VAN NUYS (CNS) - A Sylmar man accused of rear-ending a Filipino family at a North Hollywood drive-thru -- then uttering racial slurs and physically assaulting the victims -- was in custody today after missing an earlier court hearing, prompting the issuance of an arrest warrant.
According to the District Attorney's Office, 31-year-old Nicholas Weber was expected to appear in a Van Nuys courtroom Wednesday afternoon to be arraigned on a felony charge of battery with serious bodily injury and a misdemeanor count of battery. Both charges include a hate-crime allegation, according to the criminal complaint.
The charges stem from a May 13 confrontation in the drive-thru line of a McDonald's restaurant in North Hollywood, where Weber allegedly rear- ended a car occupied by Nerissa Roque, 47, and Patricia Roque, 19. In a confrontation largely caught on cell phone video, the driver -- uttering anti- Asian slurs -- got out of his vehicle and approached the women, threatening to "kill" them, according to the family.
The women called police, and while waiting for them to arrive, Nerissa Roque's husband, 62-year-old Gabriel Roque, arrived at the scene. Weber then allegedly attacked Nerissa and Gabriel in a physical altercation that left Gabriel Roque with injuries including a broken rib, according to the family. That confrontation was also caught on cell phone video.
Weber was not jailed after the confrontation, but he was later charged and scheduled to be arraigned June 8, but he failed to appear, prompting a judge to issue a bench warrant for his arrest, according to the District Attorney's Office.
The family and leaders of various Filipino immigrant-support groups held a rally outside the District Attorney's Office location in Van Nuys earlier this month, pushing for a full prosecution of Weber.
"This was the most traumatic experience of our lives. I feared that the suspect would kill us because of what we looked like -- because we are Asian," Patricia Roque said in a statement.
"We are demanding a full investigation by the Los Angeles Police Department and demand that this case be prosecuted to the fullest extent of the law."