A 24-year-old Ocklawaha man was arrested recently after witnesses came forward to confirm he spit on another man during a traffic dispute earlier this month.
The victim told a Marion County sheriff’s deputy he was pulling his car out of his driveway on July 9 when he saw Cody Austin Newman speeding down the road. He said Newman pulled door-to-door with him and intentionally spit an unknown substance at him through their windows.
The deputy spoke with Newman, who said the victim intentionally backed his vehicle out of the driveway to block his path on the road. Newman said he and the victim yelled back and forth while they were in their vehicles. He denied intentionally spitting at the victim and said he had some cereal and cookies prior to the incident. Newman said he didn’t recall any bits of cereal coming out of his mouth during the argument, but it was possible, according to the sheriff’s office report.
The deputy determined probable cause didn’t exist due to the lack of an independent witness and the inability to determine who was the primary aggressor, the report said.
On July 18, the victim told the deputy he had spoken with a neighbor and her grandson, who told him they were outside at the time and saw Newman spit on the victim. The deputy spoke with the witnesses the next day and received sworn written statements from both saying they observed Newman intentionally spit at the victim, according to the report.
The victim’s neighbor said she was mowing her yard when she saw Newman spit at the victim. Her grandson said he was shooting at his basketball hoop when he also observed Newman intentionally lean back and split on the victim. They said they didn’t speak to the victim until several days after the incident, when he reached out and asked them what they saw, the report said.
After speaking with the witnesses, the deputy determined there was now probable cause to charge Newman with simple battery. Newman was taken to the Marion County Jail, where he was released on $1,000 bond.