• Top auto racing engineer charged in Florida road rage incident

    By: Eliot Kleinberg, Palm Beach Post


    JUPITER, Fla. - A prominent figure in auto racing was jailed overnight in connection with a Florida road rage incident.

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    Mark Schomann, 55, was booked into the Palm Beach County Jail on Thursday morning, charged with aggravated assault with a deadly weapon, after a motorcyclist said that Schomann tried to back into him at a Jupiter gas station in June. He was expected to appear in court Friday morning.

    Schomann, a Jupiter Farms resident, is a longtime engineer in the auto racing circuit who once was chief engineer for Paul Newman’s racing operation. He also is the president and founder of Alternative Fuels Group.

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    Schomann allegedly tried to back into a 24-year-old man, according to a Jupiter police report.

    The report said that just after 8 p.m. on June 17, a witness told police she was driving west on Indiantown Road when she saw a motorcycle come around and in front of her.

    She said she saw a white truck in the center lane try to change into the right lane, and the motorcyclist waved as if to say, “I’m here.”

    The motorcyclist later told police he honked and threw his hand into the air when the truck first crossed into his lane.

    The witness said she saw the truck driver veer into the lane three times, seemingly to force the motorcycle to move into the turning lane; the motorcyclist eventually did so and turned into the Shell service station in the Jupiter West Plaza, just east of Interstate 95.

    The motorcyclist said when the truck tried to force him over, he nearly struck the curb getting into the service station.

    The woman said she pulled in to the plaza and watched as the drivers confronted each other.

    The motorcyclist said Schomann told him, “I drive motorcycles, too,” and he replied, “That means you should know to watch out for them.”

    He said the driver told him to remove his helmet; and he responded, “Why? So you can punch me in the face?”

    The witness said Schomann pulled the key from the motorcycle’s ignition and threw it toward the street, then returned to this truck. She said the motorcyclist tried to take a photo of the truck’s license plate, and the truck backed up in what she saw as an attempt to strike the other man before driving off.

    The motorcyclist told investigators that when Schomann tried to back into him, he feared for his life. He also said he later found his keys.

    The report does not say why Schomann just now is being charged two and a half months after the incident. Calls made Friday morning to Jupiter police and the state attorney’s office were not returned. Nor were calls made to phones listed on police reports for both Schomann and the motorcyclist.

    Palm Beach Post staff researcher Melanie Mena contributed to this report.

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