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August 18, 2000

Construction workers face road rage
in Rollinsford

ROLLINSFORD, N.H. (AP) -- As two construction workers recently learned, you don't need to be driving to be threatened by road rage.

Since construction of a new bridge began in March, work crews in Rollinsford have reported seeing many frustrated motorists ignore red lights as they make their way through the area. But that was nothing compared to what two workers recently experienced.

Police Chief Robert Ducharme said that in the first incident, a woman directing traffic was repeatedly hit by a van whose male driver was irritated at being stopped.

A female passenger got out of the van and grabbed the worker, dragged her down the road, took a sign from her and repeatedly slapped her in the face with it.

The driver and passenger fled after other construction workers went after them. The worker, whom Ducharme did not identify, was not seriously injured.


"This is the first I can recall in recent times we've had a flagger, a member of the construction crew, assaulted by a motorist," Ducharme said. "It's highly unusual for something like that to happen."

But state officials said Thursday that such incidents are more common than they wish.

"I think it's become a bigger problem, in part because we're everywhere this summer," said Carol Murray, assistant commissioner of the state Department of Transportation. "I've certainly heard a lot more from our traffic folks, the ones doing the yellow line striping, about verbal and even physical encounters."

In one incident in the Lakes Region this summer, a driver stopped his car, got out and pushed one of the workers, she said.

"I can understand getting frustrated when you're held up, but those folks are trying to an important safety job," she said.

Last summer, road crews across the state reported being cursed at, spat upon and even threatened with guns.

In once incident in June 1999, a driver in Henniker ignored flashing lights and a stop sign and drove through a work zone at 50 mph. He clipped a truck painting stripes on the road, grazing a worker's foot, and kept driving.

Another construction worker was chased with a baseball bat. And a state trooper in Manchester had a truck driver speed off with him hanging onto the side of the cab.


August 23, 2000 Enraged Philipino Motorists

That thing called Road Rage

By Conrad Cariņo


There are lots of stories about motorists stabbing, shooting or mauling another motorist. Lots of stories get published in the national dailies and tabloids, but more may go unreported. Many become examples that road rage does not pay, especially when the aggressors end up being punished by our courts.

Fortunately, most road rage incidents end up with an exchange of words or ugly gestures which end up with nobody getting physically hurt.

Road rage is now a common occurrence in Philippine road especially in Metro Manila because of dwindling road space, the poor level of driver education and lack of cooperation among motorists.

It can be avoided

However, even if road rage is a real hazard Filipino motorists must deal with, you can still avoid being a victim of such, or getting enraged yourself.

Research conducted by The MANILA TIMES shows road rage, or getting terribly emotionally enraged behind the wheel may be caused by any of the following, or a combination of any of these:

• poor understanding of road rules;

• getting stressed behind the wheel other than factors related to driving;

• being too emotional and impatient; and

• macho mentality.

Poor understanding of the right of way rules: Filipino drivers sometimes do not know when to yield their right of way. And when they refuse to yield to another vehicle which already has a right of way, this becomes a reason for the other motorist to get enraged.

On the other hand, you can get enraged behind the wheel if you were denied passage thinking you have the right of way even if you don’t really have it.


Getting stressed behind the wheel other than factors related to heavy traffic: It is impossible for people not to have problems related to the workplace, finance, relationships and others. There is also no guarantee that these problems can worsen. For motorists, this can become a very heavy burden.

When a motorist who is already stressed feels the burden of traffic, or the disrespect of other motorists, he becomes a good candidate for road rage.

On the other motorist who is violated of his road rights is also stressed, the ground becomes fertile for a horrible road rage incident.

Being too emotional and impatient: This is somehow different from the previous discussion.

A motorist who is too emotional can easily get angry behind the wheel at the slightest violation of his road rights even if he is not under stress.

Then there are motorists who are just too impatient behind the wheel and will try to get ahead of others at all cost. If these motorists feel they are denied ample space or the passage to get ahead of others, they become candidates for road rage, particularly the perpetrating party.

On the other hand, motorists who try to get ahead of others at all cost can end up crossing the path of another motorist who is already a candidate for road rage.

Macho mentality

When talking about the bad habit of Filipino drivers, the macho mentality can never be separated or dropped from the discussion.

Among the macho habits of Filipino road drivers are: cutting other vehicles, not giving way, overspeeding and counterflowing. When another motorist who feels his road rights are violated wants to “give a piece of his mind” to the macho driver, the situation can lead to road rage.

Conversely, a driver who has the macho mentality thinks he is exempted from road courtesy may decide to “give a piece of his mind” to drivers who are simply asserting their road rights. Such a situation can also lead to road rage.


To prevent from being a victim or perpetrator of road rage, observe the following:

• accept traffic as a reality

• respect the rights of other motorists

• do not drive when you are severely stressed

• control your emotions

• forget about being macho

• stay away from tarmac terrorists

• let a potential road rage situation pass.

Accepttraffic as a reality: Many drivers cannot simply accept the reality of traffic and will disregard traffic rules and the road rights of others just to get ahead of the rest of the pack.


When driving at a pace that his not hurried, you should be more inclined to give way when you should, either to avoid a stupid maneuver by an uneducated driver, or to let another vehicle take its right of way.

Planning your trip properly can also prevent you from becoming impatient behind the wheel.

Do not drive when you are severely stressed: Use public transport or share a ride. In short, avoid getting behind the wheel until whatever crisis you are in is partially or fully resolved.

Control your emotions: Psychologists always tells us: We cannot control how other people behave but we can control how we can react to them.

Translation: learn to control your emotions behind the wheel.


Stay away from tarmac terrorists: Stay away from vehicles which are obviously driven by crazy motorists. It is not your lesson to teach them a lesson in proper driving.

Let a potential road rage situations pass: If no real harm was done, or feel the other motorist did not really mean to enrage you, then let the whole situation pass harmlessly.

