breaking news

Police hope home security video yields clues in bombing, chief says

Austin attorney arrested after assaulting man, smashing car in road rage incident, affidavit says

An Austin criminal defense attorney who was previously tied to a drug distribution ring was arrested on Wednesday after police said he chased a man speeding through his Hyde Park neighborhood, beat him up and smashed his Tesla. 

Richard Patrick Fagerberg, 48, was arrested for criminal mischief, assault and driving while intoxicated on Wednesday. He posted bail set at $6,000, records show.

According to an arrest affidavit, the charges stem from a road rage incident that occurred in his Hyde Park neighborhood on Tuesday evening.

Austin police said they responded to a disturbance that night on 44th Street and Avenue C, where they found Fagerberg in the road with his hands bloodied and appearing intoxicated, the affidavit says.

Fagerberg told police that a man had been speeding 90 mph down the street and almost killed his kid, the affidavit says. He admitted to pursuing him through the neighborhood after the incident, the document says. 

The man who was driving the Tesla told police he may have been speeding but did not see Fagerberg’s child, the affidavit says. He said after the incident, Fagerberg followed him, came up to his window a few blocks away and “started ‘assaulting’ him by punching him in the face,” the document says.

He said Fagerberg then kicked the driver side door, broke the side mirror and drove away, the affidavit says.

Fagerberg admitted to police that he had damaged the man’s vehicle, and a witness that saw the chase backed up the story to authorities, the document says.

Fagerberg submitted to a breath test, which showed he was intoxicated above the legal limit, the affidavit says. Police said damages to the man’s Tesla totaled more than $7,000, the document says.

Fagerberg told the American-Statesman on Friday he admitted to following and hitting the man, and said he felt ashamed of the incident. He said he was scared for his 21-month-old son’s life after he said he was nearly struck by the man driving the Tesla.

“I don’t like hitting people. That’s not who I am,” Fagerberg said. “Someone had to stop him. If I did not stop him he would have killed someone. This wasn't ‘I was just speeding in a neighborhood.’ This was insanity.”

He said he was not drunk when he pursued the man in his car and that he had walked back into his house before talking to police to take a shot of whiskey and calm his nerves.

“I'd like to blame it on that,” he said. “But I literally think I would have reacted the same way. I was in shock... He literally terrorized my neighborhood.”

Fagerberg, who has made news headlines before, quit practicing law after he was injured in 2011 during South by Southwest when he said a 350-pound mechanical arm and video camera crashed on him during a concert at Stubb’s Bar-B-Q. 

He filed a lawsuit against the restaurant, SXSW and other parties, saying he no longer had “the mental capacity or thought processes to effectively represent his clients.”

Stubb's reached an undisclosed settlement in the case in 2014 and an appeals court later decided that the other parties could not be held liable, court documents show.

A People Magazine article detailed Fagerberg’s artistic pursuits after his head injury.

In 2015, Fagerberg was arrested after federal authorities tied him to a drug distribution ring that was moving methamphetamine and cocaine across Central and South Texas. 

He pleaded guilty to a lesser charge of withholding information in the case. Fagerberg’s attorney at the time, Guillermo Jose Gonzalez, said there was no evidence his client had sold drugs or had been in possession of large quantities of drugs, that he had a a drug addiction problem and purchased only small amounts for personal use.

Fagerberg has since returned to practicing law. A search of Travis County court records shows he is representing several clients with active criminal cases.

His attorney Matthew Shrum said by phone Friday that Fagerberg had done the neighborhood a service by drawing attention to the dangers of speeding.

"If the guy got punched in the face he probably deserved it,” Shrum said. “Hopefully that will make him think twice about driving 70 miles per hour down a residential street.”

Reader Comments ...

Next Up in Local

Alabama lawmaker says don't arm teachers since most are women 
Alabama lawmaker says don't arm teachers since most are women 

An Alabama lawmaker is opposed to arming teachers because most of them are women and “are scared of guns,” reported. State Rep. Harry Shiver, R-Stockton, opposes a bill that would allow school districts to designate trained teachers and administrators to carry guns on school grounds. “I'm not saying all (women), but in...
Merrell Twins’ have STEM message for teen girls
Merrell Twins’ have STEM message for teen girls

YouTube creators the Merrell Twins gave Austin-area teen girls a first look at “Project Upgrade,” a six-episode series featuring the twins to inspire young women to pursue a career in STEM. The show features Vanessa, left, and Veronica creating a touchscreen digital mirror. The South By Southwest event showed teen girls that technology...
Woman shot, man found dead after San Marcos SWAT standoff, police say
Woman shot, man found dead after San Marcos SWAT standoff, police say

10:55 a.m. update: Authorities said a man shot a woman in a San Marcos home before turning the weapon on himself Monday morning. The woman, who authorities did not identify, had been shot in the face and was taken to St. David’s South Austin Medical Center with injuries not expected to be life-threatening. A standoff between San Marcos police...
Survey: Most Texans want the state to boost its school funding share
Survey: Most Texans want the state to boost its school funding share

Most Texans support increasing funding for the state’s public schools, according to results of a survey released by the Texas Education Grantmakers Advocacy Consortium on Monday. The survey was based on the responses of about 500 registered voters that showed that 71 percent favored increasing the state‘s share of education funding to provide...
Florida homeowners to split more than $52M after citrus canker battle 
Florida homeowners to split more than $52M after citrus canker battle 

A 17-year legal fight in Florida over citrus canker is over. More than 84,000 homeowners in South Florida who had healthy citrus trees cut down by the state are going to get paid for their losses. The homeowners will split more than $52 million in compensation. That money was allocated in the budget approved by Gov. Rick Scott on Friday....
More Stories