Man armed with ice pick yelled racial slurs at driver of motorcycle with Mexican flag on it in unincorporated Gurnee, police say

UNINCORPORATED GURNEE, Ill. (WLS) -- A man from unincorporated Gurnee is accused of yelling racial slurs at a man driving a motorcycle with a Mexican flag on it and running at him with an ice pick during a traffic altercation, the Lake County Sheriff's Office said.

The victim was riding his motorcycle northbound on Delaney Road in the area of Sunset Avenue in unincorporated Gurnee when the driver of a Hyundai SUV abruptly changed lanes and cut off the motorcycle driver, the sheriff's office said.

The driver of the Hyundai, identified by authorities as 67-year-old Joseph Zens, pulled onto West Meyer Road and got out of his vehicle and the motorcycle driver attempted to obtain the license plate number.

Zens yelled anti-Mexican slurs and told the victim to go back to his country, the sheriff's office said. He then got an ice pick from his vehicle and chased the victim with it.

The victim was able to get back on the motorcycle and drive away before being struck with the ice pick, the sheriff's office said. The motorcycle driver then called 911.

Zens was arrested at his home and is charged with a felony hate crime as well as a misdemeanor charge of aggravated assault. He is being held at Lake County Jail on $15,000 bond.

"This type of hateful conduct will never be tolerated in Lake County," said Lake County (Ill.) State's Attorney Michael Nerheim.

"Hate has absolutely no place in Lake County," said Lake County (Ill.) Sheriff John Idleburg. "Being victimized because of the color of one's skin, ancestry, religion, sexual orientation, or any other protected classification is completely unacceptable. We will always be there to stand up for the victims of crime."
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