Forget about casting a long stare on the motorist, making an ugly gesture or giving a piece of your mind. Think about what good future awaits you, and your loved ones.

Although road rage seems to be one of the dangers in Philippine roads, Filipinos still seem to be more coolheaded than their American counterparts.



August 21, 2000 Is this road rage?

Meter-Readers Attacked as Light Bills Soar

SAN DIEGO ( -- As Southern California enters its hottest season, tempers and temperatures are flaring in a double whammy that spells trouble for San Diego's utility workers.

Since July, power bills have more than doubled over last year at this time. Angry residents are taking out their frustration by verbally or physically attacking meter readers and utility crews. So far, no one has been injured. But authorities are so concerned that the San Diego County sheriff warned last week that the mayhem must stop.

"The sheriff is trying to let people know that these are just people doing their jobs," said Ron Reina, spokesman for Sheriff Bill Kolender. "You can't throw rocks at people or spit on them."

Egg-pelting, rock-throwing customers

Employees of the local power company, San Diego Gas & Electric, are reporting about 20 incidents a day of harassment. That compares to a normal rate of about two a week, said company spokesman Ed Van Herik.

"We've had employees' homes pelted with eggs; we've had rude comments shouted to our people," Van Herik said. "We've had rocks thrown at our employees and the windshield of a car broken."

Residents have even spit upon some of the company's 3,000 employees, he said.


Meanwhile, the company is urging employees to avoid all confrontations with residents.

"We're telling our people that if someone honks or yells at you, this isn't about you personally," he said. "If someone gets aggressive, just record their license number and report it to our security folks. If you're confronted, don't get into a debate. Just say you understand their concerns and keep moving."

By Randy Dotinga, an correspondent.


September 10, 2000

KU student's death puts a face
on the plague of aggressive driving

By RICHARD ESPINOZA - The Kansas City Star

An incident that left an 18-year-old woman dead and two men charged with vehicular homicide began as one of countless, daily angry exchanges among drivers zipping along the nation's highways.

According to the Kansas Highway Patrol's report of the Aug. 12 crash that killed University of Kansas student Laura Leftwich on the Kansas Turnpike, a 19-year-old man with whom she was riding made a rude hand gesture as a motorist who apparently had been following them closely drove around their vehicle.

The driver of the car Leftwich was in, Isadore Alex Wolfson of Lawrence, then began following the other car until its driver, Billy D. Breedlove, 43, of Kansas City, hit his brakes "without any apparent reason because there were no other vehicles on the roadway and no obstruction," said Frank Kohl, Leavenworth County prosecutor.

Wolfson lost control of his Honda Accord as he tried to avoid Breedlove's Geo Metro. The Accord spun and stopped facing southeast across both westbound lanes. An 80,000-pound tractor-trailer full of housewares jackknifed as the driver tried to avoid the Accord. The trailer slid across both lanes, and the cab slammed into the Accord.

Leftwich, of Skokie, Ill., was trapped in the car until rescuers freed her. A helicopter took her to the University of Kansas Medical Center in Kansas City, Kan., where she died the next day.

Neither Wolfson nor the truck driver suffered serious injuries.


Officials said Breedlove, who had been driving with a 4-year-old girl in the car, told a tollkeeper at the east Lawrence tollbooth that he had been involved in an accident. The tollkeeper told him to wait for a trooper.

"He pulled over for a few minutes and later drove off," said Lt. Mark Conboy of the Kansas Turnpike Authority.

Breedlove contacted the Highway Patrol a day after the crash.

Wolfson and Breedlove were charged in Leavenworth County District Court with vehicular homicide, a misdemeanor; and following too closely, an infraction. Breedlove also was charged with leaving the scene of an accident, a misdemeanor; and failure to signal a stop, an infraction.


Sheryl Covitt, a friend of the Leftwich family, hopes the fatal crash will inspire schools to spend more time discussing road rage in driver education classes. On Friday, she talked to an administrator at Niles North High School in Skokie, where Leftwich graduated, about changing the curriculum.

Students should have to think about their anger-control abilities, talk about ways to prevent road rage and be exposed to simulated road rage when they practice driving on the school's closed course, she said.

David Curby, who oversees driver's education at the high school, agreed. The course always has touched on the dangers of driving while angry, but he said adding more information about road rage is as important as adding information about drunken driving was years ago.


"I wouldn't assume that either of these two people involved are bad people," said Lt. John Eichkorn, a Highway Patrol spokesman. "There's a lot that seems to make people more aggressive, and we just seem to keep moving in that direction. It's not necessarily bad people who engage in that activity."

Trouble starts when two motorists decide to react with anger to poor driving, so the AAA and troopers say people should not take it personally when someone speeds up from behind or changes lanes erratically.

"Just don't let yourself get sucked into anything," said Lt. Dek Kruger of the Highway Patrol. "Just take a common-sense approach. If somebody does something that makes you mad, you need to be the bigger person and back off."

original here


September 26, 2000

Woman Victim Of Road Rage

Victim Says She Was Threatened, Attacked


A 21-year-old woman said that she was attacked and threatened after what looks like a case of road rage in Orange County Monday night.


The woman asked that her name not be revealed. She said that she was driving east on Sand Lake Road when a car approached her flashing its headlights.

The woman said that she eventually got into the right turn lane and that is when the driver pulled in front of her, got out of his car and cursed at her. When she began to scream she said that he punched her in the mouth.

