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Lonnie Painter's past victim shares story of wild hit and run altercation

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MISHAWKA, Ind.-- Over three years ago, Ian Whiteman says he saw Lonnie Painter's rage firsthand.

Painter has past convictions of a stabbing murder in Tennessee, as well as attempted murder. 

Now Whiteman says he feels lucky to be alive. 

"I’m absolutely like shocked," said Whiteman. 

That's the reaction Whiteman had to the news that 57-year-old Lonnie Painter was taken into custody for a federal weapons violation and now is the prime suspect in a homicide investigation for the death of a woman who's decomposed body was found just last week.

Now, all this new information taking him back to the moment when a road rage incident brought him face to face with Painter in Mishawaka.

“We went through the stop sign and in the middle of the intersection he rear ended me and then I stopped and he rear-ended me again.  I tried to stop him and he takes out the whole front end of my car goes up over into the ditch. After this happens he gets out of his vehicle comes over to my car and punches me in the jaw through my open driver side window," recalled Whiteman. 

That's when he noticed, in Painter's hand was a large hunting knife.

“He had a knife he could’ve just pulled it out and ended me right there," said Whiteman. 

Police were called and Whiteman received $750 dollars from Painter to repair his damaged car.

Since then, Whiteman never though he'd see him again until Tuesday when he saw Painter on the news.

“My mom called me actually and was like, this is the guy that punched you and she was in hysterics you could have died. If I did get out of the car I don’t think I’d be standing here knowing what I know now," said Whiteman. 

Painter is still in custody and is being held without bond.

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