When most of us think about the phrase “road rage,” we probably focus on the feelings of anger and frustration that reveal themselves when other drivers act as if they own the road. Of course, if we’re really honest about it, most of the anger is directed at actions that we ourselves are guilty of from time to time. In any event, for most of us, the experience is internal, or verbal at most.
A couple of recent stories, however, suggest that road rage goes a lot further in Travis County than anger and griping. In both incidents, firearms were involved:
- This past Thursday, police say, a Central Texas man threatened a driver with a rifle. The report indicates that Daniel Staley was in his vehicle when he allegedly began cursing at another driver. They add that Staley then pulled up next to the other car, and pointed his rifle at the man. The other driver called 911, at which point Staley apparently tossed the rifle into a neighboring yard and fled the scene. Details of the events leading up to the rifle pointing incident were not available, but Staley has been charged with aggravated assault with a deadly weapon. Using gestures and profanity is how many people act out their road rage. Staley, on the other hand, is now facing a second degree felony charge. By the way, he is also charged with DWI.
- On October 16, 2013, police say that Donathan Harris fired his weapon at another motorist in a road rage incident in northern Travis County. Harris admitted to that, and to holding the other man at gunpoint after the vehicles came to a stop. Harris said, however, that he shot at the other car because the driver repeatedly rammed his vehicle, and he feared for his safety. The case is just getting started, but police have concluded, at least initially, that Harris was the aggressor, and that when he shot at the other car, it caused the two vehicles to collide. As with the rifle incident involving Mr. Staley, Harris is now charged with aggravated assault with a deadly weapon.
In both these cases, the actors, at least according to the police, let their emotions get the better of themselves. In the process, they are now charged with felonies that could lead to as much as 20 years in prison.