OSCEOLA COUNTY, Fla. - A local Muslim woman believes she was the victim of a hate crime and targeted in a road rage incident because of what she was wearing.
Osceola County deputies are now looking for the driver of a black Ford pick-up truck who may have tried to veer into the woman's car, chased her for 20 miles and mocked her headscarf while her two young children were in the car.
Rose, who asked Local 6 not to use her last name out of fear for her safety, said the incident happened last Friday around 10:45 a.m. She had just turned onto Poinciana Boulevard from 192 when the truck crossed a double yellow line to pass her. Rose said when she and the driver made eye contact, things quickly escalated.
"His face went from a smirk to pure anger and he swerved his car into my lane," said Rose.
Rose said he continued to swerve into her lane two more times, eventually pushing her car off the road into some gravel. He then followed her for the next 20 miles.
"Every advance that I tried to make to get away from him, he wouldn't let me," Rose said.
At one point, Rose says, he mocked her headscarf.
"He grabs a red flannel shirt from his passenger seat and he takes it, he wraps it around his head, holds it under his chin and starts wiggling his head like this, obviously to imitate my head scarf," said Rose.
Rose said she called 911 and was on the phone with a dispatcher for nearly 15 minutes before a deputy met her at the intersection of Cypress Parkway and Marigold Avenue.
"I have my 4-year-old screaming in the car, my 1-year-old screaming in the car and I'm actually screaming at this point to the 911 dispatcher you know, 'help me, where's the police?'" said Rose.
Rose said the deputy drove right by the truck without pulling him over and now that driver remains on the run.
Rose describes the truck as a black, single cab Ford pickup with a heavily rusted hood. It had a black plastic toolbox in the back with the word "Delta" written in red.
Rose said the driver was a light-skinned male with brown hair, in his mid 30s.
An Osceola County spokeswoman told Local 6 they are actively investigating the incident as an aggravated assault case. However, until they identify a suspect and speak with him, they won't know whether it was a hate crime.
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