Police arrested Noble Whittfield later the same night. He has been charged with aggravated battery and aggravated assault.

original here


September 27, 2000

Driven to Distraction
U.S. Driving Habits Make Roads Deadly,
Europeans Say

By Sascha Segan

Sept. 27 — Exploding tires have been blamed for 101 deaths in the United States in the past eight years, but distracted, poorly trained drivers who drink coffee and talk on mobile phones may have more to do with the high death toll on American roads. More than 41,000 deaths were recorded on American roads last year. Experts say American drivers break road rules, are frequently distracted and aren’t often trained to handle emergency situations. In European countries with faster, safer roads, people wonder: Are Americans just bad drivers? “I’ve driven a lot in Germany. Your average American wouldn’t stand a chance over there,” says Robert Sinclair Jr., spokesman for the Automobile Club of New York. Spectacular Speeds, Strict Requirements The United States sits in the middle of the pack for highway safety in an analysis of 28 European, North American and Asian countries undertaken by Germany’s Federal Highway Research Institute in 1998. Portuguese roads are nearly twice as deadly as in the United States, the statistics say. German and British roads are safer.

Road Deaths Around the World:
Country Deaths/100k Vehicles (1998)

S. Korea 80.33
Turkey 76.75
Poland 55.71
Portugal 35.02
France 30.24
Denmark 21.44
USA 19.97
Iceland 16.87
Italy 16.71
Canada 16.65
Germany 15.71
UK 12.73
Sweden 11.81
Source: German Federal Highway Research Institute

Sinclair says the good safety records on German roads are particularly surprising because Germans drive so fast. Speeds over 140 mph are common on the nation’s autobahns, he said. “There are strict speed limits in the [neighboring] Netherlands. As soon as you hit Germany, if your window is open, you can hear engines begin to scream as they accelerate to German cruising speeds,” he says. German tires have nylon caps that make them stiffer, better for handling at high speeds and less likely to lose treads.


German drivers actually obey the rules, he says. They don’t cruise in the left lane, they keep both hands on the wheel and act predictably. “You know what the guy behind you’s up to and you know what the guy ahead of you’s up to. That’s never the case [in the U.S.],” he says. At German speeds, drivers are less likely to become distracted — they don’t shave, put on makeup, play with the CD changer or do the various things that lead to American drivers taking their eyes off the road, says David Champion, head of Consumer Union’s auto testing center in East Haddam, Conn. “It’s very difficult to find cupholders and the like” in European cars, he said. But American drivers, accustomed to doing other things while driving, continue their dangerous habits even at high speeds, he says.

Safe Driving

Strict Licenses Germany has stricter requirements than the United States for licenses. The Germans’ written test is tougher than Americans’, the minimum driving age is 18, and German drivers have to take classes in city traffic, on country roads, on autobahns and at night before being let loose on the roads.

Each U.S. state has its own requirements. The average age for a license is 16; fourteen states offer restricted licenses to 14-year-olds, and you have to be 18 to even sit in a driver’s seat in New York City. Most states require driver education courses for young drivers. But the quality of road and written tests varies widely. Road tests in suburban Virginia, for instance, may not involve highway driving or parallel parking. New drivers in Germany are put on probation — similar to the graduated-license system used in 40 U.S. states — where for the first two years, any traffic infraction sends them back to driving school. In Japan, drivers can skip their road test if they take a $2,500 driving course. Local authorities very strictly police written and road tests, people who’ve driven in Japan say. Most Japanese cities have excellent public transit systems for non-drivers. But people in Iceland, a country without particularly good public transportation, still need to take 30 hours of courses before their road test, says Fridrik Jonsson, secretary at the Icelandic Embassy in Washington. And driving in snow and ice are part of the “de facto” training in a country where “black ice” makes winter roads treacherous. “People [in D.C.] have no clue how to drive in snow or ice,” he says.


Unlike in the United States, few British cities have freeways going through the center, meaning most driving is done on country roads or busy streets with lights. “Our plummet in road deaths in recent years has been particularly in urban areas. You now can’t get up the speed to have them,” Howard says. The renowned British stiff upper lip may also play a role. Though that country coined the term “road rage,” expatriate American Janice Murphy says she’s noticed British drivers are much less aggressive there than in her home state of New Jersey. “You still have very much more courtesy and abiding by the rules in England. Someone will go zipping by at 100 [mph] , but they’ll do it in the appropriate lane,” says Murphy, who has been living in London for 11 years.

Be Glad You’re Not Russian

Europeans may criticize, but American drivers are very safe compared to those in Turkey, South Korea and Russia. Turkey has the dubious honor of being the subject of the State Department’s only “driver safety briefing,” a catalog of driving horrors that warns about “pedestrians seemingly completely oblivious to oncoming traffic … vehicles backing up (in reverse) on exit ramps and on main highways … [and] oncoming drivers who play inscrutable light games, flashing and flashing whether you have your ‘brights’ [high beams] on or not.”


original here


September 29, 2000

Road rage defendant:
'She spit on me and I killed her'

COLUMBIANA, Ala. (AP) -- Hysterical after fatally shooting another female motorist, a secretary accused of "road rage" murder sobbed that she opened fire as the woman angrily confronted her on an interstate exit ramp.

"She spit on me and I killed her," a frantic Shirley Henson said on a tape played for jurors Thursday.

Her words -- recorded during a 911 call and a subsequent call from police headquarters -- echoed through the courtroom during her murder trial.

Gena Foster died of a gunshot wound to the face after getting out of her car and going to the window of Henson's vehicle, stopped directly behind her on a ramp off Interstate 65 last Nov. 8. Prosecutors say Henson had been tailgating Foster at high speed for miles and should be convicted of murder for shooting the unarmed Foster; the defense says Henson was scared and acted in self-defense.

On the tape, Henson said she had been following too closely behind Foster -- "I always follow too closely," she admitted. But Foster "just freaked out," according to the tape.

"She stopped and I couldn't get around her, and she came back to my car and I was just scared," Henson said through tears on the recording.

"She ran and pushed her face up to mine and I thought she was going to do something to me. And I pulled the trigger, and all, all she was doing was spitting on my face.

"I don't know what she had in her hands. I didn't know what she was going to do." Then, Henson said: "She spit on me and I killed her."


