One charged, warrant issued for second in Atlanta trucker beating case

| Monday, July 11, 2005

One teen has been arrested and a warrant has been issued for a second in connection with an attack on a trucker in Atlanta.

In the early hours of Tuesday, July 5, trucker Rafael Diaz Jr. was traveling eastbound on Donald Lee Hollowell Highway when a bottle rocket was shot into his cab and hit him in the head, Atlanta police told news Web site accessnorthga.com.

Atlanta Police Department spokesperson told the Atlanta Journal-Constitution that a warrant has been issued for an unnamed 16-year-old individual, charging the person with felonies of terrorist threats and acts, and robbery. On Thursday, July 7, police arrested Anthony Boyd Jr. and charged him with reckless conduct, releasing him on a $1,000 bond later that evening.

According to the Journal-Constitution, Diaz was in stable condition on Wednesday, July 6, after undergoing seven hours of brain surgery for his injuries. A representative for Grady Memorial Hospital told Land Line that Diaz was still listed as a patient in the hospital, but was unable to give any updated information on his condition because of privacy laws.

According to media reports, eight to 11 juveniles shot fireworks and threw rocks at Diaz as he drove his truck through the area. One of the teens fired a bottle rocket into the cab, hitting Diaz below his left eye and shattering the bone.

The shock caused Diaz to lose control of his truck – and the 7,500 gallons of diesel in its tanker – which crossed the westbound lane of traffic, smashed a fire hydrant, hit a curb, flipped on its side and slid down an embankment into an apartment complex parking lot.

Firefighters evacuated the apartments near where the truck careened to a stop. Only about 20 gallons of fuel leaked from the truck, and a second tanker was brought in to remove the damaged rig’s payload.

After surgery, Diaz told family members that the teens punched him repeatedly in the back of the head and were demanding cash, the Atlanta Journal-Constitution reported.

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