Willowbrook teen charged in road rage attack
A Willowbrook teen has been charged as a juvenile with five counts of aggravated battery in connection with a Tuesday evening road rage attack that injured a 53-year-old Darien man, authorities said Friday.
The teen also is charged with punching a police officer when authorities came to arrest him.
A court date has not yet been set for the 17-year-old, DuPage County State's Attorney Robert Berlin said in a news release. Charges against him had been delayed because the teen was hospitalized for several days in the wake of the attack. Authorities have not said why or where the teen was hospitalized.
The injured man, Inderjit Singh Mukker, was waiting to turn left on Cass Avenue from 75th Street in Darien when the teen began yelling racial slurs at him from another car, authorities said. The teen cut Mukker off several times, and when Mukker pulled to the side of the road, the teen did, too, authorities said.
Authorities said the teen left his car and approached Mukker's vehicle where the two exchanged words. At some point the teen punched Mukker in the face as the older man sat in his vehicle, they said.
Mukker suffered a fractured cheekbone and cuts to his face as well as swelling and bruising.
The teen then fled, authorities said.
Police eventually found the teen at his home, and when he was approached he punched an officer in the face, authorities said.
"The allegations against this defendant are very serious," Berlin said in the news release. "Regardless of what was said or done by either of the parties allegedly involved in this incident, physical attacks will not be tolerated and will be met with the full force of the law."
Mukker is a Sikh-American who drives a cab, has two grown children and wears a beard and turban, said his father, Sadhu Sing Rikhiraj.
Mukker, who practices his faith at Sikh Religious Society in Palatine, was treated for his injuries at an area hospital and now is recovering at home.
The case has garnered national attention and led to a call from some area religious leaders Thursday night for greater education and tolerance about religious differences.
Authorities said the teen was not charged with a hate crime because it appears both he and Mukker exchanged verbal barbs as part of the altercation.