Changes to ‘road rage’ bill could make it easier to catch suspects

Changes to ‘road rage' bill could make it easier to catch suspects

MEMPHIS, Tenn. (WMC) - Memphis police released video of the suspects in a road rage shooting that shut down Sam Cooper Boulevard last week.

The victim told WMC Action News 5 that he was driving to pick up a part for his car last Thursday afternoon when he noticed that the suspect was tailgating him. He says the suspect attempted to cut him off.

He said he gave the suspect a middle finger and moments later shots were fired. He said the bullet came within an inch of his face.

Memphis police released surveillance video of the alleged shooter in a light colored Ford Escape.

The male driver and female passenger were spotted driving southbound on Perkins immediately after the shooting.

Police shut down the roadway for hours searching for evidence.

Over the past year there have been dozens of interstate shootings just like this one.

“We've just got to find a way to some way to reign this in,” said State Rep. G.A. Hardaway.

Hardaway is a co-sponsor of the so-called “Road Rage" bill that was first introduced last legislative session.

The bill would increase a reckless endangerment charge in a road rage incident from a misdemeanor to a class D felony.

Hardaway says amendments are being added to the bill this year.

He wants to add new technology such as drones along Tennessee’s roadways to help catch suspects.

Hardaway also wants to urge the U.S. Attorney to file federal charges for people who commit crimes on federal highways.

“So that the jail sentences are real and that's a deterrent. You know it's not going be any plea bargaining, not going to be time off for good behavior,” said Hardaway.

In another road rage incident, Zamario Jones pleaded guilty to firing into a semi-truck on I-240 last September.

Monday he was sentenced to three years of probation.

Hardaway wants tougher sentences and he wants to apply for federal grants to pay for the new tools to help prosecute road rage incidents.

He's getting bi-partisan support from Republican state senator Brian Kelsey, but he doesn’t think federal funding is needed.

“I think it is an important enough issue that Tennessee should be willing to step up and fund this law ourselves,” said Kelsey.

The new bill with amendments should be introduced within the next couple of weeks.

Copyright 2020 WMC. All rights reserved.