A D.C. attorney attacked a man with a live power line—downed by Hurricane Irene—during an altercation in which the lawyer used his car as a battering ram against his alleged victim, police said.
Richard J. Bialczak, 32, of the 9000 block of Milestone Way in College Park, is charged with first-degree assault, second-degree assault, malicious destruction of property and two counts of reckless endangerment as a result of the Aug. 28 incident in Silver Spring.
Charging documents filed in Montgomery County District Court describe the following scenario the night after Hurricane Irene tore through the area:
- Shortly before midnight on Sunday, Bialczak was in his 2005 Hyundai Accent, following a man for several blocks in Silver Spring.
- The victim, afraid to go home, kept driving, but was forced to stop near Brewster Avenue's intersection with Worth Avenue, where the roadway was cordoned off for a power line downed during the hurricane.
- In the ensuing confrontation, Bialczak threatened to kill the man and said that, "his boss told him to follow him."
- The man locked himself in his car and called 911. Meanwhile, Bialczak pulled at the door handle, kicked and punched the door and glass, then broke off the antenna and used it to lash the car repeatedly.
- Bialczak then grabbed the downed power line—which was still sparking—threw it onto the hood of the car, got back in his Hyundai and slammed it several times into the front and driver’s side of the victim’s vehicle.
- When police arrived, Bialczak smelled of alcohol and refused to answer their questions. He was "extremely upset and not making sense when he spoke," Officer Paris Capalupo wrote in the charging documents.
- Neighbors who saw the altercation described Bialczak as the aggressor and corroborated the alleged victim’s sequence of events.
At Bialczak's bail review hearing Monday in Montgomery County District Court, attorneys on both sides said they were still trying to piece together what happened.
Howard R. Cheris, Bialczak's attorney, said he works for a Washington, D.C. law firm and has no prior record.
"This is completely inconsistent with his life of good, law-abiding conduct," Charis said. "… It seems fairly bizarre, but I just don’t think we’re at the bottom of this."
Judge Stephen P. Johnson lowered Bialczak's bail from $200,000 to $50,000 and ordered him into alcohol treatment. A preliminary hearing is set for Sept. 23.