Bizarre road rage episode unfolds in Old Town
August 3, 2010
The Park City Police Department is investigating a report of what is described as a bizarre episode of road rage in late July that stretched from lower Deer Valley to Old Town and ended only after one of the people involved got into the other’s vehicle briefly before fleeing.
Investigators are searching for the suspects, but by Tuesday morning it was unclear how close they were to finding them. Rick Ryan, a police captain, acknowledged that the case is highly unusual in Park City.
The case started at 8:30 p.m. on July 28 with the two drivers heading northbound on Deer Valley Drive between the Old Town roundabout and Snow Park Lodge. Ryan said a 56-year-old Park City man was driving an unknown vehicle when a person driving a blue Mini Cooper with a black top approached him from behind. The Mini Cooper driver closed the gap between the two vehicles, coming extremely close to the other vehicle, Ryan said.
The person in front, who had someone else in the vehicle, braked in an effort to discourage the driver of the Mini Cooper from following so closely, according to Ryan, but the driver instead inched closer. The person in the Mini Cooper followed the other vehicle to the China Bridge garage, pulled in front and blocked the driver’s way, Ryan said.
According to the police, the driver of the Mini Cooper, described as a white man in his mid-30s, got out of the car and ran toward the other person’s vehicle. The man from the Mini Cooper then yelled at the other driver, claiming he was driving too slowly and then hit the brakes, Ryan said.
At that point a woman who was in the Mini Cooper, who is described as an Asian, got out and ran at the other vehicle, according to Ryan. She opened the passenger-side door, got into the front seat, took the keys out of the ignition and then screamed, agreeing with the driver of the car she was in that the man was driving too slowly and braked quickly, Ryan said.
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The man and the woman from the Mini Cooper continued to berate the other driver as he explained to them he was going the speed limit, according to Ryan, who said the two from the Mini Cooper left in their car after a few minutes. The police were unsure how the driver regained the keys from the woman.
"That’s pretty strange, I think," Ryan said. "These people made near physical contact with this guy."
The victim heard the driver of the Mini Cooper call the woman by the name of "Suki" and she had black hair, Ryan said. The police did not appear to have a slew of other details about the people in the Mini Cooper by early in the week.
"For whatever reason, when people are driving they become almost different people," Ryan said.
He said nobody involved displayed a weapon and there were no indications that the people were drunk or had taken drugs. Ryan said the people in the Mini Cooper could face, at minimum, charges of disorderly conduct.
The Police Department did not receive a report about the case until late in the morning the day after the episode.
It is rare for the police in Park City to receive a formal complaint about an incident involving road rage even as Parkites have long complained about the amount of traffic in the city. People in the city also frequently lodge complaints about speeding drivers.
People with information about the case may contact the Police Department at 615-5500. The department’s anonymous-tip line is 615-5847.