Photo radar flash enrages driver

Call it photo radar rage.

City police say a 24-year-old Winnipeg man got so angry when he got caught speeding in a school zone last month he allegedly threatened to kill the operator of the photo radar vehicle and tampered with its photo equipment, giving the victim quite a scare.

“By no means are these types of actions going to be tolerated. By no means should the operator be subjected to this type of behaviour,” said Winnipeg police spokesman Const. Jason Michalyshen. “I’m not aware of an incident that has gone to this degree (in the past).”

Police said the incident happened on Hamilton Avenue near Knox Street — in a school zone outside John Taylor Collegiate in Assiniboia — the evening of Dec. 17.

The male suspect sped past the mobile photo radar unit and saw the flash of its camera, which recorded the vehicle’s licence plate, in the darkness, police allege.

That’s when the male realized he would receive a speeding ticket. Instead of continuing on his way and waiting for the ticket to eventually arrive in the mail, the male allegedly exploded into a fit of rage and turned around, police said.

Police allege he confronted the operator, a 31-year-old man seated in the Dodge Caliber, aggressively attempted to open the locked doors, and pounded his fists on the windows and kicked at the doors.

The male allegedly threatened to kill the operator, who is a sworn peace officer, and unsuccessfully tried to tamper with photo radar equipment attached to the vehicle’s grill, police said.

Eventually, the suspect fled, police said.

Michalyshen said there is no indication the suspect was intoxicated.

The operator, who’s employed by ACS Public Sector Solutions, wasn’t injured and the vehicle and equipment didn’t sustain any damage, Michalyshen said.

ACS Public Sector Solutions declined comment.

Investigators in the central traffic unit didn’t have too much difficulty tracking down a suspect because the speeding vehicle’s licence plate was photographed moments before the male’s alleged outburst.

“No one wishes to get a ticket … but our message is abide by the rules of the road and slow your speeds down,” Michalyshen said.

Police identified a suspect and made contact with a male, who turned himself in to officers Sunday.

Police said a 24-year-old man faces charges of uttering threats to kill and intimidation of a justice official.

He was released on a promise to appear in court, meaning the charges haven’t been formally laid. For that reason, police didn’t release his name.