The mistakes did not directly counter earlier testimony by three witnesses who said they saw Henson, 40, shoot Foster, 34. But they could open a door for defense lawyers who claim Henson was terrified of Foster and fired only in self-defense.

Prosecution witnesses said Foster was about 18 inches away from the sport-utility when the fatal shot was fired. Foster didn't reach into the vehicle and did nothing violent, they said.


On a form he submitted to the state lab the morning after the shooting, Traywick referred to the case as a "road rage" killing -- bolstering defense claims of a quick judgment that fostered a media frenzy over the case.

Despite the mistakes, jurors were left with Henson's own words at the end of the day. On the tape of a call she made to her husband from police headquarters, Henson expressed regret for the shooting.

"I should have just let her do whatever," she said. "I'd rather be dead than have her dead."

original here


October 19, 2000

Verdict is guilty in road-rage case: Possible life sentence for shooting girl
By M.S. Enkoji
Bee Staff Writer

A Sacramento man who became enraged after a traffic confrontation and maimed a 12-year-old girl was found guilty Wednesday of attempted murder.

Brad Odell, 34, could spend the rest of his life in prison for shooting into a car carrying a family of three on Aug. 7, 1999, paralyzing Kimberly Anderson, now 13.

A Sacramento County Superior Court jury deliberated two days before convicting Odell, who was also found guilty of five related charges and a separate count of possessing illegal weapons.

Orrin Anderson, who was driving the car that night, embraced his wife and his daughter, now in a wheelchair, as the verdicts were read.


A near collision at a stoplight on Broadway escalated into calculated violence that night in August, with Odell taking a brief detour to his house to switch cars and arm himself with a .38-caliber Smith & Wesson revolver, the prosecution said.

He prowled the Curtis Park neighborhood, stalking the terrified family as they waited for police in their KIA Sportage. They had contacted police on a cellphone after he almost hit them and drove toward them head-on.

Pegirae Anderson, who was in the front seat of the Sportage, testified that Odell drove down an alley by the parking lot where they waited, grinned, then he aimed and fired three shots. One severed her stepdaughter's spinal cord.


In addition to the attempted murder charge, Odell was convicted of discharging a firearm in a car causing injury; assault with a deadly weapon -- the car; and possessing illegal miniature darts that can pierce bullet-proof vests if fired from a weapon.

He faces 25 years to life in prison, plus additional years for the other charges. Sentencing is set for Nov. 21.


"We're just absolutely devastated, as I'm sure Kimberly's family is," said Lorene Meyer, the mother of five.

"I hope that all of us can learn from this incident: there's Brad's loss, he's going to spend the rest of his life in prison. And there's Kimi's loss ..."

"I would hope, within ourselves, we could find a little compassion for each other rather than hatred that encompasses our world today."


original here


Another version:

Accused 'Road Rage' Shooter Found Guilty

SACRAMENTO, 5:00 p.m. PDT October 18, 2000 -


O'Dell showed little emotion as all seven guilty verdicts were read, including one for attempted murder. In 1999, O'Dell shot Kimberly Anderson, leaving her paralyzed from the chest down. On Wednesday, Anderson expressed relief that the ordeal is over and justice was served.

"I was happy it was finally going to be over, but I felt sorry for his family, because nothing good came out of this, and it was hard on all of us. Even though it doesn't get rid of the chair, it gives it a little justice," Anderson said.

The jury foreman said that the evidence shown by the prosecution was overwhelming, helping them decide on guilty.


original here


October 24, 2000

Driver In Alleged Road Rage Incident
Faces Charges


A driver was charged with assault after a man claims that he was attacked in a road rage incident.

William Spagnoli was arraigned Wednesday and was charged with felonious assault, malicious destruction of personal property over $1,000, aggravated assault and failure to stop.

Matt Westwood, 23, of Livonia, told Local First News that he was driving on westbound Interstate 96 Monday night when Spagnoli's pickup truck came barreling down on his car in his rearview mirror.

"I took off and he stayed right behind me, and I think we got up to about 100 to 110 mph," Westwood said.

Westwood told Local First News that the chase continued on I-96, with the pickup truck tailgating him. Westwood said that he made a grave mistake when Spagnoli screamed obscenities at him, he responded with an obscene gesture.

Westwood said that he tried to lose the pickup truck by speeding onto northbound Interstate 275, but the truck kept coming. Westwood said that Spagnoli threw a bottle at his car, then rammed the side of his Neon with the truck.

When both drivers got out of their cars, Westwood said he thought they would exchange accident information.

"I don't know if I had my hands in my pockets or what, but I said 'We had an accident', and he just dropped me," Westwood said.

With a broken nose and his glasses smashed, Westwood said that Spagnoli kept coming at him. He had Westwood on the ground, directly in the path of oncoming cars.

A good Samaritan reportedly ended the incident by pulling the man off of Westwood.

"I know now that if something like this happens, get out of there," Westwood said.


original here


October 27, 2000

Two elderly women hit by pickup truck

Honolulu Advertiser Staff

Two elderly women were seriously injured yesterday afternoon when a pickup truck struck them as they crossed Kapahulu Avenue. Police said the women, 77 and 79, had just stepped into the crosswalk at Mo‘oheau Street when they were hit by the GMC pickup. The accident occurred at about 1:20 p.m.

The women were taken to the Queen’s Medical Center, where one was in guarded condition and the other in stable condition last night. The 33-year-old man driving the pickup was taken to St. Francis Medical Center, where he was in good condition, police said.

Traffic investigators said the driver may have entered the intersection against the red light. Speed and alcohol were not factors, police said


November 14, 2000

Motorist sentenced in death
65-year-old man gets 5-year term
for running down pedestrian, 18

By Jeff Kass Denver Rocky Mountain News Staff Writer

A judge sentenced a 65-year-old motorist to five years in prison Monday for killing a "sweet and innocent" woman in a case of fatal road rage.

