Police: Steer clear of road rage

April 24, 2007|by KAREN HANNA

HAGERSTOWN - An accident in Frederick County, Md., that killed two people who reportedly exchanged obscene gestures with a man in another vehicle has local motorists worried.

Almost two weeks after Harrisburg, Pa., residents Christian Michael Luciano, 28, and Lindsay L. Bender, 25, died in the accident on Interstate 270, 1st Sgt. Chris Sasse said Maryland State Police in Frederick continue their search for the other driver.

Sasse said Monday that police at the Frederick barrack might get as many as 100 complaints about aggressive driving on busy travel days, but police in Washington County said they only occasionally investigate incidents involving road rage.

Josie Boon and her husband, Erik, said they cannot understand what possesses drivers to put other travelers in danger.

"We live in a society where things are moving so fast that nobody seems to appreciate life anymore," said Boon, who talked about the accident while she and her family took in a baseball game Monday at Staley Park.


According to police, Luciano lost control of the 1998 Chrysler Sebring convertible in which he and Bender were traveling after a pickup truck suddenly stopped on the highway. Witnesses told police the truck's driver and Luciano might have been involved in an altercation before the accident.

Maryland State Police Sgt. S. Wallace said officers at the Hagerstown barrack get a "good number" of calls about aggressive driving - speeding, unsafe lane changes, following too closely and other dangerous maneuvers - but accidents similar to what happened in Frederick County are rare.

"If people would just be a little more relaxed and calm on the road, that would help us out a lot," Wallace said.

Sasse said police have gotten more than 100 calls from people with information about the fatal accident, but they still are looking for the truck - a green or greenish-silver Chevrolet Silverado.

On an average day, he said, Maryland State Police in Frederick get at least 25 calls about road rage or aggressive driving.

Hagerstown Police Department Sgt. Chad Woodring said road-rage incidents are rarely reported in Hagerstown. At about 10:40 p.m. Friday, he said, police responded to Garland Groh Boulevard, where a 46-year-old Kearneysville, W.Va., woman allegedly displayed a gun during a dispute with a person in another vehicle. No one was hurt.

"There's conflicting stories. I guess you could say they were arguing over the right of way," Woodring said.

When a driving error happens, Woodring said, drivers should take a few moments to relax and consider what they are doing.

Erik Boon said motorists need to think about others' lives - not just their destinations - when they get behind the wheel.

"I don't believe, matter of fact I know, that the cops won't be able to stop it. People need to come to their senses: Is it really worth taking somebody's life?" he asked.

Avoiding an incident

Tips on how to avoid being in a road-rage incident:

· Don't engage or confront another driver.

· If angered, take your foot off the gas and your hands away from the horn.

· Avoid eye contact or gestures with drivers.

· Get away from the other vehicle by slowing down, exiting the highway or driving to a public place, such as a police station.

· Call police.

Source: AAA Mid-Atlantic

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