King County sees uptick in highway violence this year

May 19, 2023, 10:02 AM | Updated: 10:28 am

Road Rage highway violence...

Road rage continues to climb in King County. (KIRO 7)

(KIRO 7)

The Washington State Patrol says King County has had 17 shootings on its highways just this year after another shooting during an argument between drivers on Wednesday, May 17.

Troopers said a man was driving his Ford F-150 on State Route 18 going toward Interstate 5. He was following his girlfriend, and then a driver cut her off.

The girlfriend got on I-5, but the man kept following this driver on State Route 18.

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Trooper Rick Johnson said he eventually pulled up beside them at a stoplight.

“The only thing the victim did was exchange words, after which the other vehicle fired the rounds,” Johnson said. “You don’t know what another vehicle is capable of. We’re happy no one was injured in this situation.”

He wasn’t hurt, but the other driver and the armed passenger escaped.

Troopers described the vehicle as a dark-colored four-door sedan. Its driver is a woman. The passenger was described by the victim as an Asian man with a mask.

This is just one example. Last month, a driver on I-5 was shot in the face by a man the state patrol said had been driving erratically.

Troopers actually found the suspect in this case. He was at Harborview Medical Center. That’s because they say he was recovering from another shooting where he was the victim.

This shooting on I-5 could have been another road rage incident, as authorities said the victim had pulled up alongside the driver in this case, too.

Those bullets can hit completely uninvolved drivers regardless of whether it’s from road rage. At the very least, it could cause a bad crash involving drivers trying to get out of harm’s way. Johnson said it’s best to avoid a confrontation.

“We don’t want anyone to stay in the area if they observe this happening,” Johnson said.

If you’re driving along and see someone swerving, cutting off cars, etc., he said whatever you do, don’t confront them because “you don’t know what they’re capable of.

“I think sometimes when others feel like another vehicle has slighted them or they get incited when somebody violates the carpool lane. Lately, it’s motorcycles splitting lanes. People get upset with that,” Johnson said. “We don’t want anyone to drive aggressively towards someone they believe is violating a law that upsets them. Get the information and call us.”

Johnson recognized that sometimes people don’t call because they think the infraction they witnessed is insignificant, but sometimes that leads them to catch people wanted for far more serious crimes.

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King County sees uptick in highway violence this year