Young people usually just get wet while playing the game Senior Assassins. But authorities said the game turned into a dangerous road rage incident Friday evening after a group of Modesto High School seniors doused a 26-year-old Lodi man and his female passenger, who were not playing the game.
The California Highway Patrol arrested the Lodi man, Benito Victory, after authorities said he chased the car full of teenagers on roads north of Modesto and, according to one witness, might have fired a handgun two times at them. Victory crashed his pickup in the 6300 block of Carver Road near Ladd Road and was arrested on suspicion of driving under the influence.
CHP officers and deputies searched the crash scene, but no firearm or other evidence was found to recommend additional charges against Victory, said deputy Tom Letras, a Stanislaus County Sheriff's Department spokesman.
Victory's passenger was injured in the crash and treated at a hospital.
No charges have been filed against the students.
Assassin is an annual ritual for seniors at Modesto high schools and at schools across the country; the weapon of choice usually is a water gun. A student or group of students pays a fee to enter the contest, which creates a pool of prize money for those who win.
Students armed with super soakers, squirt guns or water balloons ambush other participants to eliminate them from the game. Assassin is not sanctioned by schools and often is prohibited on high school campuses, so the game is played off-campus.
Friday's incident started near Pelandale Avenue and Tully Road about 6 p.m. when the Modesto High School seniors pulled up next to Victory's red pickup.
According to sheriff's officials, the teens thought the truck belonged to another senior playing the game.
A passenger in the teens' car used a large water gun to drench Victory and his female passenger. The car sped away, with Victory giving chase at high speed.
Sheriff Adam Christianson said in a news release that he has concerns about students playing Assassin.
"We have teenaged drivers cruising the streets looking for targets to shoot with squirt guns," he said. "This can lead to inattentiveness while driving and also dangerous driving while targets try to escape."
Bee staff writer Ken Carlson can be reached at email@example.com or 209-578-2321.