Police in Seattle are investigating a road rage altercation that ended up with shots being fired on Tuesday, and while no arrests have been made in the case, it sounds like both parties involved in the incident could have de-escalated the situation as events unfolded.
According to authorities, the incident began when the drivers in two vehicles, one a Honda and the other a Subaru, got into a verbal altercation over merging onto a Seattle highway. With their windows rolled down, the driver of the Subaru allegedly spit on the driver of the Honda, before both cars took off down the road, ending up at a red light a few blocks away.
At that point, police said the driver and passenger of the Honda got out of their car and began banging on the windows of the Subaru.
The Honda driver then allegedly punched the Subaru driver through the Subaru’s open window. When the driver of the Subaru tried to leave, he hit the Honda with his car. The driver of the Honda also said he was hit by the Subaru and was afraid he would be pinned between the two cars.
Police said it was for that reason that the Honda’s driver and passenger told officers they both shot at the Subaru, flattening a rear passenger-side tire.
However, the driver of the Subaru said he and his passenger were already driving away when the shots were fired.
Seattle police say both the driver and passenger in the Honda are concealed carry holders, and their firearms have been confiscated while the investigation takes place.
One of the problems for the investigators is the fact that both drivers and passengers are telling different stories, and witnesses have told police conflicting information as well.
If, however, the summary released by police is anywhere close to what happened, then the concealed carry holders could be facing some legal consequences. If those in the Honda really did get out of their car to bang on the windows, ultimately punching the driver of the Subaru as alleged, then the concealed carry holders needlessly escalated the situation when they could have simply driven away. Of course, if the allegations are accurate, then the driver of the Subaru also escalated the situation by spitting on the Honda driver instead of driving off muttering to himself about all of the ***holes on the road these days.
The key takeaway, for me, anyway, is the fact that none of this needed to take place. Based on what police have reported to date, it sounds like both parties chose to escalate the situation at various points in their encounter with each other rather than doing the smart (albeit less satisfying) thing and just leaving the area.
I have no idea what the ultimate outcome of the police investigation will be, but charges against both drivers are a distinct possibility. With road rage incidents on the increase across the country, gun owners and concealed carry holders may very well find themselves in a circumstance where another driver is trying to provoke them into a fight. My advice? Keep calm and carry on down the road. A chance encounter with a hothead on the highway is no reason to risk your life or your freedom if you have the ability to get away, and needlessly escalating the situation could turn an aggravating few minutes into the worst day of your life.