A 29-year-old man was accused of 1st degree wanton endangerment after pulling a gun on the driver of another car. This followed a non-injury accident near downtown Louisville on November 11, 2013. Officers recovered a 9mm handgun from Christopher M. Hunt. According to the police, Hunt pointed the handgun at the other driver after the two-vehicle collision at 11th and Chestnut.
What is wanton endangerment in the first degree?
Kentucky law defines wanton endangerment and how it is classified. KRS 508.060 states that:
(1) A person is guilty of wanton endangerment in the first degree when, under circumstances manifesting extreme indifference to the value of human life, he wantonly engages in conduct which creates a substantial danger of death or serious physical injury to another person.
(2) Wanton endangerment in the first degree is a Class D felony.
On the other hand, if the person wantonly engages in conduct which creates a substantial danger of physical injury to another person, they are guilty of wanton endangerment in the second degree. Wanton endangerment in the second degree (KRS 508.070) is considered a Class A misdemeanor. This could result in fines of up to $5,000 and up to 12 months in jail.
Road rage leads to wanton endangerment charges
The gun point accident above involved road rage. Recently, an Indiana man was indicted in a road rage incident. Perrin Dobyns, 50, was indicted on a count of first-degree wanton endangerment after he allegedly pointed a handgun in the direction of another vehicle. There was another accident that took place in January 2012. This road rage incident happened at the intersection of 28th and Chestnut which ended with one person in the hospital and another in jail. The suspect was identified as Rodrique Roques who faced assault and wanton endangerment charges after firing several shots at the victims, hitting one of them in the neck.
Road rage is likely to rise in Kentucky this holiday season
In a study made by AAA Foundation, it was discovered that more than 10,000 road rage incidents were committed over seven years (1990-1996) and these resulted in at least 218 murders and 12,610 injury cases. As we are nearing the holiday season, expect that our roads will be busier than the usual. Busier roads mean more traffic and potential delays. This can be very irritating which can lead to road rage. What can you do to prevent road rage from happening?
The first thing you should do to prevent road rage is to keep calm and control your emotions. Remember that a fight won’t start unless one is willing to join. Protect yourself against aggressive drivers by refusing to become like them. Keep your cool so that you may think clearly and act decisively. Another way to prevent road rage is to plan ahead and allow extra time to get to your destination. Drivers who usually get angry on the road are those who want to beat traffic. This can cause them to drive over the speed limit and weave in and out of traffic.
As a Kentucky Personal Injury Attorney, I know how road rage or aggressive driving can become a threat to the safety of all road users. However, we can prevent road rage from happening. It all starts with us. If we learn how to deal with road rage, we will get to our destination safe and sound.