CHARLOTTE COUNTY, FL (Gray News) - A road rage incident could have been a lot worse if two deputies with the Charlotte County Sheriff's Office hadn't been stuck in traffic right where a fight was about to break out.
Traffic slowed to a crawl as they traveled in an unmarked car towards Englewood. In fact, it had slowed so much, four men had time to get out of their cars for an altercation.
"Driving can be stressful, but feeling angry when behind the wheel could lead to aggressive driving, distracted driving or even an accident," deputies wrote in a department-issued a press release.
When they saw the men on the road, they turned on their emergency lights and pulled up right behind them.
As soon as the deputies approached, three of the men began yelling, "He's got a knife! He's got a machete," while pointing at 38-year-old Michael Cittadino.
According to a press release, deputies didn't see any weapons in Cittadino's possession, but his mannerisms were aggressive. They said he clinched his fists and ignored commands to show his hands, at times even reaching into his pockets.
Finally, detectives sprang into action. They grabbed the suspect's wrist. Try as he might, Cittadino couldn't snatch his way to freedom.
Investigators took statements from the other three men. One of them said he was trying to merge lanes in front of Cittadino, but the suspect blocked the lane.
That's when the suspect allegedly pulled out a machete and went to town on the victim's car. Deputies said they could see the damage Cittadino left on the victim's windshield.
The other two men are the victim's coworkers. They just happened to see their colleague in trouble and went to his defense.
They told authorities the suspect threw the machete back inside his car.
Cittadino reported back pain during his arrest. Deputies transported him to a hospital for evaluation, then to the county jail where he faces aggravated assault with a deadly weapon, criminal mischief and resisting an officer without violence charges.
The suspect's car was impounded as investigators pursued a warrant to search it. Once they got it, they found a machete inside.
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