An Illinois college student has been charged with aggravated battery after allegedly yelling at a police officer about the new coronavirus and spitting in his face.
Anthony Ponzi, 21, was approached by police following a Chicago car crash around 7 a.m. on Saturday. The other driver told police he’d been driving down a one-way road when he saw Ponzi’s Jeep come rushing towards him from the wrong direction, according to a police report obtained by the Chicago Sun-Times.
After striking the other driver, Ponzi allegedly got out of his car and kicked him in the thigh. When police arrived, he was “foaming profusely at the mouth” as he yelled at the officer and the other driver, according to the police report.
When the officer tried to check Ponzi’s eyes for signs he’d been drinking, Ponzi allegedly shouted “Corona, OK!” and coughed in the officer’s face, according to the report.
The officer tried to dodge the attack by “tilting his head to the side and taking a step back,” according to the police report.
But he was too slow, and “immediately felt particles of saliva/breath landing in [his] face area,” according to the Sun-Times’s report.
When the officer tried to handcuff Ponzi, he allegedly yelled “I’m resisting” and had to be forced to the ground.
Ponzi was charged with aggravated battery of a police officer, resisting arrest, driving under the influence, driving the wrong way on a one-way street and driving without valid insurance, according to the Sun-Times.
He was taken to the hospital, but told hospital staff he did not have the coronavirus, a police spokesperson told the Chicago Tribune.
Ponzi is a sophomore in college and had no prior criminal record. In court, his attorney noted that he is undergoing mental health and substance abuse treatment, according to the Tribune.
He was released on his own recognizance, the Tribune reports.
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