Police: Keep an eye out for aggressive drivers

Police: Keep an eye out for aggressive drivers

RICHMOND, Va. (WWBT) - Police are urging drivers to be on alert for aggressive drivers this holiday weekend after a car was shot at in Petersburg.

On Tuesday, Virginia State Police said officers were investigating a shooting that happened around 3:30 p.m. in the area of I-95 north near Wythe Street in Petersburg.

Investigators said an unidentified man driving a dark-colored Lexus shot at a Toyota Camry, striking it in the rear driver side. No injuries were reported.

NBC12’s personal safety expert, Mike Jones, said these situations do happen with some frequency but tend to “spark out of nowhere.”

“It gets reported because one, we need to let the public know it happens,” Jones said.

There are several high profile cases along Richmond's busy highways that involve someone firing a gun at another vehicle.

In 2017, Tanna Gardner and Sharayne Holland were killed after multiple shots were fired into their car at the I-64/I-95 interchange.

A year before that, Vernon Huff was killed on I-95 in Caroline County after police said someone in a car fired shots into his car.

In 2013, Betty and Tom Doyle miraculously survived after they were shot on I-95 near the Chippenham interchange. Tom Doyle was paralyzed.

“It went through the driver’s side window, hit my husband in the back, hit me in the face,” Betty Doyle said. “At first we had no idea what it was.”

“First thing you need to keep in mind is basic physics,” Jones said. “When you’re going at 70 mph and you see something happen, slow down.”

Jones said it’s critically important to be aware of your surroundings while driving.

“The shootings have come from populated areas,” he added. “So, when you’re driving by there, get in the left-hand lane instead of the lane closest to the populated areas. Have another vehicle between you.”

State Police spokeswoman Sgt. Keeli Hill said if you encounter a driver exhibiting signs of road rage never stop or try to engage the driver.

“Always let the aggressive driver continue on his or her way and then drive to a safe location to promptly call the police,” Hill said.

“It takes two to tango, and when it comes to road rage, the victims have to make sure they don’t contribute to their own death,” Jones said.

Hill said a game of “cat and mouse” is what led up to the shooting of Sara Bruehl in New Kent County 20 years ago. Investigators are still searching for witnesses who may have seen what happened on the highway that night.

But witnesses are important in any shooting situation, especially out on the highway.

“All information is considered valuable in investigating any incident that may occur,” Hill said.

Police also encourage you to get the license plate number of the aggressive driver if you can, and always call 911.

“It’s not just you that you’re protecting, it’s everybody else on the highway,” Jones said.

Jones said most vehicles are equipped with Bluetooth and phones have voice assistance options to allow you to call dispatchers without the aggressive driver knowing.

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