Friday, August 31, 2012

Thoughts To Labor Over This Weekend

Take a minute to read this before you load the family in the van this Labor Day Weekend.

In the late-1980s I covered the "road rage" trial of a guy in Southern California who got mad while driving on the 91 Freeway, and fired a shotgun at a passenger van that had flashed its bright lights behind him.

The Mossberg slug pierced the van and killed a woman riding in the back. She was an off-duty police officer, and her husband was driving the van. They were rushing their son to a hospital, and had flashed their lights at night to get the guy to pull into the slower, middle lane and let them pass.

The shooter testified that he had argued with his wife earlier in the day, was still mad, and admitted drinking a six-pack. And, believe it or not, as he fired the 12-gauge, sawed-off shotgun, his toddler son slept on the seat next to him.

The jury was outraged and convicted the shooter of second-degree murder. But, it wasn't the only shocking evidence in the case.

That came when the victim's husband took the stand, and surprised everybody -- even the prosecutor -- by admitting he had tossed an "empty" can of Pepsi out his driver's window as he passed the shooter's car. At the time of shooting, he said he never told police about throwing the can because "it was embarrassing for me."

The shooter said the Pepsi can struck the front grill of his car, and it really pissed him off. That's when he fired at the van, killing the man's wife.

After the husband's damning revelation, he grimly stepped down from the witness box, shaken and embarrassed. His rash act of tossing the Pepsi can from the van had changed his life forever, and would certainly haunt him the rest of his days.

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