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Manteca street worker clipped by mirror by irate motorist
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Manteca Police detain Benjamin Viss, 32, for allegedly striking a City of Manteca street worker with his vehicle’s mirror. - photo by GLENN KAHL
A Manteca municipal street worker was clipped by a truck mirror while directing traffic at a paving project on the east Highway 99 Frontage Road Wednesday afternoon as he attempted to stop a motorist driving on the wrong side of the roadway.

The 47-year-old member of the street paving crew told Manteca Police he was attempting to wave off the approaching motorist who continued to drive toward him.  As he got closer the worker stepped in front of the oncoming truck in an effort to stop the vehicle, but had to jump back out of the way.

As the truck passed, he was reportedly hit with the mirror.   He said he struck out at the truck with a broom he was using on the job as the driver allegedly gave him a double bird finger salute.  Other city workers confirmed the truck driver drove past the crewman and into the nearby Southland Mobile Home Park and went to his trailer.

The street crew said that the motorist walked back out toward the street with a baseball bat in his hands as if he were going to continue his alleged vehicle assault face to face but decided to return to his mobile home.

Manteca Police arrived on the scene and went to the man’s residence where they found the truck and the suspect, however an older man at the door, said to be his father,  claimed that he had been driving, not his 32-year-old son.

The son, Benjamin Viss, 32, came out of the trailer and became confrontational with two officers who were forced to draw a taser on the suspect to take him into custody on a charge of battery.  

Officers had brought the victim back into the park in a patrol car to identify which of the two men standing outside the trailer had actually struck him in the arm with the truck.  Viss was later released on a citation at the police department and scheduled to appear in court at a later date.

Police noted that road closure signs had been posted on Southland Road, west of Cottage Avenue to keep westbound traffic from entering the repaving construction area on the Frontage Road.  Following the incident an officer parked down the roadway from the sign and cones for a few minutes and witnessed four motorists ignore the road closure warning.

Police spokesman Rex Osborn cautioned drivers to be aware of street workers on the roadway within cone zones who continually face serious injury or even death by inattentive motorists entering construction areas.

On Monday members of the emergency response CERT team will be called out to direct traffic during the remainder of the repaving project in an effort to protect the construction crew.