A 17-year-old has been charged with attacking a man Tuesday night in west suburban Darien in a road rage incident that police said was initially investigated as a possible hate crime.
The boy is charged as a juvenile with five felony counts of aggravated battery for the incident that started about 5:15 p.m., according to the DuPage County state’s attorney’s office. His name was withheld because he is a minor.
Police responded to a call of a battery near Cass Avenue and 69th Street and found 53-year-old Inderjit Singh Mukker in the driver seat of his vehicle with cuts and bruises to his cheeks, according to prosecutors and Darien police.
Mukker and the teenage boy had each pulled over to the side of the road, where the teen got out and punched Mukker in the face, authorities said. The boy then drove away.
Police tracked down the teen at his Willowbrook home, where he punched a police officer in the face when they arrested him, prosecutors. said.
Darien police Chief Ernest Brown said the case was initially investigated as a possible hate crime.
Mukker, a Sikh American, had been driving to a grocery in Darien when someone pulled up alongside his car and began yelling racial slurs, “Terrorist, go back to your country, Bin Laden!” according to a statement from Mark Reading-Smith, spokesman for the Sikh Coalition.
Mukker turned onto Cass Avenue, but was repeatedly cut off by the other driver, according to the statement. He pulled over to the side of the road to let the other vehicle pass, but that driver also pulled over, approached his vehicle and assaulted Mukker, punching him repeatedly in the face.
Mukker was taken to the hospital, where he received six stitches and treatment for lacerations, bruises and swelling. He remained hospitalized as of Tuesday night.
“Regardless of what was said or done by either of the parties allegedly involved in this incident, physical attacks will not be tolerated and will be met with the full force of the law,” State’s Attorney Robert Berlin said in a written statement.
No court date has been set.