BATH TOWNSHIP, Ohio-- Traveling south on Interstate 77, a driver called police saying a gun was pointed at him from another car. The caller said the other driver started tailgating him on the Interstate and admitted when he pulled over to let the other car pass he flashed an obscene gesture at the other driver. That is when he said a gun was pointed at him.
During the 9-1-1 call he gave police a description of a white Cadillac that the caller continued to follow, at speeds that he says at times reached as high as 100 miles per hour. When the Cadillac exited onto Ghent Road, officers pulled him over.
"With I-77 going through Bath we get (road rage calls) from time to time, and on state route 18 but never have we encountered one where we actually recover the gun," said Bath Twp. Police Chief Michael McNeely. Body camera video from one of the officers showed them handcuff 45-year-old Robert Sweatman of Fairlawn.
During their investigation, officers discovered a 9mm handgun in the center console of the car loaded with 11 rounds and one in the chamber.
Sweatman admits that he does not have a permit to carry the weapon, but argued that he never pointed it at the other driver. In a statement to police Sweatman explains that he had a cell phone in his hand and was waiting for a call from his girlfriend. He told officers that he pointed the cell phone at the other driver.
During their investigation officers also discovered a set of brass knuckles in his car.
Sweatman was taken into custody and charged with Improper Handling of a Firearm, a fourth degree felony. "He had access to it within his reach in the car. Again if he is transporting it secure in his trunk not within his immediate reach he would have been OK," said McNeely.
Sweatman was also charged with Aggravated Menacing, a first degree misdemeanor.
"Our advice is, obviously he did the right thing by backing off and calling the police. I would even encourage him not to follow the car," said McNeely, who suggested anyone who feels they are threatened in a road rage incident should let it go and allow the police to handle it.