Tacoma man, 72, pleads guilty to beating woman in road-rage incident

Staff writerNovember 19, 2013 

A 72-year-old Tacoma man pleaded guilty Tuesday in Pierce County Superior Court to second-degree assault and malicious harassment in a road-rage incident with gay-bashing overtones.

Judge Thomas Larkin sentenced William Zesbaugh to six months in jail.

Zesbaugh was arrested in January after a traffic dispute turned violent on North Pearl Street in Tacoma.

According to court records, Zesbaugh was driving near the state ferry terminal when a car carrying two women pulled in front of him.

Thinking the women had cut him off, Zesbaugh began following their car very closely and honking his horn. He ran into the back of the women's car when it stopped for a stop sign, the records show.

"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," court records show. "Realizing he was going to strike her the victim held up her arm to block the assault."

Zesbaugh hit her at least once before a state ferry worker intervened, the records show. The woman suffered a deep gash in her forearm.

He then put the "Club" back into his trunk before telling the woman, "I know you're lesbians. I should beat the crap out of you," the records show.

One of the women is a lesbian, the other - who was hit by Zebaugh - straight and married.

In court Tuesday, Zesbaugh said, "I just lost it."

Larkin told the defendant he has "issues you need to work on" then ordered corrections officers to take him away.


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