DELRAY BEACH, Fla. (WSVN) — A young man who, police said, used his truck to vandalize a crosswalk in Delray Beach that had been newly painted to commemorate Pride Month has surrendered to authorities.
Delray Beach Police arrested 19-year-old Alexander Jerich after he turned himself in, Thursday.
Investigators said Jerich was the driver of a white Chevy pickup truck that was captured on video crossing the Delray Beach Pride Streetscape at Northeast First Street and Second Avenue, Monday.
Jerich was apparently taking part in a 30-vehicle rally celebrating former President Donald Trump’s birthday that included a parade through the crosswalk, according to arrest documents.
The clip, which has since gone viral, shows the motorist intentionally doing a burnout across the intersection for 15 seconds and leaving skid marks.
Jerich faces several charges, including criminal mischief over $1,000, reckless driving and a felony enhancement of evidence of prejudice.
Retired Judge Rand Hoch, the president of the Palm Beach County Human Rights Council, weighed in on the arrest on Friday.
“He’s looking at some serious consequences. I think it could be up to 15 years in jail,” he said. “He would have to pay the restitution. The city, they’re going to repair it. He’s going to have to reimburse them for that. There are consequences when you commit crimes.”
Just two days earlier, city officials had dedicated the Pride Streetscape. The intersection was painted with the colors of the Pride flag.
“Everybody that was here was having such a good time. I was working that day, and I came here during the parade to see what it was all about,” said resident Brittany Walko, “and there was so much joy, and everybody was smiling, everybody was having a good time. I don’t know why anybody would want to ruin that.”
Walko said she and her girlfriend, Vesna Lukic, initially thought the skid marks may have been an accident, until they saw the video.
When asked if the clip made her angry, Walko replied, “Yeah, of course. It’s more upsetting than it is angry.”
Other residents who spoke with 7News feel the same way.
“I think that’s awful. I don’t think anyone should ever disrespect that,” said Emily Bott.
“If you don’t like it, just drive through it. You don’t need to ruin it, you know?” said Daniel Grogan.
“They’re not liking the fact that somebody is outside of their comfort zone. Wow, it’s a very negative response, if you ask me,” said Michelle Gold.
“It’s really aggressive,” said a woman.
“It should never have happened at all,” said Hoch.
Hoch said he blames the local Republican Party, which organized the Trump birthday rally.
“I saw that they actually passed out a parade route at the meeting, and all of the cars and trucks supporting the former president were to go through there and then went through the Pride crosswalk, and that’s when he committed the crime,” he said. “It seems like the Republican Party has some responsibility in this.”
A rally participant who was in front of the Chevy truck heard someone scream to Jerich, “Tear up that gay intersection,” according to the police report.
“This police report has ‘Republican’ all over it. I would like to see the Republican Party take some responsibility for this,” said Hoch.
Lukic, a visitor from Canada, said that as a gay woman just out walking with her girlfriend here, the video unfortunately does not surprise her.
“It’s not very comfortable, and I never know who’s going to say something, so I’m like, ‘Don’t be too obvious,’ because you never know who’s going to say something,” she said.
The city has since attempted to clean up the skid marks, but they were still visible on the crosswalk on Thursday night.
Officials said repainting the crosswalk will cost $16,000. They said Jerich will have to pay for it.
“I do not foresee this happening again,” said Hoch. “As for what the justice system does with this man, I just hope they apply the law as it’s written and let him suffer the consequences.”
Hoch stressed he’s not playing politics and pointed out the Palm Beach County Human Rights Council is nonpartisan, but he said the Republican Party needs to do what’s right.
7News reached out to the Republican Party of Palm Beach County. A spokesperson replied, “No comment.”
Copyright 2021 Sunbeam Television Corp. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.