When both cars were stopped in traffic, things turned violent. The two-on-one brawl left Patterson limp, lying on the side of the freeway as his assailants sped away.
Footage captured by a witness was uploaded it to YouTube, but it was quickly taken down by the site. The story might have ended there, except that the video was seen by Alan Quigg, an out of work croupier and casino dealer in Northern Ireland.
34-year-old Quigg, known as ghostsofmany on LiveLeak, lives on the northern coast of Ireland. He found YouTube footage of the fight on the website Reddit and realized it would soon disappear from the Internet forever if he didn't preserve it--and he was right.
Quigg explained to the Weekly, via email, how it works.
"I, and I'm sure others on LiveLeak, sweep over sites like Reddit.com (there is a sub-reddit for 'videos') where people post all sorts of links which take people directly to YouTube (mostly) or Wimp.com or Vimeo, depending on whether you want kittens, death, or art."
The problem is, videos uploaded to YouTube are often taken down before the public can see them. That's where users like Quigg get involved.
"We can embed YT videos on LiveLeak, but a more presentable (from LiveLeak's point of view) method is to 'take' (download) the video from YT.. this is very easy, and Mozilla Firefox (browser) makes this even easier nowadays..."
After Quigg uploaded the video to LiveLeak, it was noticed by Weekly food writer Garrett Snyder who tipped the Weekly's news blog off.
Officer Christian Baldonado says the California Highway Patrol received two phone calls reporting the incident the day it occurred--but by the time they arrived on scene, both Patterson and the suspects were gone.
"Usually someone that's involved in some physical altercation will come in and file a police report, but no one came in until we got light of this video," Baldonado says. The CHP is still seeking information about the fight; anyone with a tip is asked to call (213) 744-2331.
"I guess I'm kinda proud that these people might end up getting caught," Quigg says.