HOUSTON, Texas – Two drivers are counting their blessings after they escaped unharmed following two separate road rage shootings in Harris County.
**KPRC 2′s Gage Goulding will have more on this story at 10 p.m.
The two incidents are entirely separate. However, the circumstances couldn’t be any more similar.
Johnnie Wakeland and Anna Miller have never met one another before, but both of their trucks have similar bullet holes in the driver’s side doors.
Both Wakeland and Miller are victims of road rage shootings during different incidents along Grand Parkway (TX 99) near TX 249 in the Tomball area of Harris County.
In both cases, they passed someone driving slowly in the fast lane. That resulted in flaring tempers and the other drivers pulling guns and shooting at them.
“I heard the gunshot, and I heard it hit my truck,” Miller said.
“I like, hear like ting, ting, ting,” added Wakeland.
Anna was the first to be shot at. She was driving west on Grand Parkway when she came up behind someone going a little slow in the fast lane on January 20.
“A car was going slow in the fast lane, so I started slowing down and they started brake checking me, hitting their brakes, hitting the brakes,” Miller explains. “So, I just went around them, to get away. Because I was like, ‘I’m not dealing with it.’ When I did, I had to slow down a little because there was another car that I was approaching to and I guess they didn’t like that. Then they came speeding up right behind me and started flashing all their lights at me. So, then I was just trying to get away from them. I got away from them for about two minutes or so, and then they came up and started messing with me again, flashing their lights, riding right on my tail.”
She describes the vehicle as an SUV that looks like a Dodge Durango with a license plate beginning with “SJ.” That’s all she knows about the vehicle that shined a flashlight at her and then started shooting. The bullets hit the driver’s side rear door of her white Dodge 1500 truck.
“I heard the gunshot and I heard it hit my truck. I just heard a shattering noise,” she said. “I just got shot at. It was the scariest moment of my entire life.”
Wakeland’s situation is very similar. He too was driving west on Grand Parkway near TX 249. He came up on a slow driver in an SUV that looked like a Toyota Four Runner.
“I go around them, they flash me, I brake, check them,” he explains. “We like, go to switching gear in the left-hand lane. We switch over to the right-hand lane. They keep flashing me. Drive up. They pulled up next to me and shot five times.”
While brake checking someone is never a good idea, it doesn’t warrant being shot at five times.
“When they pull up next to me, I just look over and it seems like a flash,” Wakeland said.
His life also flashed before his eyes. A bullet went right into the seat cushion below him.
Gage: “You’re sitting on it somewhere in there.”
Johnnie: “Yeah. It’s somewhere.”
Gage: “I mean you almost got Lieutenant Dan.”
Johnnie: “Yeah, 100%.”
Keeping on the theme of Forest Gump, he also found a bullet in his running shoes.
Johnnie: “One went in my shoe. But it’s like I didn’t find it in my shoe till I got home 40 minutes later.”
Gage: “And this shoe was on your foot.”
Johnnie: “On my feet. Yes.”
A Yeti cup in the backseat also got destroyed. A bullet piercing the metal cup and ending up somewhere in the truck.
“It still blows my mind to just think about it,” he said.
What might blow your mind is the fact that road rage incidents and shootings stemming from flaring tempers on the freeway is something we’re seeing all too frequently.
“I think there’s a lot of contributing factors as to why we may see an uptick in increase in road rage, road rage incidents,” said Captain Jonathan Zitzmann of the Harris County Precinct 4 Constable’s Office. “You know, unfortunately, over the years, road rage incidents have become so prevalent.”
Even worse, cases like these are incredibly difficult to solve and prosecute. Many times there is no concrete evidence to locate the suspect and prove they pulled the trigger.
“There’s a lot of a lot of pieces that have to be identified in order to try to get some investigative leads,” said Captain Zitzmann.
Based on the description of the vehicles, it looks like Wakeland and Miller’s incidents are not connected, other than the location of the shootings and the vehicles they drive.
“Maybe they don’t like the Dodge trucks,” Miller said.
There are some things to keep in mind in case you find yourself in a heated situation on the highway:
- Change lanes to create space between you and the other driver
- Never make hand gestures or yell
- Never pull out a weapon of any kind
- If road rage occurs, do not follow the other vehicle
- Call 911 if you feel threatened
“You could take someone’s life and you don’t even know it. You could injure someone. You could affect them for the rest of their life. You could hit someone’s child,” Miller said. “Don’t do it. It’s not worth it. Just take your time. Leave a little bit earlier, get to where you need to go and you know, realize that not everyone is going to drive the same as you and it’s okay. But don’t get mad.”