Groveland man claims person pulled machete on him in road rage incident

A man in Lake County is under arrest for threatening a person with a machete, authorities said.  Groveland police officers say the whole thing is believed to be a road rage incident.  

The initial encounter between the two involved happened in Clermont near the State Road 50 and U.S. Highway 27 merge ending roughly eight miles away at the Shell Gas Station on East Broad St. in Groveland.

The victim told Groveland Police a man, later identified as Abel Cuenca, 56, had been following him aggressively since the merge, so he pulled off at the gas station because he felt it was a safe place to stop. Groveland Police say security footage at the gas station showed what happened next.

"They saw that the suspect exited his vehicle and walked towards the victim with what appeared to be a machete. The suspect got about halfway to the victim’s car and then the victim drove away," said Groveland Emergency Services spokesperson Sarah Panko.

The victim claimed that on Jan. 27 he had to slam on his brakes and swerve to avoid an accident, but Cuenca told a different story to police. He said he felt like he wasn’t being allowed to merge.

"After a thorough investigation, detectives are able to identify the suspect’s vehicle and the suspect and later made an arrest," said Panko.

Groveland Police say Cuenca told them specific details that matched the victim’s statement. He also told police he told the victim he was going to cut his head off.

Cuenca is charged with aggravated assault."We encourage all of our residents not to engage in road rage and if you believe someone is following you call 911. Don’t get out of your car. Don’t drive home. Stay cool, calm and collected," said Panko.

The victim’s family declined to comment on camera, although they say they are thankful police took the incident seriously and feel relieved the suspect was arrested.

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