Road rage shootings are uncommon, but records show a weekend victim of an incident on Interstate 75 did what many targets of aggressive driving do: disregard police advice not to take action that could inflame the perpetrator further.
Half of all drivers on the receiving end of an aggressive road behavior respond in kind, according to a safe driving website. Those actions conflict with law enforcement recommendations, which says that can escalate matters.
A victimized driver on I-75 reported Sunday afternoon he and his daughter were shot at multiple times in what he described as a life-threatening situation. The driver followed the shooter’s car, according to his 911 call.
A dispatcher repeatedly warned him against it, at one point saying: “Do not risk you and your daughter’s life over this.“
The southbound I-75 shooting between Exit 47 and the I-675 interchange is an extreme example of road rage, Miami Twp. Public Information Officer Pat McCoy said.
“I’ve seen a lot of road rage in my 30 years,” McCoy said. “But nothing at this level. It’s not unbelievable. But it’s rare – very, very, very rare.”
The victimized driver, admittedly “super shook up” about the shooting, later apologized to the dispatcher after his car was disabled by gunfire as he sought get the shooter’s license plate number, records show.
“I could understand why he would do that,” McCoy said of the short-lived chase. “I wouldn’t advise it. If someone gets in that situation, get to a safe place.
“We don’t want for people to put themselves at risk to get information for us,” he added.
With all aggressive driving victims – however severe the case - the advice is the similar: Distance yourself from the offending vehicle and call law enforcement.
Instead, half of those drivers who are targets of actions “such as horn honking, a rude gesture, or tailgating admit to responding with aggressive behavior themselves,” according to the website SafeMotorist.com.
Nearly two-thirds of all traffic fatalities are caused by aggressive driving, and 37 percent of aggressive driving incidents involve a firearm, according to information compiled from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration and AutoVantage, an auto club.
The difference between road rage and aggressive driving: the first is a criminal charge and the latter a traffic offense, according to National Highway Traffic Safety Administration.
Road rage shootings have been infrequently reported on area highways since 2018, according to Dayton Daily News records.
In the spring of 2018, a 56-year-old Lebanon man drove more than 10 miles to his friend’s house in Clayton after he was shot in the head during an incident on Interstate 75 in Dayton.
The victim said he was on northbound I-75 around 11:45 a.m. near the Edwin C. Moses Boulevard exit when the driver of a van pulled up beside his vehicle and fired a gun. He was taken to a hospital for injuries that were not life-threatening.
In June 2018, a pickup truck was shot at multiple times on I-70 near the Dayton International Airport, but the driver and his passenger were not hit by bullets that lodged in the vehicle’s doors, according to the Ohio State Highway Patrol.
But road rage is not specifically tracked statewide, the state patrol said.
Road rage is not a specific offense under Ohio law, but those actions can fall into certain offenses, such as menacing; reckless operation, impeding, and assault, according to the patrol.
“It all depends on the level of threat,” state patrol Lt. Craig Cventan said. “Obviously if shots are fired, it could be way beyond menacing…. you could be looking at much more higher penalty and a different section of the law.”
Sunday’s case involving a Kia Soul driver being shot at by a male passenger in a silver car described as either a Toyota Corolla or a Camry is being investigated as a felonious assault, Miami Twp. police records indicate.
Police continue to seek help searching for the four-door car driven by a female. It was last seen northbound on I-675 about 4 p.m.
The Kia driver told a dispatcher the shooter fired “at least five or six (shots), if not more” from what appeared to be a pistol, shattering the rear window and going through the windshield.
The shooter “unloaded the whole (expletive) clip in my car,” he said.
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