FORSYTH COUNTY, N.C. -- Following an incident being investigated as possible road rage – where a man allegedly fired shots at people in two Piedmont Triad counties before hitting a deputy head-on in Forsyth County – troopers are offering tips to avoid enraged drivers as road rage becomes more frequent in the summer months.
Deputies say on Tuesday, 24-year-old Alexander Jared Franklin threatened a road work crew on Vance Road in Forsyth County before waving his handgun at them. After the crew called 9-1-1, the Forsyth County Sheriffs office says Franklin tried passing a dump truck before colliding head-on with their lead deputy as he responded to the call.
“The guy told us, he goes, ‘I wouldn’t go that way, that guy’s crazy, he has a gun,’” said Debbie Childress, who lives on Vance Road and nearly came face-to-face with Franklin.
Before the Vance Road incident, investigators say Franklin fired shots at people in both Davidson and Guilford counties. The Guilford County Sheriffs Office tells FOX8 Franklin drove at two surveyors working on Norcross Road in Colfax and fired shots at them. Deputies say Franklin also fired shots at people in Davidson County, as they attempted to stop him from driving recklessly.
“Seeing somebody with a gun is scary,” said Debbie’s husband, Kenny Childress.
The North Carolina Highway Patrol says typically, road rage – like most crimes – happens more often in the summer. Many times, it begins with tailgating then escalates once someone does something like slamming on the brakes.
“I’ve seen people pull over and jump out,” said Kenny Childress, who adds he used to drive a truck for a living. “People swinging at each other, or whatever.”
Highway Patrol says the best way to keep yourself safe if you see road rage is to get away if possible. The best practice is not to interact or gesture toward the person and avoid eye contact if possible.
Many times, troopers say, enraged drivers are already looking for a reaction, and looking to escalate, before a potential victim has even encountered them. By ignoring them altogether, they say, the driver will often move on.
“You just come to expect it,” Kenny Childress said. “As crazy as it is nowadays, you never know what’s going to happen.”
Troopers say if you’re a victim of road rage, call 911 immediately. You can also dial *47 (HP) for Highway Patrol. They add that many times, people report incidents hours after they happen, and by then there’s either not much they can do, or the road rage has escalated into something worse.
Franklin is due in court on June 28. His charges out of Forsyth County include assault on a government employee, assault with a deadly weapon, possession of a firearm by a felon, possession of methamphetamine, going armed to the terror of the public and two counts of resist, obstruct, and delay an officer.
Information on forthcoming charges out of Davidson and Guilford counties were not available on Wednesday.
No injuries were reported in any of the incidents.