Most road rage incidents are handled with one finger and/or a horn, but Kent’s Will Davis’ near-death experience is an example of why the Washington State Patrol urges road-rage victims to never get out of their cars.
Davis told KIRO Radio’s Ron and Don a harrowing tale of driving his 12-year-old daughter back from basketball practice at Auburn Riverside at around 8:30 p.m. on Feb. 3. Davis said he merged onto Highway 18 East, talking to his daughter about basketball practice when a white truck came speeding up behind him.
“He changed lanes and passed us so I didn’t pay him any attention. We just kept driving,” Davis said. “Then he kind of fell back to where his rear bumper was even with the front of my bumper. He was in the fast lane, I was in the slow lane. And then he just kind of rode there.”
It was dark, lightly raining, and what came next might be more fitting in Hollywood than on Highway 18 in Auburn. Davis described in detail how he slowed his wife’s Jeep Patriot, trying to get out of the other vehicle’s way but the truck would not leave him alone.
“The next time I looked in my mirror, he was flying up on my rear again at a high rate of speed and he came within about a foot of hitting the back of the car,” he said.
After minutes of attempting to elude the other vehicle, Davis said he came upon his exit and he planned to get off the highway at the last second to lose the other drive, but the other vehicle managed to follow.
“Honestly I do not know how he made the exit. He actually made the exit with us,” Davis said.
“At this point, my head is swirling. I don’t know what’s going on. So I stopped, right in the middle of the exit. I got out, he stopped 10 feet behind me, and I’m just like screaming, ‘’I’ve got my 12-year-old daughter with me, are you crazy? What’s wrong with you?’ And I’m just screaming. He opens his door and he’s saying something. I couldn’t hear him because I was screaming and walking toward him … and he just punches it and tries to hit me with his door. I jumped out of the way and he misses me but he stopped and immediately throws it in reverse with his door open and tries to run me down in reverse.”
Davis says he ran. With the guard rail to the right and truck to the left, Davis ran into the vehicle’s rear.
“He put his truck right into the guard rail, with me in between the guardrail and the truck,” Davis said. “That’s where I took the brunt of my injuries. I got road rash on my right arm, my left knee, my ankle, I just kind of spun in between him until he passed me.
“I remember sparks flying and I lost my footing and I just remember I didn’t want to fall, so I tried to get back up to my feet and then everything kind of calmed down and I’m standing in front of him now. And his truck is like dead-center in front of me. All I see is headlights, and he just punches it to run me over.”
Davis didn’t realize he was on a bridge.
“I didn’t know I was on a bridge because the bridge kind of goes across the Green River … I thought I would just jump over that (guardrail) and there would be gravel and I’d just get out of his way. So when I jumped over it to get out of the way of getting hit, I fell 73 feet straight down.”
Yes, a free fall. Onto a blackberry bush. Somehow he didn’t break any bones.
“When I went over and I realized there was no ground, I was like, ‘Oh, it’s gonna hurt, don’t land on your feet. That’s all I could think of. So I was trying to get my feet up. And then, I don’t remember hitting the ground, I don’t remember the impact, I just remember being on the ground and looking up, and that’s the only lights I could see was up on the bridge deck. There were no lights down in the ravine, it’s pitch black.”
He remembers standing up and screamed for his daughter.
“I’m freaking out, I didn’t now how I was going to get out, I didn’t know how to get out,” he said. “And some lady sticks her head over the edge.”
Road rage suspect remains on the loose
Davis says he never got a great look at the driver of the other vehicle but had a few details: The driver was a white male with a thin build in his late 30s to early 50s; medium length, sandy, dirty blond hair; and facial hair. He was driving a white, two-door Chevy Utility truck with boxes over the tires. The whole driver’s side will be damaged, as the door folded to the front of the car in the attempted slam.
“Someone had to see this guy going down the road, my daughter remembers when he passed her, his door was open, she thought he jumped into the car,” he said. “He has to get a new door. A junk yard, Craigslist, someone’s got to know something.”
The Washington State Patrol doesn’t have any leads and is asking for the public’s help to see if anybody else saw the vehicle in the area.
“We don’t have any identifying numbers or anything that we can take action on just to find the person yet,” said Washington State Patrol Trooper Rick Johnson.
Johnson said Davis’ story is an example of why the WSP encourages people to call 911 and not engage with the angry driver.
“We want to stress that if somebody is driving aggressively around you, they’re probably going to be aggressive if you end up stopping with this individual,” he said. “What we encourage is say call 911 right away and we’ll start getting people to you as quickly as we can so we can intervene. I know in a situation like this, it’s not easy to gather a license plate so that’s very understandable, but yeah, we’re just hoping there might be some other witnesses that were in the area that can have some information that we can move forward on.”
Davis said he never attempted to engage with the other driver, always attempting to get away. He regrets getting out of the car but is not surprised by the action.
“When I stopped, everything was going through my mind a mile a minute. You’re not thinking clearly,” he said. “Yes, I shouldn’t have stopped, I realize that but I didn’t think he was ever gonna quit. So I was just trying to let him know, I’ve got my daughter, maybe he didn’t know my daughter was in my car. Maybe it would have mellowed him out. I wasn’t thinking.
“All being said, it could have been worse. I could have died, right there in front of my car. Lesson learned.”