Innocent Illinois Motorcyclist Killed During Road Rage Incident Involving 2 Other Drivers
By Dean I Weitzman, Esq. on June 19th, 2012
A Chicago-area motorcyclist was in the wrong place at the wrong time when he was killed last week by another driver who was embroiled in a road rage argument with another motorist.
The motorcyclist, Gerald W. Puglise, 63, was heading home to his wife on his 2005 Triumph Rocket III cruiser after having lunch with a longtime friend when he was struck by a 2006 Infiniti M45 car being driven by 31-year-old Michael Moreno, according to a story in The Chicago Tribune.
Moreno was in the midst of a road rage incident with a 16-year-old girl who was driving another car, the story reported. Moreno turned his car during the incident and smashed into Puglise’s motorcycle, then fled the scene by driving away, the story said. He was charged with aggravated DUI, aggravated reckless driving and leaving the scene of an accident involving a death, all felonies.
The saddest thing about this horrific crash is that the motorcyclist, Puglise, a Vietnam veteran and a cancer survivor, was doing nothing wrong. He was minding his own business and riding home when the poor judgment of someone else killed him.
The crash occurred when Moreno “was following a 16-year-old girl with whom he earlier had clashed during a road rage incident,” police told the paper.
This wasn’t the only road rage incident reported recently. In Madison, Wis., this weekend, a 59-year-old man was charged after he allegedly rammed his car into another motorist’s car as she drove with an 8-year-old boy in the back seat, according to a story on The Capital Times Web site.
According to a recent study on road rage by the American Automobile Association, most such incidents involve men as the perpetrators. Out of 10,037 of the road-rage incidents, the AAA study found only 413 involved females as perpetrators, according to a story in The Chicago Sun-Times. The study found that almost 13,000 people were injured or killed between 1990 and 1997 in aggressive driving incidents. The incidents also resulted in at least 218 murders.
Road rage is not a joke. It is a “criminal act of assault which may stem from a confrontation that occurred on the road,” according to the AAA.
To prevent these kinds of confrontations and tragedies, the AAA recommends several steps in the group’s Road Rage brochure that can be taken when drivers fear they are being confronted by an aggressive motorist who shows signs of road rage:
- Avoid cutting drivers off and apologize if you do so
- Avoid tailgating and honking the horn
- Avoid making inappropriate or offensive gestures
- Steer clear of other aggressive drivers
- Avoid eye contact
- Seek help if you’re being followed by driving to a safe/crowded location or by dialing 911
Adjust Your Attitude
- Leave yourself enough time rather than trying to make good time
- Put yourself in the other driver’s shoes
- Take a deep breath and remember escalating a situation will only make things worse.
These kinds of incidents can serve as sobering reminders to us all of the dangers of road rage and the importance of constantly being aware of everything around us when we operate motor vehicles. It’s also a reminder of the dangers of texting while driving or doing anything else that takes our attention away from the task of driving while we are operating a vehicle. We have to constantly watch for others who might be acting out as they drive so we can’t be distracted by anything.
If you or someone you love is seriously injured in a crash involving another motorist in a road rage incident, you should get the best, most experienced legal assistance that you can find.
We here at MyPhillyLawyer always stand ready to assist you if you want to discuss your case and situation with us.
When Winning Matters Most, call MyPhillyLawyer.