Driving can be a stressful activity. Sometimes the frustration comes from traffic, in other cases, it comes from aggressive or rude drivers. Most of the time these kinds of encounters end with just a honk, or a raised finger with some choice words. However, in some cases these interactions escalate into violence, known as road rage.
There have been a number of road rage incidents here in the East Bay and throughout California in the past couple of months. A young man was recently arrested for an alleged road rage shooting incident in San Leandro. A sheriff's deputy apparently saw the shooting take place, but was unable to catch up to the car due to heavy traffic. The victim was shot in the arm, and taken to the hospital with non-life threatening injuries.
After sheriff's deputies pulled over Phillip Michael Jones, who fit the description of the suspect, and they found what they believe to be the gun used in the shooting, Jones was arrested and taken to the Santa Rita jail on suspicion of attempted murder, assault with a deadly weapon, and shooting into an occupied vehicle.
Assault and battery on another person is a criminal offense, but when committed in conjunction with a road rage incident, there is a separate vehicle code violation that may also apply. Vehicle Code 13210, Court Ordered Suspension: Road Rage imposes a driver's license suspension when a driver commits an assault on the operator or passenger of a vehicle, bicyclist, or pedestrian on a highway. A first road rage offense results in a 6-month suspension, and a subsequent offense will result in a one-year suspension. The court may also require completion of a court-approved road rage course.
Road rage can result in shootings, but can also involve fist fights when the drivers stop to confront each other. However, in a recent road rage incident in Walnut Creek, an altercation between drivers ended in a stabbing. At around 4:30 pm, two cars were pulled over on the shoulder of northbound I-680. The two individuals had a short argument, then one of the drivers stabbed the other driver. The California Highway Patrol is seeking information on the suspect, who was driving a dark Nissan sedan with tinted windows, and a broken rear passenger window.
Incidents of road rage do not always involve two drivers. A man was recently arrested after smashing a driver's window with his bike lock. Ian Hespelt may have been riding as part of a Critical Mass ride, when a vehicle bumped a cyclists tire. A number of cyclists then surrounded the car, and video shows people confronting the driver. As the car finally managed to drive away, police say Hespelt smashed his U-lock on the hood and against the window. He was arrested on suspicion of false imprisonment, assault with a deadly weapon, vandalism, maliciously and wilfully throwing a substance at a vehicle, and misdemeanor inciting a riot.
A conviction for crimes related to road rage can result in jail time and a suspended license. However, an arrest does not have to lead to a conviction. At the Gorelick Law Offices, attorney Lynn Gorelick has dedicated her legal career to defending people facing criminal charges in the East Bay. With over 30 years of criminal defense experience, Lynn Gorelick understands what it means to fight for you. Contact the local East Bay criminal defense attorney who will stand up for your rights.