STONY BROOK, N.Y. (CBSNewYork) — A family drive to see Christmas lights turned into a nightmare.
Police on Long Island are looking for suspects in a road rage attack that left a grandfather severely hurt. On Thursday night, CBS2’s Jennifer McLogan spoke to the victim’s grandson, who got caught in the middle of it all.
The victim, 73-year-old John Blanco, lies in a hospital bed with bleeding on the brain, multiple facial fractures and contusions following an altercation, his family said.
“[He was] holding his face, blood pouring out,” said Eileen Blanco, the victim’s wife.
On Monday night, John Blanco, was behind the wheel of his black pickup truck, with his grandson, Joey, in the passenger seat after his theater practice. John Blanco was driving slowly home on Moriches-Middle Island Road in Manorville looking at Christmas decorations.
“Just having a good time looking at Christmas lights and there were these kids behind us and I guess we just weren’t driving fast enough to suit them,” Joey Blanco said.
He said the strangers screamed and cursed, blocked their path and jumped out of their gray sedan at a stop sign.
“It was fight or flight. I mean, there was three people coming at me at once. I was just trying to protect my grandpa,” Joey said.
So Joey said he entered the fray. It turned into a street brawl at the intersection. Then, his grandfather exited the pickup.
“I got tackled and he went over to try to help me and someone turned around and started hitting on him, too,” Joey said.
Police responded to his frantic 911 call and an ambulance rushed John Blanco to the hospital. Joey Blanco, a high school junior, said he was able to get a partial license plate.
“They are obviously very confused teens that need a lot of direction,” Eileen Blanco said.
The Blancos said they usually “go all out” on decorations during the holiday season, but won’t be putting any up this year. They instead plan to sit vigil at the grandfather’s hospital bedside praying for him to be home for Christmas.
“He just lays there. He’s not talking,” Eileen Blanco said.
“I wanted to protect my grandpa and that is what was in my mind, but if I didn’t get out of the car then maybe nothing would have happened to him,” Joe Blanco added.
Suffolk County police are still searching for suspects.