A mini-van driver who beat another driver with an aluminum bat in a case of road rage has been found guilty of assault with a weapon and assault causing bodily harm.
In convicting Gerardo Arguello, 38, of the assaults, Judge Doug Moss of the North Vancouver provincial court said Tuesday he didn’t believe Arguello’s argument that he only hit the other driver, Ryan McCaffery, in self-defence.
Moss said Arguello’s decision to bring a baseball bat into a roadside fight about a minor fender-bender was extreme.
“He agrees he swung the bat over his shoulder and hit with considerable force,” said Moss.
Moss found a second man, 35-year-old Norman Segundo, who was a passenger in Arguello’s mini van, not guilty of assault in the case.
Moss said although Segundo was “probably” involved in the dust-up, there wasn’t enough evidence to convince him beyond a reasonable doubt.
During the trial, McCaffery described how the incident started after he cut off Arguello’s minivan in the process of merging onto the Ironworkers Memorial Second Narrows Crossing, heading into North Vancouver on the afternoon of Jan. 1, 2011.
Arguello and Segundo, became enraged at being cut off and while on the bridge, pulled their vehicle alongside McCaffery’s, where all three men yelled at each other through their windows.
“This mano-a-mano exchange of unpleasantries doesn’t reflect well on any of the participants,” Moss noted.
Moss said after the drivers exchanged angry words on the bridge, Arguello began a “cat and mouse” game with McCaffrey as the two mini vans drove up the “Cut” in North Vancouver.
By the time Arguello cut across two lanes of traffic, overtaking McCaffrey then slamming on his brakes to cause a collision, “Emotions were clearly out of control,” said Moss.
“All three were in an elevated state of excitement,” said Moss, adding the men used words like “furious,” “irate” and “angry” in describing their mental states.
After the crash, McCaffrey described Segundo coming at him on the side of the road “with rage in his eyes.”
Moss said independent witnesses who saw the fight described seeing McCaffrey being hit by Arguello wielding the bat, while trying defending himself.
McCaffrey was hit four or five times with the bat, including once in the head.
The judge noted even Segundo described seeing Arguello hit McCaffrey in the head, when he testified “there was a different sound to that blow” and “there was blood all over McCaffrey’s face.”
The married father of two small boys required seven stitches to close the wound and still suffers daily headaches.
In court, Arguello and his lawyer suggested it was McCaffrey — a much bigger man — who started the fight and that Arguello was only trying to defend himself with the bat. But Moss rejected that, saying Arguello was “clearly intending to use the bat as a weapon.”
A sentencing hearing for Arguello has been adjourned to a later date.