Wearing a suit, tie and handcuffs, the gray-haired Leslie Dee Rogers was mostly calm as he stood before Denver District Judge Frank Martinez and was sentenced for killing 18-year-old Jessica Dismang.


Rogers lost his temper while driving May 25, 1999, prosecutors said. He hit Dismang as she walked across South Parker Road near East Mississippi Avenue.

Prosecutors argued that Rogers was darting past other motorists before hitting Dismang. Witnesses said he became enraged when a car ahead of him stopped.

The couple in that car, Laurie Goblirsch and Charles Folsum, testified that Rogers pulled within a foot of their car and honked for about 10 seconds. When he drove past them, he shouted and made an obscene gesture.

Dismang, who was not in a crosswalk, was on her way to care for her ill grandmother.

The judge did not hide his anger, noting that the killing was no accident. He dismissed 29 letters from Rogers' friends testifying that he was a good driver.

"This was a result of your total lack of judgment, your rage," Martinez said.

"You engaged in conduct that a civilized society cannot tolerate ... You were driving a missile."

Rogers faced up to six years in prison.


original here


November 14, 2000

Cop Suspended in Road Rage Incident
Sprayed Mace at Driver, Son, Police Say

By Frances Ann Burns

BIRMINGHAM, Ala. ( -- A local police officer went on suspension today for allegedly spraying Mace at a driver and his 5-year-old son during a traffic dispute.

Dwight Ray, 46, was off-duty and driving his own car but still in uniform during the July 14 incident. He also faces an assault charge in criminal court and has been ordered to get counseling for anger management.

Ray has been suspended for three weeks, said Clare Haynes, manager for employee relations in Jefferson County's personnel division. He could appeal the punishment to the personnel board, which has the power to revise the penalty either upward or downward.


Obscene gesture

Haynes said that Ray and Daniel Shane Wilson of Springville got into an altercation on Interstate 59 in neighboring St. Claire County. Wilson allegedly made an obscene gesture, Ray attempted to pull him over, and both men got out of their cars at an exit.

In a ruling ordering the suspension, Police Chief Mike Coppage said that Ray admitted becoming angry because Wilson was driving slowly in the fast lane, and that he sprayed the other man with Mace. Wilson's son was in the car and also felt the effects of the chemical.



November 15, 2000

Olney High senior shot dead
in a dispute on Walnut St.


A South Philadelphia man was charged in the death of Kevin Holmes, 18. Holmes' girlfriend saw the shooting.


In just seconds yesterday morning, two cars crashed near a parking space on a busy Center City street. And within minutes, one motorist was dead, a victim of road rage who suffered a fatal wound in front of his girlfriend and her child.

Kevin Holmes, 18, a senior at Olney High School, was shot once in the chest in the dispute, which was reported about 11 a.m. in the 2000 block of Walnut Street, Philadelphia police said.


The shot that struck Holmes, a North Philadelphia resident, narrowly missed his girlfriend and her toddler son, who was with them in the front seat of a brown 1986 Oldsmobile station wagon, police said.

"Some words were exchanged between both parties," said Capt. Thomas Lippo, describing the accident. "As a result of that, the suspect got out of his vehicle, walked up to the victim's vehicle, and fired one time, striking him in the chest."

Holmes then pressed on the accelerator and drove the vehicle for a short distance before he lost control and passed out. The car ran into two cars parked on the south side of Walnut before coming to a halt directly in front of a day-care center.


Lippo said Holmes had been driving west on Walnut when his car was struck by a green 1994 Plymouth Sundance, which was pulling out of a parking spot. The Plymouth was driven by Stephen Palmer, 25, a resident of Sigel Street in South Philadelphia.

After the shooting, the driver fled, Lippo said, but witnesses gave police a description of his car and license-plate number. Investigators tracked the car to Palmer's home on Sigel Street and began to watch it.


One police investigator involved in the case said Palmer's actions were clearly a case of road rage.

Lippo, however, declined to describe the case as road rage. "As far as we know, this is nothing more than an auto accident that went awry," the captain said.


Reached at her home last night, Mitchell said the incident happened quickly.

"The guy hit Kevin on the side of the car," she said. "Kevin stopped, and the guy got out of his car, reached for something in his car, and put it in his pocket. He came to the car and he told Kevin to get out."

Mitchell said that her boyfriend felt the driver was going to do something violent.

"He closed the door and he started to pull off," she said. "The guy came to the car and fired a shot at Kevin's chest."


Palmer was being held at Police Headquarters last night, charged with murder, weapons violations, drug offenses, and related crimes. Investigators said they found narcotics in Palmer's possession. He was awaiting arraignment today. The murder weapon was not immediately recovered.

original here


November 15, 2000

Phila. Motorist Killed in Road Rage Shooting
Witnesses Help Police Find Suspect

PHILADELPHIA (AP) -- An 18-year-old man was shot to death Tuesday after getting into an accident with another driver pulling out of a parking space on a downtown street, police said.

Witnesses said the gunman sped off in his car, hitting several parked cars.

Kevin Holmes was killed, police said. A woman and her daughter who were passengers in his car were not injured.

Witnesses who took down a license plate number helped police find the suspect's vehicle; the suspect was in a house near where the car was parked.

Stephen Palmer, 25, was arrested and charged with murder, possession of an instrument of crime, weapons violations, two counts of reckless endangerment and narcotics violations. Palmer had 30 grams of cocaine and six grams of marijuana when he was arrested, police said.


Police Capt. Thomas Lippo said Palmer's car was clipped by Holmes's station wagon as Palmer pulled out of a parking space. Palmer then got out, approached Holmes and allegedly shot him in the chest.

"This appears to be an auto accident gone awry," Lippo said.

After fleeing the scene, Palmer stopped and asked a traffic supervisor how to report an accident, Lippo said.


