Caught in the snarled traffic caused by the deadly truss-crane collapse Feb. 16, a road-rage confrontation near downtown Toledo turned terrifying for Micheal and Sherri Mulkey.
As Toledo's eyes remained focused on twisted wreckage at the new I-280 bridge, police seized more than a half-dozen guns from an East Toledo home and a city worker was sent to jail after he pulled a 45-caliber handgun on the Mulkeys - training its laser sight at their heads.
"I'm on the phone screaming at the  operator: 'You have to get here, I don't know what he's going to do,'" recalled Mrs. Mulkey, a video store manager.
The case came to a close this week when Robert Eye, 25, of 1320 Mott Ave. was sentenced to 70 days in work-release and fined $2,000 for two counts of aggravated menacing.
Longtime Toledo Municipal Judge Francis X. Gorman also placed Mr. Eye on five years probation, the longest he's ever handed out, prohibiting Mr. Eye from possessing firearms during that period.
"I don't know what he was so mad about to begin with," Judge Gorman said. "What he did was such an overreaction to what [the victims] did."
Still, he noted that Mr. Eye had no prior criminal activity, and psychiatric and other exams revealed nothing unusual. Mr. Eye, an environmental services technician with the city, was scheduled to begin work-release yesterday.
The confrontation began shortly after 5 p.m. Feb. 16 as motorists trying to cross the Martin Luther King, Jr., Bridge toward East Toledo continued to back up as rescue workers and investigators converged on the site where a 900-ton truss crane collapsed. Four workers were killed and four others were hurt.
The Mulkeys, wanting to survey the damage, were caught in the traffic. "I think a lot of people were heading over there," Mrs. Mulkey said.
Trying to merge into a lane along Summit Street, Mr. Mulkey motioned to another motorist, Mr. Eye, to let him in. But Mr. Eye refused, so Mr. Mulkey moved forward a short distance and another motorist allowed him into the lane.
After crossing the bridge, both Mr. Mulkey and Mr. Eye turned onto Front Street toward the accident site. Moments later, Mr. Mulkey told his wife that the same motorist had pointed a handgun at him. She called 911. Mr. Eye turned onto Maryland Avenue toward his home, and the Mulkeys turned onto Elgin Avenue, a parallel street, to get the license plate number. "This is where people think I'm crazy," Mrs. Mulkey said. "But the way I [see] it, if he does this to me and didn't pull the trigger, what's to say he wouldn't pull the trigger next time?"
At Mott and Elgin, the Mulkeys caught up with Mr. Eye, who again turned the gun toward them, this time its laser dot hitting Mrs. Mulkey.
When police arrived at his home, Mr. Eye said he only pointed a finger at the couple, and he allowed them to search his house.
Officers then seized several firearms, including the 45-caliber handgun with the bottom-mounted laser sight.
Contact Robin Erb at:
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