Updated with Friday's court appearance. And adds e to Poole.
If not for Belmont Shore resident Jim Poole, somebody might have been hurt worse than the two black eyes he got as a Good Samaritan, friends say.
But Poole, a Long Beach attorney and father, found himself in the unlikely spotlight of a convaluted crime tale involving three people arrested, two cities, two cars, and road rage captured on a smartphone that went viral. And that incident nudged Poole's May 25 role into the news.
It also led to the hit-run suspect's court appearance Friday in Long Beach.
The victim in an apparent road-rage beating on a freeway was arrested Thursday as a suspect in a Belmont Shore hit-run and assault, and a SmartPhone video of the freeway attack led to him, authorities said.
The video is taken the afternoon of June 12 by a fellow motorist on the I-5, who pulled up right beside 3 men embroiled in a shouting-shoving match, apparently trying to disrupt things as another witness honked his horn.
Jerry Patterson, 49,at first tangles with one man, gets attacked by a second, and falls to the pavement, where he appears to be kicked in the head 4 times; he's left unconscious before three men hop in a Volkswagon and drive off in the incident near East L.A.
The video, which was taken from the driver's seat while Drake croons, "Take Care," was posted on LiveLeak.com Tuesday, and has since been viewed by more than 200,000, the site indicates. It caused enough interest that the California Highway Patrol, which responded to the freeway fight, held a press briefing Wednesday about the tangled case. In the video, the Volkswagon's license plate is visible, as is another witness.
California Highway Patrol officers arrested David Mendez, 21, and Edras Ramirez, 27, both of Los Angeles, and booked them on suspicion of assault with a deadly weapon in connection with the 5 Freeway brawl -- that was caught on a motorist's smartphone, said CHP Officer Ming Hsu.
Mendez and Ramirez went to a CHP office about 7:30 p.m. Wednesday, and were interviewed and arrested, Hsu said. Arraignment was scheduled for Friday morning in L.A., Hsu said. Investigators had not decided whether charges are warranted in connection with the freeway fight against their alleged victim, Patterson, apart from the Long Beach PD arrest warrant.
In responding to the freeway fight, CHP officers discovered the outstanding arrest warrant for Patterson from a Belmont Shore incident in Long Beach.
In that case, Long Beach's Pratt said, Patterson was involved in a hit-run collision about 6:30 p.m. May 25 in the residential neighborhood north of Second Street. Patterson drove off, but a witness chased him to the 200 block of LaVerne, fairly close to Second Street. The witness is then allegedly assaulted by Patterson, Pratt said. But officers arrived and arrested Patterson for DUI, hit and run without injury and battery.
Pratt said Patterson was taken into custody for the three charges, which were misdemeanors. Sometime later, when Patterson allegedly failed to appear in court to face the charges, a bench warrant was issued for his arrest.
It was that warrant that got him arrested about noon Wednesday on the Belmont Shore charges.
At a news briefing Wednesday morning, CHP Officer Denise Joslin said the freeway fight apparently occurred about 3:30 p.m. June 12 on the northbound 5 Freeway south of Seventh Street in the East LA Interchange.
Patterson later told ABC7 he was trying to drive away from his assailants but they chased him down and blocked his vehicle.
``As I remember it, I'm trying to get away. They followed me,'' Jerry Patterson told the station. ``It got to a point where they blocked me on the freeway. I couldn't back up, couldn't move forward. The guy got out of the car, and so I got out with him. I wasn't going to let him walk up on me, and I just defended myself to the best of my ability.''
The video showed the suspect Volkswagen's license plate number as 3UGW962, and authorities sought public help to find the suspects. Wednesday night, apparently in response to the publicity, Mendez and Ramirez went to the CHP office to talk with investigators, who arrested them.
When Pool saw the KNBC broadcast of the beating story, he contacted the station and offered his experience of Patterson.
According to an interview he gave with Vikki Vargas on KNBC, Pool saw a car speeding by him and he hopped on his motorcycle, helmet on, and chased after him.
"He was screeching out of control and driving out of control, and scared me," Pool told KNBC. He hopped on his motorcle and chased him to LaVerne, where he demanded Patterson's driver's licensese, which is when he said Patterson hit him in the face. It broke his sunglasses, "cut my eye," and as he bled, witnesses can be seen on yet another smartphone video as bystanders separate the two men and officers arrived.
On Friday, Patterson appeared in court on the Long Beach charges, and was ordered to remain jailed in lieu of $50,000 bail pending his next court appearance July 6.
Anyone with more information on the case was urged to call the CHP Central Area office at (213) 744-2331.
--City News Service contributed to this report.