A LIMO DRIVER lashed out at a city employee riding a scooter last Thursday night, July 10, in a road rage incident on SW Taylor and Broadway.

The scooter rider, Mary Volm, happens to be the spokesperson for the city department that regulates taxis and town cars but ironically, not limousines (the city has not yet bowed to pressure to regulate so-called "luxury" vehicles). Volm was driving her Vespa behind a 33-foot stretch SUV. Ronald Johnson, a former town car driver, was behind the wheel of the SUV limo at around 6:30 pm.

Volm alleges Johnson was blocking the intersection and he began reversing when the light turned red, so she shouted at him to stop. She alleges Johnson got out of his limo, began screaming at her, and pushed her Vespa nine feet forward toward the intersection. Then he got back in the limo and started moving, but this pinned Volm between the side of the limo and the intersection's oncoming traffic, Volm alleges.

"So I hit the side of his car with the flat of my hand," says Volm. "And that's when he really lost it. He got out of the vehicle and he came after me, and hit me with both hands on my shoulders and pushed me down onto the ground. And he stood over me with a fist telling me to get up or he's going to punch me in the nose."

The limo driver, Johnson, was arrested and cited by the police for menacing and harassment and booked at Central Precinct, but has yet to be formally charged by the district attorney's office with a crime.

Witness Jackie Evans, from Ohio, told police she saw the limo backing up and that it appeared to strike the scooter, according to the police report. She said Johnson got out of the limo and was screaming, then that he got back in and came out a second time and shoved Volm onto the ground.

Johnson, meanwhile, denies Volm's version of events. He says he was trying to perform a citizen's arrest of Volm for taking a "leaping kick at the side of my vehicle," when Volm "just fell down in the street and started yelling and crying."

Johnson even sent the Mercury pictures of a circular dent in the side of his limo.

"The police just assumed I hit her," he says. "I was driving 100 percent safely and I plan to ask to have her charged with criminal mischief."

Volm says the dents in Johnson's limo are "fabricated," adding that Johnson was screaming and calling her a "cunt" and a "bitch" during the entire encounter.

"There's no way I can dent a vehicle, I'm a 54-year-old woman for God's sake," says Volm. "Now I'm on the defensive, and I'm the victim, and it's really made me angry."