Police are investigating the possibility that a freeway crash that injured two women was the result of road rage, according to recent California Highway Patrol reports. The accident occurred on Interestate 8 West between the exits for College Avenue and Waring Road. The two women, Kelsey Shakespeare, 21, and Stephanie Pontarolo, 33, apparently became involved in an altercation of some sort. Pontarolo, who was driving a green Tacoma pickup truck, allegedly pulled alongside Shakespeare, who was driving a silver Jetta, and swerved to the right, hitting the car. Both vehicles crashed onto the right freeway shoulder and the truck overturned.
Pontarolo was treated for cuts and scrapes to her face and body while Shakespeare was examined for back pain. Investigators are not sure what started the fight but if it can be shown that Pontarolo deliberately caused the accident, she could face attempted murder charges or charges of assault with a deadly weapon. The entire scene was apparently captured on a dashboard camera by a driver following the pair. The driver then posted the video to YouTube.
While it may be tempting to smile ironically at this story, it highlights two very important trends on our roads today: road rage and the ubiquity of cameras.
“Road rage” is the term applied to out-of-control driver behavior that can often lead to tragedy. According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, of the 6.8 million crashes in the United States per year, a significant number are caused by aggressive driving, which the NHTSA defines as driving dangerously. This does not mean that these drivers are experiencing road rage; in some cases they are simply behavior carelessly.
However, the NHTSA also notes that aggressive driving can easily escalate to true road rage. The NHTSA gives the following suggestions for avoiding aggressive drivers:
If you are injured in a road rage accident, contact Daniel M. Gilleon in San Diego for help protecting your rights.