VIDEO: Ex-deputy allegedly attacks car with tire iron in I-83 road rage
A retired sheriff's deputy from Florida accused of beating on a woman's car with a tire iron during a road-rage incident along Interstate 83 in York County is now facing trial.
Michael Erwin Hoover, 70, of Cambridge Road in Springettsbury Township, said at the close of his preliminary hearing on Monday, Nov. 5, that this is the first time he's been in any trouble since getting a traffic ticket as a teenager.
He surprised those in the courtroom when he volunteered that he is a retired sheriff's deputy from Florida who moved to York County four or five years ago.
At the close of the hearing, District Judge Richard Thomas forwarded Hoover's case to York County Court for trial, then set the man's formal arraignment for Dec. 7.
He allowed Hoover to remain free on recognizance bail, charged with simple assault and criminal mischief, both second-degree misdemeanors, and summary harassment.
The encounter happened the night of Sept. 12 along I-83 southbound on the Fishing Creek on-ramp (Exit 36), according to testimony.
Randi Fawber testified she was driving home from work about 9 p.m. and was in the right lane when a car behind her high-beamed her for "a long period of time."
"I didn't know what I was doing wrong. I was in the right lane," she said. "I wasn't speeding. I wasn't cutting anyone off. ... I thought my taillights were out."
She said she eventually moved into the left lane, at which point Hoover passed her on the right and she got behind him and activated her high-beam lights, Fawber testified.
Tire iron: Fawber said when Hoover pulled off the highway at the Fishing Creek exit, she followed suit. That's when Hoover got out of his car, she said.
"He had a tire iron in his hand. He started attacking my car ... trying to break my window," she testified. "He was all over my car."
Hoover struck her car and driver-side window with the tire iron about a dozen times, according to Fawber, who said she remained inside her vehicle and screamed for him to stop.
At some point, Hoover stopped and started walking back to his vehicle, then for an unknown reason he turned around and went on the attack again, she said.
"He put a couple dents in the side of my car" and also scratched her driver-side window, Fawber testified.
She told the judge she was trying to flee, but that Hoover was blocking her from doing so.
"I wanted to get out of the situation," she said. "As I was reversing, he was still lunging at my car."
Fawber testified she eventually was able to get away and call 911 for help.
"I went around him and sped off as fast as I could," she said, then left the highway at the Newberrytown exit (Exit 32) to wait for a state trooper to respond.
Victim took video: Fawber also testified that she began video-recording Hoover as he approached her car with the tire iron — a video she has provided to investigators.
State Trooper Steven Stechman, who met Fawber that night and who filed charges against Hoover, testified he viewed the video.
He said he saw Hoover "walking up to the victim's car with a metallic item in his hand ... and struck it multiple times," then started to walk back to his car before turning back around "unprovoked" and hitting Fawber's car again.
The attack caused about $1,300 in damage to Fawber's car, Stechman testified.
Public defender Tara Matcuk, who represented Hoover for the hearing, declined comment afterward.
— Reach Liz Evans Scolforo at firstname.lastname@example.org or on Twitter at @LizScolforoYD.