Per court records, Moore says someone bit him, including on his side and left middle finger, and hit him multiple times in the face.
“During the fight, Moore felt a finger inside his mouth and bit as hard as he could, biting off the tip of Gomez(‘s) finger,” according to a news release from the Sunland Park police.
Moore told authorities “everyone released him” after he bit down on the finger.
Gomez’s right index fingertip was bitten off, according to court records.
Gomez told authorities he bit Moore’s shoulder and punched him.
After the incident, authorities observed bite marks on Moore’s “left lower breast, below his left underarm, (and his) right middle finger,” as well as bruising on his face.
Pipe allegedly thrown
Moore says he got back into his SUV, while the 17-year-old was in front of the vehicle and Gomez was allegedly hitting the side of the vehicle, saying “Come on, come on,” according to court records.
Gomez allegedly damaged the SUV’s exterior passenger side rear-view mirror, the passenger window, the hood and the front windshield, according to Sunland Park police.
Gomez allegedly “threw a metal pipe towards Moore’s vehicle, which pierced the hood” of the SUV, according to court records.
Charges filed against three people
The Doña Ana County Sheriff’s Department assisted the Sunland Park police in responding to the incident. An ambulance also responded to the scene.
Moore has been charged in Doña Ana County Magistrate Court with one count of aggravated battery causing great bodily harm; one count of battery; and one count of public affray, according to Sunland Park police. He was arrested March 22, according to Sunland Park police.
Gomez was charged with one count of aggravated assault with a deadly weapon; one county of criminal damage to property over $1,000; one count of battery; and one count of public affray. He was arrested March 23.
The 17-year-old boy was charged with one count of battery and one count of public affray. He received a Class III citation, which are issued to juveniles.
Sunland Park’s police chief, Javier Guerra, said he wanted to caution drivers to stay calm and avoid knee-jerk responses in road-rage situations. If drivers are threatened, they should call 911, he said.
“We would like to remind the public to ignore any verbal abuse or gestures, keep your doors locked, windows up, (and) don’t stop,” he said in a statement. “Try to get some distance between you and that vehicle and do not respond to any aggression involving any road rage incident.”
Follow Diana Alba Soular on Twitter: @AlbaSoular
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