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Downstate man arrested, arraigned after firing pistol during road rage incident on Mackinac Bridge Saturday

This incident was completely separate from the Mackinac Bridge crash that killed a Cheboygan man Saturday morning.
William Perkola mugshot
William Perkola mugshot(Mackinac County Sheriff's Office)
Updated: Jun. 15, 2021 at 1:29 PM EDT
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MACKINAC COUNTY, Mich. (WLUC) - In the early afternoon Saturday, troopers from the Michigan State Police (MSP) Gaylord Post and St. Ignace Post responded to report of a minor crash and gunshot report on the Mackinac Bridge.

The investigation led to the arrest of 65-year-old William Richard Pirkola, of Ludington, on June 12.

MSP says the road rage incident allegedly began on eastbound US-2 when two vehicles were traveling to the bridge, because of lane usage.

Pirkola told the MSP the other driver, a 63-year-old Williamsburg man, would not let him merge. He said this happened again when approaching the toll booths on I-75.

After going through the toll booth, the other vehicle, driven by the Williamsburg man, merged in front of him due to a lane closure.

Pirkola struck the vehicle driven by the Williamsburg man.

The Williamsburg man exited his vehicle to confront Pirkola. Then, Pirkola pointed a handgun in the air and fired one shot.

A .40 caliber handgun and a 9mm handgun were seized by troopers along with one spent .40 caliber cartridge recovered from the driver’s side seat.

Pirkola was taken to the Mackinac County Jail. He was arraigned Monday afternoon in the 92nd District Court in Mackinac County on one count Reckless Discharge of a Firearm, a misdemeanor. He was given a personal recognizance (PR) bond.

His next scheduled court appearance is on July 13 at 9:30 a.m.

This incident was completely separate from the Mackinac Bridge crash that killed a Cheboygan man Saturday morning.

Both incidents caused severe traffic back-ups throughout the day Saturday.

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