Road Rage, A Gun, One Man Dies In Pierce County On I-5
February 09, 2018
Graphic: Sky Valley Chronicle
(PIERCE COUNTY, WA.) – Road rage and guns are often a toxic mix. They can produce outcomes that rarely end well and change lives forever. Thus was the case Thursday afternoon on Interstate 5 at the Pierce-King County line.
Just before 5 pm Thursday, this short tweet from a state patrol trooper: “Road rage incident SB I5 @ King/Pierce County line between motorcycle & car. Physical altercation led to shots fired. Aid & police on scene.”
Here’s what happened, according to the state patrol report on the incident. Just before 5 pm a silver 2016 GMC Terrain SUV was southbound on I-5 from milepost 138 in the HOV lane and a blue 2008 Yamaha YZFR6 motorcycle was in front of the GMC headed in the same direction.
Traffic came to a stop and the motorcycle stopped with the traffic in the HOV lane while the GMC truck stopped on the left shoulder of the highway parallel to the bike.
The driver of the GMC exited his vehicle and the rider on the motorcycle got off her bike and the two of them “started a physical altercation,” according to the patrol report and at one point “they were fighting on the ground,” said a patrol spokesperson to reporters at the scene.
It was not clear what caused the altercation to begin with.
During the fight the motorcycle rider produces a gun, fires one shot and it hits the GMC driver who was pronounced dead at the scene by Tacoma fire department paramedics.
The deceased was later identified by the patrol as 60-year old Bruce W. Jones of Roy, Washington, a tiny rural enclave of under 1,000 people in Pierce County.
The motorcycle rider, identified as 24-year old Aubrey T. Bowlin of Tacoma, Washington was injured and was taken to St. Francis Hospital after being interviewed at the scene by investigators.
A 57-year old woman, a passenger in the GMC with the same last name as the deceased was not injured but was visibly shaken, according to a patrol spokesperson.
The state patrol says the motorcycle rider called police after the shot was fired and remained at the scene and was cooperative. The patrol report said drugs or alcohol were not believed to have been factors in the incident.
The resulting investigation caused the HOV lane and four southbound I-5 lanes and the HOV lane of northbound I-5 to be blocked for three and a half hours.
The state patrol says the incident remains under investigation. No charges were immediately filed against the motorcycle rider who fired the fatal shot. The patrol report did not state who the aggressor was in the altercation.
As a general rule Washington state law allows a citizen to use lethal force as a defense if a person’s life is in direct and imminent danger and there is no other recourse such as leaving the area or running away from the scene where the danger exists.