Flying Beverage Cup Has Another Driver in Hot Water

By Tom Jackman
Washington Post Staff Writer
Tuesday, February 27, 2007

Projectile road rage has erupted again.

Two days after a North Carolina woman emerged from seven weeks in jail for launching a cup of ice at a passing car, a man has been accused of tossing a cup of coffee from his car into another vehicle, then briefly fighting with the other driver at a Fairfax County intersection.

When it was over, the alleged coffee-hurler -- a 29-year-old Loudoun County resident -- was hauled off to jail on a felony charge of unlawfully throwing a missile at an occupied vehicle. If convicted, he faces up to 10 years in prison.

A Stafford County jury last week gave Jessica Hall, 25, the minimum two years in prison for throwing the cup of ice, though the judge released her after she served about seven weeks. She has not decided whether to appeal the felony conviction.

Hall was arrested in July after she pelted another car with a large McDonald's cup on Interstate 95. She was convicted at trial Jan. 4 and jailed. At her sentencing last week, a Stafford judge sentenced her to time served and suspended the remainder of her two-year term.

Prosecutors in Stafford sought to imprison Hall for the entire two years of her sentence in what became known as the "McMissile" case. Fairfax Commonwealth's Attorney Robert F. Horan Jr. did not return a call yesterday to discuss his intentions for the new case.

Fairfax police statistics show that the felony charge of throwing or shooting a missile at a vehicle is not unusual, and it can involve anything from a rock to a bullet. Police made 35 such arrests in 2005 and 20 in 2004.

News of Hall's case either did not reach or did not deter at least one of the drivers heading west on Route 50 in western Fairfax on Saturday afternoon. As a car and a sport-utility vehicle headed through the Chantilly area about 2:30 p.m., the drivers began arguing, Fairfax officer Edward J. Azcarate said.

As the vehicles reached Stonecroft Boulevard, the driver of the car tossed a full cup of coffee into the open passenger window of the SUV, Azcarate said. A 32-year-old Aldie woman was drenched but not hurt, Azcarate said.

The driver of the SUV, a 41-year-old Aldie man whose name was not released, then got out to confront the car's driver, identified by police as Allen Tat Le of the 42600 block of Rolling Rock Square in South Riding. The two men had a brief confrontation, Azcarate said, then returned to their cars and headed back down Route 50.

The Aldie man and woman called police and followed Le, police said. An officer arrived and arrested Le, who posted $2,500 bond later Saturday and was released from the Fairfax jail. He could not be located for comment yesterday.

Le and the Aldie man sought to press additional charges stemming from the altercation outside the vehicles, but magistrates denied their requests, Azcarate said.

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