Patch editor Daryl Nerl contributed reporting used in this story.
A Fanwood man accused of firing a gun into a Bethlehem woman’s car as they both drove along Interstate 78 in Pennsylvania pleaded guilty to aggravated assault, reckless endangerment, criminal mischief, possession of an instrument of a crime and firearms not to be carried on Wednesday, according to online reports.
Lee Edwin Kish, 65, was originally charged with multiple counts, including attempted criminal homicide for the March 13 incident along eastbound I-78 in Lower Saucon Township, but negotiated a plea deal, according to a report on LehighValleyLive.com.
The report adds that the judge revoked Kish's $100,000 bail (which had a 10 percent option), against the urging of the Fanwood man's lawyer, claiming his client is suicidal and not mentally prepared to return to jail.
According to the arrest affidavit, Kish shot through his own driver’s side view mirror when he fired a bullet, which pierced the rear passenger side door of the victim’s car.
The damage to the mirror, which police were able to observe in Kish’s car, was consistent with a shot fired from the driver’s side seat area, the affidavit said.
The affidavit also said:
- Kish told police that he was the victim in the incident, though he admitted that he never called police to report what had happened.
- Kish said he was driving home from Upper Macungie Township when his car was passed by two vehicles that were weaving in and out of traffic. After they passed, he said, he noticed that his mirror had been damaged.
- The victim, who state police had identified as a 39-year-old Bethlehem woman, told troopers that she heard glass break and a loud bang as she passed a silver colored sport utility vehicle near Exit 71 of the interstate.
- She said she first encountered the silver SUV not long after entering I-78 at the Route 412 entrance. As she approached a hill leading to the Route 33 interchange, she encountered a tractor-trailer in the right lane and the silver SUV traveling at 40 mph and weaving next to the big rig.
- The victim said she followed for some time but the slow-moving traffic was creating a backlog behind her. At one point, she said, her car was nearly struck from behind because of the slow speed of the traffic in front of her.
- She then blew her horn at the silver SUV. The driver gave her the “middle finger” and then drove off “at a high rate of speed.” The SUV then pulled in front of a tractor-trailer and slowed down.
- The victim continued to drive at 65 mph and was passing the SUV when she noticed that the driver’s side window was down. She also noticed that the driver’s side view mirror was intact.
- The victim was about three-quarters past the SUV when she heard the loud bang. She tried to slow down to get behind the SUV, but the SUV also slowed down and would not let her get behind him.
- The victim then passed the SUV, pulled into the right lane and then the highway’s right berm. The SUV got into the left lane and sped past her. At this point, she noticed that the side view mirror had been damaged.
- The victim then got back onto the roadway to get a partial license plate number and descriptions of the vehicle and the driver.
- Thanks to those descriptions, police were able to track the vehicle to Kish in Fanwood.
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