Road rage confrontation leads to a shooting in West Valley City

Posted at 4:39 PM, Jun 16, 2016
and last updated 2016-06-16 23:28:26-04

WEST VALLEY CITY – A road rage incident turned violent in West Valley City and a man was shot in the leg, and now police are looking for a suspect.

Rush hour traffic on 3500 South and 40th West Tuesday around 5:30 p.m. ignited some tension between drivers. One car was headed to the hospital.

“They were going for medical treatment for a family member. They were in a rush, they were trying to get there quickly,” said Lt. Blair Barfuss with the West Valley City Police Department.

Both cars were speeding and passing each other. Then, police say, things turned violent.

“He eventually got out of his car and confronted the individuals, at which time he was shot in the leg,” Barfuss said.

The man was rushed to the hospital with non-life threatening injuries.

Now police are looking for the suspect. He was last seen in a silver passenger car, perhaps a Chrysler 300 or Dodge Charger. They describe the suspect as a male Polynesian or Hispanic.

It's something police have come to expect this time of year. As the weather warms up, tempers flare out on the road, often leading to dangerous and sometimes deadly encounters with aggressive drivers.

Frustration on the roads has been building in recent weeks.

In West Jordan, police say Joseph Granados forced a motorist off the road, causing a person to crash, and fired several shots.

In May, an encounter in West Valley City turned deadly. Police say Aaron Pierce got into a heated argument with longboarder Malu Toala. The argument escalated and Pierce shot Toala in the chest.

“That's a prime example of something that doesn't make sense,” Barfuss said.

Road rage related cases are growing.

So far this year, Utah Highway Patrol has received 83 reports. Unified Police Department has handled 182.

If you find yourself in a dangerous confrontation, call 911 and do not follow the driver in pursuit.

“Sometimes the easiest way to resolve the issue is to make visual contact, wave sorry, tell them you recognize your error if that happened, and move on, get to where you're going safely and let them do the same,” Barfuss said.