Man pleads guilty to assaulting handicap driver in 2018 Asheville incident

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BUNCOMBE, CO. (WSPA) – A man has pleaded guilty to assaulting a handicap person in a 2018 incident, according to the Buncombe County District Attorney.

Timothy Joseph Gates, 31, of Waterloo, Iowa was sentenced to 20-33 months in prison after pleading guilty to Felony Assault on a Handicapped Person on Sep. 3, 2019.

On  Dec. 8, 2018 at Asheville Police responded to a reported motor vehicle crash at 382 Long Shoals Road.

Both the crash and assault were captured on the victim’s vehicle dash cam, according to the district attorney.

On the video, the motorist victim turns right onto Long Shoals Road from Schenck Parkway in Biltmore Park.

The victim then collides with a vehicle operated by Gates, officials said.

After the collision, the victim stops his vehicle, exits, and waits in the roadway in front of his vehicle to speak with the defendant.

The video clearly shows that the victim is disabled in his right arm and also suffers from a mobility impairment, the district attorney said.

Gates is reportedly seen in the video getting out of his vehicle and charging towards the victim. Officials say Gates is seen punching the victim in the head, face, and body.

Gates was initially charged with the offense of misdemeanor simple assault; the District Attorney’s office upgraded the charges to a felony.

“I became personally involved with this case after the victim’s mother contacted my office seeking an enhanced charge based on her son’s disability. Upon looking into the matter further and determining that there was clear, indisputable evidence of the disability, I authorized the felony assault charge,“ District Attorney Todd Williams said. “I appreciate that Mr. Gates accepted responsibility by pleading guilty without any plea negotiation for these malicious and incomprehensible acts and I thank the court for imposing this active sentence.”

The District Attorney’s office is not publicizing the victim’s name and other personal information.

Copyright 2019 Nexstar Broadcasting, Inc. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.

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