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Thursday, Dec 18, 2014
Crime & Courts

Cellphone video: ‘Drive-thru’ rage at McDonald’s in Polk


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The suspect told police “it was like a road rage incident,” but the confrontation at a Winter Haven McDonald’s could be classified as “drive-thru rage.”

A cellphone video was rolling when the Winter Haven man — upset when his van was cut off by a vehicle in a two-lane drive-thru — yelled at and punched that vehicle’s passenger, police said.

At 11:20 p.m. Saturday, Howard Carl Wilson was in one of the side-by-side lanes at McDonald’s, 245 Sixth St. N.W, police said. A vehicle in the other lane pulled in front of Wilson’s van after ordering, police said.

According to police, Wilson was heard by witnesses yelling profanities and racial slurs through his window toward the other vehicle. Police said Wilson then left his van and approached Brittani Thomas in the front passenger seat of that vehicle.

An occupant in a vehicle behind Wilson’s van began recording cellphone video as Thomas opened her door and asked what Wilson’s problem was, police said.

Thomas attempted to close her door several times for nearly two minutes, but Wilson kept her from doing so, police said. During that time, he yelled into the vehicle, police said.

As other vehicles in line ahead began to move forward, Wilson, 68, reached in the vehicle and punched Thomas in the face, police said. Wilson then returned to his van and drove away.

Officers located Wilson at his home, where he admitted being at the McDonald’s and said he was at Thomas’ door for less than 15 seconds, police said. He said he was angry because the other vehicle cut him off and he almost struck it, police said.

The officers then showed him the cellphone video, and he “realized the situation was much more than he recalled,” police said in a news release.

“It was like a road rage incident,” Wilson told officers.

Wilson faces a simple battery charge, and was booked and released from the Polk County Jail.

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