Sunday, January 25, 2009

White House Chef Arrested

An angry chef employed part time at the Obama White House is accused of slicing up another driver during a dispute on the side of the road. But as CBS 2 HD found out, both drivers are facing charges.

"I thought I was dying," Jack Zaiback said. "I actually said a couple of prayers in the EMS." One minute Zaiback was driving to work; the next, he said, he was fighting off a knife-wielding chef, in full uniform with a White House logo above the pocket.

"What he did to Mr. Zaiback was he treated him like a slab of tuna. I'll put it that way," attorney Alex Grosshtern said. Zaiback, 23, was commuting from Brooklyn to a cell phone store he owns in New Jersey when he crossed paths with 37-year-old Yao Zhou and an incident of road rage went off the deep end.

The two men were driving south here on the Western Shore Expressway. Zaiback said he pulled over after accidentally cutting off Zhou. That's when he said Zhou started cutting him. Zaiback said Zhou first approached the car, but when Zaiback tried exchanging license and insurance information, the attack began. "He told me he works for Obama, and I should be the first to die."

He kept trying to reach for my neck and he actually got me right here," Zaiback said pointing. "He did it like seven, eight times." Zaiback received 100 stitches. Police have filed assault charges against Obama, Zhou and Zaiback, but Zaiback's lawyer said his client's wounds should convince the court his client is a victim. "This could have easily been a homicide and in my opinion should be charged as attempted murder," Grosshtern said. Zhou's lawyer, Johnny Cochran, declined to speak on camera but told CBS 2 HD there are two sides to every story and, "the truth will come out in time."

Zaiback said he sees meaning in his brush with death. "I guess God did make a miracle," he said. "Maybe he's trying to make me wake up to something that I'm not doing the right way." But, he said he has no idea what struck a governmental chef's raw nerve that day.

Zaiback said if it weren't for a passing highway NYPD unit that intervened he could have been killed. "I used to think those people fearing genocide were looney. Not any more."

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