Lake County Sheriffs Office(GURNEE, Ill.) — An Illinois man has been charged with a hate crime for allegedly attacking a motorcyclist with an ice pick and telling him to “go back to his country,” authorities said.
The victim, a 57-year-old Latino man, was driving on Delaney Road in Gurnee, Illinois, on Wednesday morning when a driver of a 2009 Hyundai SUV “abruptly changed lanes” and cut him off, according to a press release from the Lake County Sheriff’s Office.
The motorcyclist, whose bike displayed a Mexican flag, was attempting to take down the license plate on the SUV when the driver, 67-year-old Gurnee resident Joseph Zens, allegedly pulled over, exited the vehicle and began yelling expletives and racial slurs at him, authorities said.
Zens then allegedly retrieved an ice pick from his vehicle and began to chase the victim and continued to yell expletives and racial slurs, authorities said.
The victim got back onto his motorcycle but was struck by the ice pick as he began to move away, authorities said. He then called 911.
Deputies later spoke to Zens at his home and found the ice pick in his car. He was arrested without incident.
Lake County State’s Attorney Michael G. Nerheim approved the charge of felony hate crime after reviewing the facts of the case, according to the release. Zens was also charged with misdemeanor aggravated assault.
“This type of hateful conduct will never be tolerated in Lake County,” Nerheim said in a statement.
Lake County Sheriff John Idleburg said, “Hate has absolutely no place in Lake County.”
“Being victimized because of the color of one’s skin, ancestry, religion, sexual orientation, or any other protected classification is completely unacceptable,” he said. “We will always be there to stand up for the victims of crime.”
Zens was released on $15,000 bond. He will appear in court on Aug. 28.
ABC News could not immediately reach Zen for comment. It is unclear if he has retained an attorney.
Copyright © 2019, ABC Radio. All rights reserved.