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Son of Will County Board member Wilhelmi charged in road rage incident

Alex S. Wilhelmi

Alex S. Wilhelmi

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Updated: July 3, 2012 1:06AM

The son of a Will County Board member is accused of whipping a man with a belt Sunday in Joliet in a road rage incident police said was fueled by a spilled soda.

It all started shortly before 10:30 p.m. when a silver Pontiac Grand Am driven by 23-year-old Manuel Borrego cut off a blue Saturn SUV near Marion Street and Raynor Avenue, Joliet Police Chief Mike Trafton said.

A passenger in Borrego’s Grand Am threw a 44-ounce soda cup into the SUV, Trafton said, spilling it on the three people inside. The SUV left, he said, but the Grand Am followed it to the 800 block of Dellmar Avenue.

Borrego cut off the SUV again, Trafton said, and the SUV rear-ended his Grand Am. The SUV driver tried to speed away, but Trafton said he didn’t realize a 19-year-old passenger had hopped out.

Alex S. Wilhelmi, 21, began whipping the 19-year-old with a belt, police said, while Borrego and 22-year-old Daniel G. Duffy punched and kicked him.

Residents saw the fight and called 911. One man reportedly came out of his house and used a baseball bat to fend off the three men from the Grand Am. Another neighbor pulled a car behind the Grand Am to keep it from driving away.

But Trafton said Duffy and Borrego ran toward that car. Duffy reached in the window and punched the driver in the face, broke the key off the ignition and began pulling on the door frame.

Police finally arrived and arrested all three. The victim and the driver who blocked the Grand Am suffered “minor injuries,” police said, but weren’t hospitalized.

Wilhelmi, Borrego and Duffy all appeared Monday before Judge James Egan. He set bail at $2,000 for Wilhelmi, who faces one misdemeanor battery count, and $7,500 for Borrego and Duffy, who each face two.

Records show Borrego also collected several traffic tickets for reckless driving, driving without insurance, driving through stop signs and failing to use his turn signal.

Wilhelmi’s father, Will County Board member Steve Wilhelmi, also attended the hearing. He told the judge he planned to hire a private attorney. Later, he said he still had no idea what led to his son’s arrest, only that the incident involved “some kind of road rage and a fight.”

Steve Wilhelmi is the brother of former state Sen. A.J. Wilhelmi.

A spokesman for the Will County State’s Attorney said a special prosecutor will be sought to handle the case once officials confirm the family relationship.

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