November 29, 2000

Road-rage chase ends with a twist

By ANN GIVENS, Orlando Sentinel

ORLANDO -- When a car clipped Eliseo Nunez's Nissan, the Orlando medical assistant wasn't about to let the driver get away. Traveling on Lee Road heading into northwest Orlando, Nunez gave chase Tuesday morning, following the car onto Interstate 4. And when three men stopped the car, climbed out and aimed guns at him, Nunez grabbed his own gun and fired.

Nunez did not know the trio were suspects in a robbery. Orange County deputy sheriffs said Franz Paul, 20, Jean David, 18, and Tony Elzar, 24, had just robbed the Cash America Pawn shop on Lee Road when they collided with Nunez's car and kept going. Moments before, the suspects had held seven people at gunpoint in the store's walk-in safe while they grabbed thousands of dollars in cash and jewelry, according to witnesses.

Deputies got the call about the robbery about 10:20 a.m. A few minutes later, they got several more calls -- including one from Nunez on his car phone as he was speeding after the suspects. The suspects' car pulled to the side along I-4, with Nunez right behind. At least two of the men had small-caliber, semi-automatic handguns. Nunez said he fired a few times at the men as they fled. Deputies caught up with them.. Two of the men had climbed a tree. The third, who had fled a few blocks away, was caught by police dogs, who bit him several times, deputies said.

The cash and jewelry were found in the car and spilled onto the ground nearby.



December 1, 2000

Bus Driver Killed in Road Rage Incident
Man Charged With Leaving Accident Scene

By Frances Ann Burns

BOSTON ( -- A veteran school bus driver died in an apparent road rage incident after she was run over by another motorist, police said.

Dana Lombardi, 45, of Chelsea was arraigned today and formally charged with leaving the scene of a fatal accident, said David Falcone, a spokesman for the Suffolk County District Attorney's Office. A judge set bail at $10,000, and Lombardi may face other charges.


Lombardi surrendered Thursday night, about three hours after Sandra Thomas was killed. Witnesses say Thomas may have been involved in a traffic accident. Witnesses saw Thomas lying on the hood of a dark blue, late-model Volkswagen Beetle believed to be Lombardi's in an attempt to keep him at the scene. Witnesses reported that the driver took off, running over Thomas when she fell in front of the car, Falcone said.

"We have a multitude of witnesses who have to be interviewed," he added.


Thomas was returning a small school bus to the garage at the time, said Paul Keith, general manager of Laidlaw Education Services, the company that operates Boston's school buses. Another bus driver radioed to the dispatcher that he had seen Thomas parked by the side of the road and outside her bus and thought she had been involved in a minor accident with another driver.

By the time the dispatcher contacted City Square in Boston's Charlestown neighborhood, a mile from the bus garage, Thomas was dead.

Tracey Lynn, a spokeswoman for the Boston public schools, said the death appears to be unprecedented in the district's history. The district owns the buses, but Laidlaw employs the drivers and provides maintenance and service.


Thomas, 57, was the mother of two grown children who live in California and had two grandchildren, Peters said. She had shared a home in Everett near Boston for 22 years with another woman.


Another version:

Co-workers, pals mourn school bus driver
killed in road rage case

Laurel J. Sweet

Dec. 5 - Left with their grief and unanswered questions, co-workers of a slain Boston public school bus driver say they're only now realizing how rich a life was lost to an apparent flash of road rage.

“THERE'S ALL SORTS of stories going around the bus yard about how she lent people money and would pick people up who needed a ride,” said a woman last night outside Sandra Thomas' wake in Everett. “She was one of only two drivers who'd polish the floor of her bus. She actually polished the floor,” said the woman, an employee of Laidlaw, the company that supplies the Boston School Department with buses, who declined to give her name.


Thomas, a 57-year-old Everett grandmother and 27-year veteran school bus driver, was crushed to death Thursday night under the wheels of a Volkswagen Beetle on Rutherford Avenue in Charlestown.

Police are investigating whether a fender-bender between Thomas and the Volkswagen's driver, Dana Lombardi, 45, of Chelsea, set off the deadly chain of events. Witnesses said Thomas got out of her bus, argued with Lombardi through his window and somehow wound up on the Volkswagen's hood, only to be run over after he allegedly gunned the car to shake her off. Lombardi fled the scene, but later turned himself in to police.

Free on bail, he is charged with leaving the scene of an accident after causing a death. As she passed out yellow lapel ribbons to mourners, Edwards said Thomas' violent death has other drivers wondering how they'll react to future traffic incidents. “I think (Thomas) died standing up for all of us,” she said.


original here


December 5, 2000

O.J.'s Road Rage?
Apparently, O.J. Simpson needs a DMV refresher course on dealing with road rage.

The former football great, who made one of the 20th century's most famous road trips, allegedly mixed it up with another motorist Monday following a traffic dispute.

According to police reports, 55-year-old Jeffrey Pattison was trailing Simpson's black Ford Navigator when the ex-running back ran a stop sign in Kendall, a suburb of Miami. Pattison says he "flicked his lights" at Simpson, who then slammed on his brakes and pulled over, police report.

The two men got into a brief but heated argument, whereby, according to police, Simpson allegedly reached into Pattison's vehicle and ripped the glasses off Pattison's face, scratching him.

"[Simpson] just tore them off his face and cut him or scratched him while he was taking the glasses off," Miami-Dade Police Department spokesman Rudy Espinoza tells the Associated Press. "That is a battery."

No charges have been filed against Simpson yet, but police say they will question him sometime Tuesday.

Simpson, though, wasn't waiting for cops to launch his counteroffensive. He put in a call Tuesday morning to WSVN-TV, a local television station, acknowledging the tiff but denying any wrongdoing.

"You got your bright lights on me, sitting on my heels," Simpson said, telling the TV station what he supposedly told Pattison. "I've got two kids in this car, guy. What are you doing?"

Simpson claimed Pattison then said something insulting. "I told him where he could go with it and I got in my car and took my kids home," Simpson recounted.


