During rush hour Thursday, Dec. 12, apparent road rage led to the shooting of a juvenile on the Loop 303 near Camelback Road in Goodyear.
According to Lisa Berry, a spokeswoman for the Goodyear Police, at 3:58 p.m. on Dec. 12, “a driver of a Chevrolet Camaro was shot by an occupant in a pickup truck.”
The shooting took place northbound on State Route 303.
“The male driver of the Camaro was shot in the leg and transported to a nearby hospital. He has been released and is expected to make a full recovery,” Berry said.
Police released a photo of the truck believed to be involved in the shooting.
“The suspect truck is believed to be a 1997-2004 Ford F150. Although the shooting took place on the 303 at Camelback, the incident likely began near I-10/Loop 303 during an act of road rage,” Berry said.
She asked anyone with information on the incident to call Goodyear Police Investigations at 623-882-7484.
Berry declined to provide information on the age or residence of the shooting victim. “I don’t have any more detailed info to release as he is a juvenile,” she said.
Many said it was bound to happen, with road rage perceived to be on the rise in the West Valley in general. Some added the specific area where the shooting took place is known for aggressive drivers.
There were numerous emotional comments to the West Valley View’s Facebook postings about the shooting.
“I travel the 303 frequently. There have been many aggressive speeders lately and I have not seen any officers in a while,” said Kimberly Rock.
“Just this week, (on) Sunday night, I was drafted on, and that car and the car I moved over for, were racing.
“More police presence is needed on this highway!”
Lenny Quint said he is a regular driver in the area of the shooting.
“People drive at high speeds and very distracted on this stretch of 303,” he said. “There needs to be more law enforcement, it is very dangerous.”
Several suggested 303 drivers want to be in NASCAR. “Indian School between Pebble Creek and 303 is a race track,” said Cindy Wadsworth.
Linda Herring offered a suggestion: “Some people need anger management classes before being issued a driver’s license.
“There’s so much road rage it’s scary.”
Nicole Naquin agreed: “Road rage is on the rise.”
Some stated trying to obey the laws can be dangerous, in the West Valley.
“When driving the speed limit as posted, people are veering around and crossing lines that shouldn’t be crossed in anger and soon we are going to see major a accident,” said Tina Vandiver Henson. “There needs to be patrol and tickets in this area. Very unsafe!”
Holiday stress could be part of the problem, Jayneil Ingels suggested: “I feel like everyone expects you to be in a rush and be aggressive or you’re a bad driver or ‘slow.’ They drive very fast and tailgate horribly. It’s been worse this December, major holidays are stressful.”
P.J. Flannery suggested an influence from Arizona’s western neighbor is creeping in: “I think people just tend to drive faster and more aggressive on the west side. Dare I say California style?”
Road rage “is on the rise but so is flagrant disregard for road rules and absolutely idiocy. There is absolutely no courtesy and nobody thinks at all,” Trisha Coyle added.
Rude and dangerous driving is hardly isolated to the West Valley.
Psychology Today has an article on road rage at psychologytoday.com.
“Some people who are ordinarily even-tempered admit they have a tendency to easily lose control of their emotions when they get behind the wheel. Their fuses are lit when they put their keys into their ignitions,” the article stated.
“For some road ragers, it’s a need for control, to counter other drivers whom they feel violate their proxemic space, or it’s a need for possession of their lane or their part of the road. For others, it’s unchecked anger and aggression. It’s hormone-based, primitive, small-brain thinking, bringing a lack of emotional intelligence and the need to dominate someone else and their unshareable space.”
Advice from police
What to do when encountering an aggressive driver?
“First, when driving, that should be your main focus,” said Sgt. Jason Seabright of the Goodyear Police Traffic Division. “Do not let yourself become distracted. Distracted driving is a major factor in many collisions.
“We have seen many cases where drivers unintentionally cut someone off or do something that angers another driver which then leads to a road rage incident. If faced with an aggressive driver, you should not let your emotions get the best of you and react irrationally.”
He advised getting out of the way, when possible.
“The best bet is to make a turn or move to another lane and let the aggressive driver pass you,” Seabright said. “If you feel your life is being threatened or the other driver’s behavior is bad, then when you can safely do so, call 911.”
When calling 911, he noted, “Be prepared to give as much identifying information as possible such as driver description and license plate. Just don’t put yourself in danger to get this information. Create as much distance as possible.
“You just never know the other driver’s mindset or what is going on in their life. As we have seen, people are unpredictable and it only takes one incident to impact your life.”
Seabright was asked if road rage is on the rise.
“I think there has been a slight increase in aggressive driving and road rage, possibly due in part to the increase of population in Arizona,” he said. “And there has been an increase in the reporting of these incidents.”
The 303 shooting took place just outside Glendale.
Jay O’Neill, a spokesman for the Glendale Police Department, provided similar advice for those who encounter aggressive drivers.
“The first thing is, try to get away from that driver,” O’Neill said.
O’Neill stressed it is best to call the police and let them handle things.
“A lot of times people will call us and want to follow the driver to make sure the driver is punished. That can aggravate the situation,” O’Neill said.
Erick Garcia Castillo had some advice police around the West Valley likely would thumbs-up:
“I used to get wrapped on that crap but now I have learned to let it go and get back to my family safe.”