After I-20 shooting, truck drivers tell how anger can escalate
MARTINEZ, Ga. (WRDW/WAGT) - Monday’s violent road-rage incident reminded us that highways can be a very dangerous place, and no one knows that better than truck drivers.
Witnesses say that pickup truck repeatedly swerved and pumped the brakes in front of Ransom’s 18-wheeler before the shooting.
“Yeah, I see a lot of road rage out on the road,” Katie Strickland said. “These drivers out here that drive regular cars, they don’t have a sense of respect for us. They don’t care if they slam on brakes in front of us or pull out in front of us, they’re on their phones.”
Strickland has been a truck driver for three years, and as a driver, she sees reckless driving every day.
She thinks the job could have pushed Ransom over the edge.
“Cars pull out in front of you. I’ve seen cars try to run into you or run you off the road, and they look at us like we’re money tickets to them. They feel like if they get in the accident with the truck, they’re going to get paid, and they don’t realize we can’t stop,” Strickland said.
Hubert Palmer is a truck driver too, and he says he sees the same thing.
“Mostly what I see is cars, cutting me off thinking that we can stop as quickly as a car. We can’t stop as quickly as the car. It takes the length of a football field to stop us,” Palmer said.
“One major thing that we see throughout is just people, people losing their cool when it comes to driving on the roadway with other people,” said Sgt. Josh Bogdanow with the Columbia County Patrol Division.
The Columbia County Sheriff’s Office gets road rage calls daily, but incidents like Monday’s that end in shootings are rare.
“We get calls on road rage incidents where a weapon has been brandished and or produced. A lot of the time that we deal with that, it’s because somebody has held up a weapon, not necessarily pointed it at somebody else,” Bogdanow explains.
They say the best thing to do in any road rage situation is to create distance, don’t antagonize, and call 911.
Columbia County does have an aggressive driving law. Road rage incidents are handled on a case-by-case basis, but the penalties can range anywhere between mediation between the drivers and arrest.
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