Larry Falce, a 70-year-old off-duty San Bernardino County Sheriff’s deputy was fatally injured in what officials have determined was a road rage attack. According to a CBS Los Angeles news report, Falce was driving his own car when he got into a minor collision at the intersection of University Avenue and Kendall Drive in San Bernardino the night of Dec. 31.
Investigators say the person in the other vehicle beat Falce unconscious and that Falce suffered a blow to the head. He died two days later. The suspect, identified as Alonzo Smith, has been charged with murder. News reports state that Smith is a well-known gang member and has had a number of prior encounters with law enforcement.
Our deepest condolences go out to the family members and friends of Larry Falce for their tragic and heartbreaking loss. Falce was apparently the oldest deputy to serve in the San Bernardino County Sheriff’s Department. Please keep them in your thoughts and prayers.
Road Rage Incidents
Road rage is an unfortunate reality on our roadways today. According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), 66 percent of traffic fatalities are caused by aggressive driving and about 37 percent of those incidents involve a firearm. Males under the age of 19 are the most likely to exhibit road rage.
Half of the drivers who are on the receiving end of an aggressive behavior such as horn honking, a rude gesture or tailgating, admit to responding with aggressive behavior themselves. Over a seven-year period, 218 murders and 12,610 injuries were attributed to road rage. And according to another survey, 2 percent of drivers admit to trying to run an aggressor off the road.
Tips to Handle Road Rage
While driving on Southern California’s freeways can be an aggravating experience, there are a few steps you can take to control road rage:
- If you are dealing with an aggressive driver, make sure your doors are locked. If an aggressive driver gets hostile and confrontational, call 911 or go to the nearest police station.
- Be polite and courteous even if the other driver is not. Avoid conflict if possible.
- Reduce your own stress by allowing plenty of time for a trop and listening to soothing music when you drive.
- Report aggressive drivers to the authorities. If you make a call, be sure to give a vehicle description, license number and the location and travel direction.