EX-NFL star's death brings attention to road rage - WDRB 41 Louisville News

EX-NFL star's death brings attention to road rage

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LOUISVILLE, Ky. (WDRB) -- The weekend shooting death of former New Orleans Saints football player Will Smith is a reminder of a deadly problem facing all of us behind the wheel  -- road rage.

"Then he slammed his breaks on which caused me to slam mine on," Beth Sparks said.

Last week, Sparks experienced a scary case of road rage with another driver.

"He flipped me a bird, and then he stopped again to make me slow down," she said.

That's when Sparks considered calling police.

"If he had stayed right there with me, I would have called."

Sparks got away from the the other driver, however that is not always the case. In fact, Kentuckiana has seen several violent road rage confrontations in recent years.

In June of of 2007, former Jeffersontown Police officer Richard Koenig shot Darren Pickerill during a confrontation at a Kroger parking lot. In June of 2008, Yalanda Parrish shot Wesley Mosier in the chest in Jeffersonville. The two had been arguing and he approached her car. Parrish eventually went to prison for the shooting.

And In June of 2014, well-known downtown Louisville hot dog vendor Donald Hayes shot and killed Danny Wilson after an alleged road rage incident. The case is still in the court system.

"I saw a white truck swerve in front of another truck," said Lt. Joe Seelye, Commander of LMPD's Traffic Unit. Lt. Seelye said rage is a growing problem across the area. He recently witnessed a potentially dangerous situation involving two drivers.

"And I immediately acted, because it was going to be an extremely bad situation."

Lt. Seelye said to his surprise, the aggressor was an embarrassed grandmother.

"She said, 'I just can't believe I let myself get like that. I just got so aggravated," Lt. Seelye said.

"I am convinced that it is connected to our difficulties with delaying gratification," said Dr. Felicia D. Smith, PhD.

Dr. Smith is a licensed clinical psychologist and says not getting sucked into road rage could be a simple as changing your tune.

"Playing music that is conducive to being calm and relaxed instead of music that is loud and encourages more excitability or activation."

Dr. Smith said parents should also be extra careful.

"Keep in mind that you may have your children in the back seat and that your response to this difficult situation is modeling some behaviors for them."

Lt. Seelye said to also keep in mind that the other driver could deadly in more ways than one.

"Other people could be having the same bad day, and they could be armed," Lt. Seelye said

With Thunder, Oaks and Derby just around the corner, Lt. Seelye wants drivers to remember to pack some extra patience.

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