Doctor accused in Carroll road rage waives case to court

October 5, 2017
Karim Bitar leaves court Thursday after waiving his right to a preliminary hearing. - Karen Mansfield/Observer-Reporter Order a Print

A doctor accused of assaulting a traffic control flagger during an alleged road rage incident in Carroll Township in June waived his case Thursday to Washington County Court.

Karim Bitar, of Rostraver Township, was charged with a string of misdemeanor offenses in connection with a series of incidents June 15 in a construction area where realignment of routes 837 and 88 was underway. Bitar had been scheduled for a preliminary hearing Thursday before District Judge Larry Hopkins.

Police allege Bitar became angry when he was stopped in southbound traffic on Route 88 after a flagger allowed a car in front of him to make a right turn into a grocery store parking lot. Bitar thought traffic was moving again and he could continue south on Route 88, but the flagger made him stop.

The female flagger and Bitar exchanged words after she stopped his vehicle, police said.

Bitar is accused of speeding off at about 50 mph before he came to a second flagger, Felicia Premich, 21, of Acme.

Premich motioned for Bitar to slow down and said, “This is not a racetrack,” according to police.

Bitar stopped, got out of his vehicle, grabbed her wrist and took her phone as she was attempting to use it to photograph his vehicle and license plate, and call police.

Police said a motorist who was stopped behind Bitar’s vehicle aided the flagger. He was carrying a club, and Bitar got back into his vehicle and drove off, police said.

During a police interview the following day, Bitar, who is from Lebanon, said the first flagger used a racial slur, starting the disturbance. He also wanted police to file charges against the man with the club for threatening him, according to police.

Bitar is scheduled to appear in Washington County Court Jan. 3 in front of Judge Gary Gilman.

Karen Mansfield is an award-winning journalist and mom of five who has been a staff writer for the Observer-Reporter since 1988. She enjoys reading, the Pittsburgh Steelers, a good glass of wine and nice people.

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