Another Version:


A motorist told police Simpson suffered a fit of road rage after the former football star ran a stop sign. The man, Jeffrey Pattinson, said Simpson berated him then ripped his eyeglasses off his face, according to a report filed with Miami-Dade police on Monday.

Simpson called Miami Fox television affiliate WSVN early Tuesday and denied acting aggressively, saying instead that Pattinson's behavior was out of line.

Pattinson told police he was driving home in the suburb of Kendall, where Simpson has recently bought a house, when a black Lincoln Navigator (news - web sites) coming from another direction ran a stop sign and cut him off as he was turning left.

Just down the road, the Navigator stopped and a man who Pattinson recognized as Simpson got out.

``So I blew the stop sign,'' Simpson allegedly shouted at Pattinson. ``What are you going to do? Kill me and my kids?'' After Pattinson replied ``What the hell is the matter with you?'' Simpson, according to the police report, reached through Pattinson's window and pulled off his eyeglasses, scraping his face.

Pattinson told police he could hear a young girl's voice coming from the Navigator saying ``No, Daddy. No Daddy.''

Simpson told WSVN that Pattinson began honking and flashing his lights. He pulled over to allow Pattinson to drive by and when he didn't, Simpson said he thought perhaps Pattinson ``was someone I knew, or maybe I had a flat, or something was wrong with the back of my car.''

When he approached Pattinson's Jeep and the other driver yelled at him, Simpson said he simply walked away.

Pattinson plans to press charges for battery and burglary, said a spokesman for the Miami-Dade County police department.

October 9, 2001

Jury Selection Starts in O.J. Simpson Rage Case

By Frances Kerry

MIAMI (Reuters) - Jury selection began on Tuesday in the trial of O.J. Simpson for alleged road rage with a Miami court seeking jurors who would not be swayed either way by the former football star's acquittal six years ago for the murder of his ex-wife and her friend.

Simpson, dressed in a dark suit, white shirt and tie, caused a ripple of excitement as he arrived in the Miami-Dade County court house. He paused in the corridor to shake hands.


Simpson, 53, said at the time Pattinson had honked and flashed his lights at him, and that he had simply walked away from Pattinson's car after Pattinson yelled at him. He pleaded not guilty to the charges at an arraignment in March.

Prosecutor Paul Mendelson said on Tuesday that state sentencing guidelines called for between two and 16 years jail time for the offenses and told the court the prosecution would H seek a sentence within this range if Simpson was convicted.

The felony count was technically a burglary for allegedly taking the glasses from the car and carries a penalty of up to 15 years in prison. The misdemeanor count was for battery and has a maximum sentence of 364 days.


Simpson's lawyer, Yale Galanter, has said the charges from the roadside dispute are frivolous and arose purely because Simpson was a celebrity.

The judge asked the group whether any of the potential jurors had not seen any media coverage of the previous Simpson cases in California.

``Not that I recall,'' said a sole young woman, raising her hand.

As the process moved on to individual questioning, the judge, prosecutor Abbe Rifkin and Galanter honed in on how much the past might influence the present.



October 18, 2001

O.J. Simpson's Latest Trial Begins

By CATHERINE WILSON, Associated Press Writer

MIAMI (AP) - A motorist who accused O.J. Simpson of road rage testified Thursday that the former football star reached inside his car and snatched the glasses from his face during a confrontation in their neighborhood last year.


Pattinson said he answered, ``Are you a madman or something?''

Simpson then reached in and grabbed his eyeglasses, Patios said. He said he heard a girl in Simpson's vehicle shout, ``No, Daddy, no, Daddy, no!''


The charges of auto burglary and battery carry a possible 16-year prison sentence. The trial before the eight-member jury is expected to last about two days.

Defense attorney Yale Galanter described a much different version of what happened. He said both men got out of their SUVs and Pattinson was holding his glasses in his hand when Simpson brushed against them.

The defense attorney also said Pattinson had pursued his neighbor, repeatedly honking his horn and flashing the lights.


Pattinson acknowledged honking his horn and flashing his lights while driving behind at Simpson for 150 to 200 feet. He denied being angry after having to slam on his brakes twice for Simpson.


Before court convened Thursday, Simpson said he was up late the night before celebrating daughter Sydney's 16th birthday. His gift was a Lexus, which she drove to the homes of several friends.

Asked if he taught her to drive, Simpson said with a chuckle, ``Yup, and I taught her to never stop.''


October 22, 2001

O.J. Simpson Takes Stand in Road Rage Trial

MIAMI (Reuters) - Former football star O.J. Simpson took the stand on Monday in his Florida road-rage trial saying the motorist accusing him of losing his cool was the one who angrily confronted him, ``puffed up like a bull frog and went off.''

``The guy got behind me and he started beeping his horn and he sat on his horn,'' said Simpson, who became a household name for his Los Angeles trial and acquittal six years ago for the murder of his ex-wife and her friend. He was subsequently found to be responsible for their deaths in a civil trial.

``It was just one constant blare of the horn,'' Simpson said of the incident in a Miami suburb last year.

``I got out of my car. I said, 'You can't do this. I got a couple kids in this car. You can't do it.' ... He just blew up. He puffed up like a bull frog and went off,'' Simpson told the Miami-Dade County court.


The former football star made clear on Monday he felt Pattinson was the one who lost his cool. His attorney, Yale Galanter, said in opening statements that Pattison had often seen Simpson and his car in the neighborhood and had been spoiling for a fight.

Earlier on Monday, Miami-Dade Circuit Judge Dennis Murphy rejected Simpson's bid for a mistrial, ruling the case had not been compromised when jurors talked to one another about the case as the trial got under way last week.

The question of a mistrial arose on Thursday when the jurors chatted in the jury box during a break in proceedings. Galanter said the panel had violated Simpson's due process rights. Judges routinely warn jurors not to talk to each other about the case they are hearing.



