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   Harsh words led to a cracked head near Walcott, Iowa.

   Two truckers traveling Interstate 80 Feb. 27 were yelling at each other over the CB radio, said Walcott Police Chief David Kopatich.

   “One got sick of the other’s mouth, so he decided he was going to take care of business, so to speak,” Kopatich said.

   RTV Inc. driver Robert Ratkovcic, 30, of Fort Walton Beach, Fla., stopped at the Pilot truck stop at the 284 mile marker. Driver Glen Hudson, 45, of Cincinnati, Iowa, followed Ratkovcic and hit him three times over the head with a baseball bat, Kopatich said. Hudson drove off, but was arrested about 15 minutes later at another truck stop.

   “It all happened so fast, the guy was out of there before anyone could react,” Kopatich said. “The whole incident probably took 30 seconds tops, start to finish.”

   One witness saw the entire assault, while several saw parts of it. Kopatich said one driver had a vehicle description and helped track down Hudson over his CB.

   “We appreciate that kind of help,” Kopatich said.

   Ratkovcic was hospitalized with head injuries at University Hospitals in Iowa City. His condition was downgraded from serious to fair as of March 7. RTV Inc. sent a team to Walcott to pick up Ratkovcic’s truck.

   Hudson was charged with willful injury, a class C felony, and held on a $50,000 bond. If convicted, he faces up to 10 years in prison. The bond was reduced to $20,000 in a March 7 preliminary hearing, but Hudson had not made bond as of that evening.

   The name of Hudson’s employer, a small Iowa company with regional and local runs, was withheld pending witness identification in court.

AP sources contributed to this article.

This story appeared in the March 17-30, 1997, issue of The Trucker. The same issue featured a disaster story on a tornado that touched down in Arkadelphia, Ark.