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Before L.A. driver’s alleged ‘reign of terror,’ he was accused of violence, threats of murder

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Before he was arrested and charged this week in what prosecutors described as a “reign of terror” on Southern California roadways, the driver seen on video attacking other vehicles with a pipe had a history of enraged outbursts, vicious threats and domestic violence, according to authorities and court documents.

For weeks, the man was described only as the driver of a black Tesla, his violent encounters captured on dash-cam video taken by victims who watched in horror as he charged and hit their vehicles with a pipe.

“The victims in this case were reasonably terrified by what they experienced, but this reign of terror ends today,” Los Angeles County Dist. Atty. George Gascón said Tuesday in a statement announcing the charges.

Nathaniel Radimak, 36, was charged with four counts of assault by means of force likely to produce great bodily injury, four counts of criminal threats and one felony count of vandalism, along with two misdemeanor counts of vandalism and one misdemeanor count of elder abuse. He pleaded not guilty.

In June, he threatened a 74-year-old woman outside a doctor’s office in Glendale, then in November he threatened a woman at a storage facility in Atwater Village, prosecutors said. That same day, he allegedly got out of his Tesla, threatened a woman on a freeway and broke one of her headlights.

On Jan. 11, prosecutors said, he struck another vehicle with a pipe on the 2 Freeway near York Boulevard, which was caught on dash-cam video. He is also accused of following a car from a Pasadena mall later that day, nearly hitting it with his vehicle, then striking it with a metal pole.

Radimak also faces drug distribution and battery charges in a separate case connected to an alleged road rage incident in Hollywood in January 2020; when his car was searched, steroids and $30,000 were found, prosecutors said.

Even before Radimak was charged in the road rage incidents, a woman he dated said he was prone to violent outbursts. He hit her several times and threatened to kill her and her family, according to a 15-page application for a restraining order she filed last year in Los Angeles County Superior Court.

The Times is withholding the name of the woman for her safety.

While they were together, the woman said, Radimak threatened her with a baseball bat and hit the outside of her house during one of his outbursts, according to court documents.

One day, he snapped and swung the bat at her face when she tried to talk to him, she said.

“I told him to leave and he wouldn’t,” she wrote.

He threw a bucket of water at her, then a milk crate, she said.

The woman’s aunt told Radimak to leave, she said, but he ran into the house, threatened her family and tried to choke and punch her.

“He said he’ll beat me up and that no one will recognize me and that I will make headlines,” the woman wrote. “He kept repeating that until he got an Uber and left.”

Radimak returned that night and threatened her again, the woman alleged, forcing himself into her room and refusing to leave. He also punched holes in a door and threatened her in front of her family, according to court documents.

In another episode, Radimak came home upset about an encounter he had at Best Buy. He blamed her, according to the woman, and tried to choke her when she went to her room. Radimak head-butted her and made her bleed from her eyebrow, according to the woman. He tried to kick her but missed, then tried to choke her and banged her head against a refrigerator, the woman said.

She blacked out and woke up on the floor, shaking, with her vision blurry, according to her filing.

She tried to call 911 but didn’t have the strength to unlock her phone or push the buttons, she said. He continued to yell at her, and she waited until he calmed down to take herself to a hospital, the woman said.

“I was too scared to file a report with regards of retaliation,” she wrote.

In September 2019, Radimak threatened to attack the woman during a friend’s wedding she was going to officiate, according to court documents. He picked her up and drove erratically to a supermarket parking lot, where he seemed angry and was waiting to hit someone with a tire tool, the woman alleged. She texted one of his friends for help, she said, and Radimak threatened to hit her with the tool.

She kept quiet that day because he threatened to ruin the wedding, according to court documents.

“He calmed down and then got upset again and punched my stomach and paced around,” she wrote.

After they broke up, he sent threatening emails from multiple accounts that said, “I should be dead before he comes after me,” the woman wrote.

Radimak said he was tracking her moves and knew that she was staying at her parents’ home, the woman alleged, adding that he threatened to stab her and her current partner.

“A massacre is coming,” Radimak wrote to her in a message, according to the woman.

Radimak took a screenshot of a photo she posted on her Facebook account showing her and her new partner, and wrote the word “kill” with arrows pointing to her face, the woman said.

In March, she said, he wrote to her, “My body will be floating at the bottom of the ocean floor dissolving.”

Radimak is under investigation by police in Los Angeles and Pasadena, as well as the California Highway Patrol. He is scheduled to return to court Feb. 14 and remains held in preventive detention, deemed by a judge to be a flight risk and a danger to the community.

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