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Tacoma Man, 71, Charged With Striking, Harassing Woman Near Point Defiance Ferry

William Zesbaugh rear-ended the woman, then struck her with a steering wheel lock from his trunk, prosecutors say. He also allegedly said to the victim and her female passenger: "I can tell you’re lesbians. I should beat the crap out of you.”

 

Pierce County Prosecutor Mark Lindquist on Wednesday charged William Zesbaugh, 71, with second-degree assault and malicious harassment for assaulting and threatening a woman after rear-ending her vehicle Monday. The defendant was arraigned and bail was set at $10,000.

Around noon Monday, the victim and a female passenger were driving north on Pearl Street towards the ferry terminal when the defendant, angry that the victim had cut him off in traffic, started following her. He pulled behind the victim's vehicle, following closely and honking his horn. The victim stopped at a stop sign and the defendant's car collided into the back of her vehicle. 

When the victim approached the defendant’s car and asked for his insurance information, he went to his trunk and took out a “Club” steering wheel lock. Realizing he was going to strike her, the victim held up her arm to block the assault. The defendant managed to strike her once more before a ferry employee intervened.

After being confronted by the ferry employee and another witness, the defendant returned the weapon to his trunk. The defendant told the victim and her passenger, "I can tell you’re lesbians. I should beat the crap out of you.” He then fled the scene, stating, "I’m gonna get you for this" as he passed the victim’s vehicle.

Ruston and Tacoma Police officers spotted the defendant, who was stopped at a red light, and blocked his vehicle. As he was being escorted to a patrol car, the defendant told the arresting officer, “I should have hit her lot harder if I’m going to get in trouble for it.” The victim went to a hospital, where she was treated for a deep gash several inches long to her forearm.

Charges are only allegations and a person is presumed innocent unless he or she is proven guilty beyond a reasonable doubt.

- Pierce County Prosecutor's Office

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