Burchell Road residents happy to be free of ‘terrorizing’ driver

Woong Joon Chon

After a year of being on the lookout for a white truck driven by
a man who was known to harass his neighbors, Burchell Road
residents breathed a sigh of relief Monday when police took Woong
Joon Chon into custody for assault with a deadly weapon and false
imprisonment, residents said.
After a year of being on the lookout for a white truck driven by a man who was known to harass his neighbors, Burchell Road residents breathed a sigh of relief Monday when police took Woong Joon Chon into custody for assault with a deadly weapon and false imprisonment, residents said.

Most neighbors didn’t know Chon, 45, by name but knew his face and the white truck he used to “terrorize them,” residents said.

“It’s been over a year that he’s been harassing me,” said Chris Pauley, a Burchell Road resident. “At first, I thought it was an isolated episode of road rage but then I found out that he had terrorized many people.”

About a year ago, Pauley was driving home on Burchell pulling her horse trailer when Chon, who lives on the 10000 block of Burchell Road, drove his truck at her and pulled a U-turn directly in front of her, Pauley said.

“I had to slam on my breaks,” she said. “I honked and threw my hands in the air. That’s when all the harassing started.”

Since then, neighbors have reported many instances of Chon’s bizarre behavior, always at the wheel of a white truck, residents said. In a neighborhood where many residents enjoy the pastoral scenery by taking a stroll and most neighbors know each other by name, “everybody watches out for everybody else,” Pauley said.

However, Monday morning, Burchell Road resident Cristi Curry was at home when she saw her son’s girlfriend’s Chevrolet Avalanche pull into her driveway, with a white truck “flying behind her.”

“I thought he was going to plow into the back of her car,” Curry said.

Chon pulled all the way up to the garage before slamming into reverse and peeling back down the driveway backwards, she said.

After making sure her son’s girlfriend was all right, Curry called 911, she said. Assuming Chon had had time to make it to his house down the road, Curry drove her car toward his house with the intent to verify that it had been his truck that had peeled out of her driveway.

As she pulled into a neighbors driveway to turn around, Chon, who had pulled into his own driveway across the street, “put his truck in reverse and flew down that driveway so fast,” Curry said. “I thought he was going to plow straight into me.”

Chon used his truck to block Curry’s Chevrolet Suburban between the iron gate crossing a neighbor’s driveway and his truck, she said. Several times, he drove his truck at her car, stopping only inches before hitting her, except for one time when he hit the bike rack on the back of her car.

When Curry rang her neighbors over their intercom, they opened the gate and she ran up to their porch, where she watched as Chon got out of his car and walked around her Suburban, taking photos on his camera phone, she said.

Although shaken up by the experience, Curry said it could have been worse.

“Thank goodness it was me and not some 80-year-old on my street with a Pacemaker,” Curry said.

About 10 minutes later, the police showed up, she said. They were able to use the license plate number of the white truck that Curry’s son had taken down to trace the car to Chon’s address, she said. They then arrested Chon in the driveway of his residence on charges of assault with a deadly weapon and false imprisonment, Sheriff’s Sgt. Rick Sung said.

Several Sheriff’s deputies arrived at the man’s residence and used a public address system to order him from his home, Sung said. When Chon emerged, deputies approached him and attempted to take him into custody. After a brief struggle, they were able to handcuff him and booked him into the Santa Clara County Main Jail.

As of Wednesday afternoon, Chon was still in custody, Sung said. His bail was set at $50,000. Police did not impound his truck because he was not in his vehicle at the time of arrest, Sung said. Despite Chon’s bizarre behavior, a psychiatric evaluation has not been conducted, though the Department of Corrections may still hold one, Sung said.

Relieved that the situation has been temporarily taken care of, Burchell Road residents worried about what would happen if Chon posted bail.

“If he gets released, I don’t know what’s going to happen,” Pauley said. “It makes me a little bit nervous.”

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