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Charges filed in aggravated assault on I-78

Lehigh County District Attorney Jim Martin and Pennsylvania State Police Capt. Joseph F. Sokolofski, Troop M, have announced charges were filed regarding an aggravated assault that occurred March 7 on I-78, Weisenberg Township.

According to Martin and Sokolofski in a March 26 news release, Justin Colin Mitman, 31, of Coplay, was charged with aggravated assault, attempts to cause serious bodily injury or causes injury with extreme indifference, a felony of the first degree; aggravated assault, attempts to or causing bodily injury with a deadly weapon, a felony of the second degree; recklessly endangering another person and simple assault, both misdemeanors of the second degree; and summary charges of reckless driving, careless driving, operating privilege suspended/revoked, sixth and substantial offender, driver’s license suspended or revoked for driving under the influence third/or subsequent offense, driving at safe speed and following too closely.

According to the information provided, State Police Troop M, Fogelsville, received a 911 call from a woman at approximately 1:35 p.m. March 7.

She told police while driving on I-78 West in Weisenberg Township, her vehicle was intentionally rammed by the driver of a Toyota pickup truck.

State police say the woman’s car had heavy damage to both the rear and front.

The woman said while driving with her two young children as passengers, the driver of a silver Toyota truck purposefully hit her car, causing it to strike a concrete barrier and metal guide rail.

The woman and her children were taken to the hospital for treatment.

The woman said she didn’t know the driver but described the truck as having large red-rimmed lights hanging off the front bumper.

Troopers found a passenger-side headlight and two red-rimmed lights at the scene.

Police say before the incident on I-78, the same Toyota pickup was spotted driving erratically at 1 p.m. at the Wawa, 7572 Schantz Road, Upper Macungie Township, where both the woman and her husband, who was driving a separate vehicle, had stopped to get gasoline.

Police say video surveillance shows that during that incident, the driver of the pickup was allegedly speeding through the parking lot, stopped abruptly next to the woman and her husband and yelled at them while acting “extremely erratic.”

As the woman left the store and began driving north on Route 100, police say the driver of the pickup allegedly followed her.

The woman said as the driver of the pickup continued to follow her onto the interstate, she tried to increase her speed to get away but he continued behind her.

After her car was struck near Exit 45 by the pickup, the woman called 911 for help.

The driver of the truck continued following her, ramming her car again and causing it to spin out and hit the wall and guide rail.

The woman said the driver stopped his truck and yelled at her before driving westbound on I-78.

State police say they received numerous calls that identified the Toyota pickup driver as Mitman, who was arrested March 7 by South Whitehall Township police for two other unrelated crimes.

At the time of Mitman’s arrest, they found a silver Toyota pickup matching the same description provided by the woman in the I-78 assault.

The truck was heavily damaged and was missing portions of red-rimmed headlights.

Police say Mitman also matched the description of the driver identified by the woman.