Man Accused of Assault With a Live Power Line

While danger from Mother Nature’s fury was blowing away from the region Sunday, police said a man-made act of road rage took place in Silver Spring, Md.

A College Park man was accused of attacking a motorist with a live power line knocked down by Hurricane Irene.  According to authorities, on Sunday a 32-year-old Richard Bialczak tailed a man with his car and then got out and attacked him.

Derek Edwards, 28, was driving home from work when Bialczak's car came up closely behind him.  Edwards said he tried to get away from Bialczak, but the suspect matched him turn for turn, until they reached a downed power line, still charged with electricity, which had been blown into the road by the poweful storm.

Police said Edwards got out of his vehicle to warn Bialczak in the car behind him of the danger.  When he did, authorities allege the College Park man got out of his car and threatened the victim, who quickly retreated back into his car.  Bialczak was heavily intoxicated, according to investigators.

Police said Bialczak then got back into his car and started ramming the victim's vehicle repeatedly, seemingly in an attempt to push the victim's car closer to the downed power line. Police said the suspect then got out and started hammering Edwards' car with both his feet and his fists. In the assault, police said Bialczak tore off the car's antenna and then wrestled off the victim's bumper.

While his car was getting pummeled, Edwards placed a cell phone call to 911.

Authorities said in a final act of aggression, the suspect grabbed hold of the still-sparking power line that Edwards had tried to warn him about and threw it at the victim's car.  Edwards was not hurt.

Police said when they arrived at the scene, Bialczak's behavior had become docile and compliant.  He was taken into custody without incident.

In Montgomery County District Court, Bialczak was served with a raft of charges, including assault, reckless endangerment and malicious destruction of property.  He is due back in court on Sept. 23.

Bialczak's lawyer said the accusations are inconsistent with his client's standing in the community.

Check back with NBC Washington for more updates as they become available.

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