HOUSTON - There’s been an alarming spike in road rage assaults this year, according to Houston Police.
Chief Art Acevedo announcing a new law enforcement task force to tackle the growing problem.
Aggressive drivers beware: Acevedo said Tuesday his officers have recently started issuing citations to aggressive drivers, and you could lose your car or end up in prison if you participate in road rage.
Countless witnesses at a busy intersection in North Houston heard the shots in the latest road rage incident that turned deadly Friday. The sheriff announcing Tuesday that Davion Potts has been charged in the road rage shooting on Rosslyn Road.
“A man driving his pickup truck had been shot at,” said Sheriff Ed Gonzalez. “Witnesses reported to the deputies that the individual had been involved in a minor traffic accident with another party.”
The sheriff joined HPD, Texas DPS, and the DA’s office, announcing new plans to crack down on road rage. The chief announced a 33 percent increase in road rage shootings in 2020 compared to 2019 with 200 such shootings in the first ten months of the year compared with 150 last year. That’s despite a great reduction in commuter traffic during the pandemic.
“When we can and the law permits, we will be looking to forfeit cars,” said Acevedo. “So those that are out there acting a fool, putting people at risk, trying to hurt people, you may be doing it on foot by the time this process is done.”
“DPS will be utilizing marked and unmarked units out on the Houston freeways to locate aggressive drivers, respond to road rage incidents, and assist the sheriff’s office and HPD,” said Texas DPS asst. director Taylor.
“We’ve seen more and more situations of minor traffic incidents that are escalating into assaults and shootings,” said Gonzalez.
Acevedo said he believes there is a link between the increasing violence and the COVID 19 pandemic.
“We’re not psychologists here at the Houston Police Department or Harris County Sheriff’s or DPS or the DA’s Office, but we do know that COVID has had an impact on the collective psyche of the American people,” said Acevedo.
District Attorney Kim Ogg said she is pledging to send people to jail if caught reckless driving with a gun involved. She said using a gun to endanger people’s lives gives the DA the power to subject the car to forfeiture as a criminal instrument.
Governor Greg Abbott's Office said in a statement on Wednesday that he directed Texas DPS to provide support to the Houston Police Department in their efforts to combat road rage-related shooting and violent crime.
"The State of Texas is working closely with HPD to provide the necessary resources that will effectively combat violence in the Houston community," said Governor Abbott. "The support that DPS is providing to HPD will protect Houstonians and crack down on illegal and violent activity, including road rage-related shootings, within the city."