Disabled Iraq Veteran Attacked During Road Rage Incident

8:52 AM, Jun 25, 2012   |    comments
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JACKSONVILLE, Fla. (WTLV) -- A disabled veteran was attacked in a road rage incident on the Westside Saturday and a teenager was arrested on battery charges.

50-year old Robert Dodd lives in Baker County. The single father of two walks with a cane, injured by mortar attacks while in the Navy in Iraq in 2004. He was driving his pickup east on Normandy Blvd. near Yellow Water Road when a young driver pulled out in front of him and he had to slam on brakes.

Dodd says he almost ran into the small car that pulled out in front of his pickup while he was driving just under 60 miles per hour. He said if he would have hit the car with his pickup, the driver could have been seriously hurt. Dodd said he then tried to go around the car.

"When I tried to go around him, he swerved over and wouldn't let me pass, then he slammed on his brakes," said Dodd.

Later Dodd said the young driver stopped in the middle of Normandy, so he then pulled over to the side of the road to go around him.

Angry, Dodd first hollered at the boy, "What are you doing?" That is when the boys mother approached him from a convenience store across the street. Dodd says she was yelling at him and he got out of his truck.

"I thought I would explain to her how her son was driving and she would get on to him."

18-year old Casey Rowland then approached. Dodd said Rowland threatened to beat him up.

"I said buddy I am disabled, I have a bad heart, bad knees, and a bad back, you ain't got no fight here."

Dodd says Rowland then hit him upside the ear, busting the blood vessels. "Before I could pull my glasses off, he hit me in the face again, I said let me get my glasses off."

Dodd claims he was hit several times, before a nearby surveyor approached and yelled at the suspect to stop. Dodd said the lens of his glasses was lost. Dodd said during the tussle he thought he might have a heart attack. Dodd added that during the tussle he pulled Rowland's shirt over his head and just tried to stay on his feet.

Dodd left the scene and shortly returned and called police. Rowland was arrested by police and charged with battery.

Dodd, who remembers a sign at his base in Iraq that said "complacency kills" , partly blames himself for getting out of his truck in the first place. He says after losing two sisters to car accidents 29 days apart in 2001, he just wanted to make things right and urge the driver to be safer.

"I got complacent with the situation, because I felt with the mother there , that nothing bad was going to happen. I never thought something like this would happen. I worried the driver might have a gun but when I saw his mother there I thought everything would be ok."

As for the other side of the story, 18-year old Casey Rowland told First Coast News that he had never been arrested before this. Rowland said Dodd swung at him first and he was defending himself. Rowland's mother, Amanda Cook, also says Dodd was verbally abusive to her and her son, calling her names.

Cook is upset with police, saying her son should not have been arrested. Cook says witnesses across the street at a convenience store saw what happened and support their story. She said they will testify to that and she is looking forward to their day in court

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