October 23, 2001

Simpson Testifies in Road Rage Trial

By CATHERINE WILSON, Associated Press Writer

MIAMI (AP) - O.J. Simpson testified at his road-rage trial that he thought he was possibly stopping for an autograph seeker just before he and the driver exchanged profanities in a face-to-face encounter.


Simpson and the other motorist, Jeffrey Pattinson, gave drastically different versions of the incident, which was witnessed only by Simpson's two children.


Pattinson testified that he was at his steering wheel when Simpson reached in through a half-open window, yanked off his eyeglasses and scratched his face.

Simpson said he didn't reach into Pattinson's vehicle at all and he didn't remember touching the glasses. He said his 12-year-old son Justin later told him he touched them as the men stood outside their vehicles, trading shouts and profanity. Simpson left a thumbprint on a lens.


Simpson said Pattinson followed him, flashing his lights and honking his horn. Simpson thought it might be a friend, autograph seeker or someone alerting him to car trouble. He said he stopped when Pattinson ``sat on his horn ... one constant blare of the horn'' and left his high beams on.

Simpson said he and Pattinson argued about whether Simpson cut in front of Pattinson. Simpson said he told Pattinson, ``Look, man, if I cut you off I apologize.

``At that, he blew up,'' Simpson said. ``He just puffed up like a bullfrog, got animated and just went off.''

Pattinson has testified that Simpson stormed at him, shouting, and that he asked Simpson if he was ``a madman or something.''


The jurors in the road-rage case were questioned extensively about their views of his murder trial before being seated.


October 24, 2001

Defense: Driver Chased O.J. Simpson

By CATHERINE WILSON, Associated Press Writer

MIAMI (AP) - The other motorist who accused O.J. Simpson of road rage had chased down the former football star to scold him and provoke a confrontation, Simpson's lawyers said Wednesday in closing arguments.


``Pattinson became a vigilante. That's what he does. He doesn't seek out help,'' said defense attorney Yale Galanter. ``He wants to play cop instead of calling a cop.''


Simpson denied reaching into Pattinson's car and said the men confronted each other outside their SUVs.

He said Pattinson lied about staying in his car, which led prosecutor Abbe Rifkin to ask Tuesday if Simpson would ever lie, ``especially if your life depended on it.''

Simpson responded: ``I've never been put in that position to have to lie with my life on the line.''

Pattinson had testified that he stayed in his vehicle, that Simpson stormed at him and that he asked Simpson if he was ``a madman or something.''

In two days on the stand, Simpson said Pattinson ``puffed up like a bullfrog, got animated and just went off'' after recognizing Simpson, who is a neighbor.

Simpson offered no explanation for the scratch on Pattinson's face, but explained his thumbprint on the glasses by saying it must have happened when he brushed them away as he broke off their 30-second, profanity-laced confrontation.



October 24, 2001

O.J. Simpson Acquitted in Rage Case

MIAMI (AP) - O.J. Simpson was cleared of road-rage charges Wednesday after he and another motorist offered vastly different versions of a hot-tempered exchange on a side street.

Seemingly carefree, Simpson was whistling when he walked into court Wednesday morning. He put his hand to his chest and mouthed 'Thank you' and nodded his head to the jury. He then hugged his attorneys.

Simpson had faced up to 16 years in prison if convicted of auto burglary and battery in the driving spat with Jeffrey Pattinson last year in their suburban Miami neighborhood.


24 October, 2001, UK

OJ Simpson cleared of 'road rage'


Former US football star OJ Simpson has been cleared of assault and burglary charges following a "road rage" incident last year. Upon hearing the verdict Mr Simpson put his hand to his chest and mouthed "thank you" as he nodded his head toward the jury, who had deliberated for two hours. He then hugged his attorneys.

If I cut you off, I'm sorry, but stop frigging following me. I told my kids when I got back in the car, 'this guy needs some decaf coffee.'

Simpson testimony The incident followed an argument near Mr Simpson's home in Kendall, Florida, last November.

Another man, Jeffrey Pattinson, alleged that Mr Simpson reached into his car and pulled his sunglasses off his face, scratching him.

Mr Simpson denied the charges, saying Mr Pattinson was the aggressor.


His televised trial captivated public interest in America and around the world.



October 24, 2001

Simpson cleared of burglary, battery in road-rage trial

By CATHERINE WILSON The Associated Press

MIAMI _ O.J. Simpson was acquitted Wednesday of grabbing another driver's glasses and scratching the man's face in a road-rage argument the former football star insisted was started by the other guy.


Juror Ernesto Diaz said the jury decided there wasn't enough evidence to prove Simpson reached into Pattinson's car, the basis for the burglary charge. He also said prosecutors should have called Simpson's young children, the only other witnesses, to testify.

Prosecutor Abbe Rifkin said the verdict indicated she didn't prove the charges beyond a reasonable doubt, not that Simpson was innocent. A plea bargain was discussed, but Rifkin said Simpson refused to enter a guilty plea. Going to trial, she said, "worked out for him."

The two men had offered vastly different accounts of what happened. Pattinson said Simpson ran a stop sign, then acted like "a madman" as he sat in his locked car with the window partly rolled down.

Simpson accused the other man of "sitting on his horn." He said he thought Pattinson was seeking an autograph or was trying to tell him about a problem with his car.

He denied reaching inside Pattinson's car to take the glasses and said the two men confronted each other outside their vehicles.


During closing arguments, Rifkin did everything but call Simpson a liar, saying the actor came out in him as he testified.

"He is a figment of his own imagination. He's a legend in his own mind," she said. "Mr. Simpson's story changes and evolves with time."

Defense attorney Yale Galanter said Pattinson chased down Simpson to provoke a confrontation after Simpson turned in front of him at a stop sign.

"Pattinson became a vigilante," Galanter said. "He wants to play cop instead of calling a cop."

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