Detectives calm road rage incident

OKEECHOBEE — Two local detectives happened to be in the right place at the right time and diffused a road rage incident that could have quickly become very ugly since one of the men was armed.

The incident occurred around 9 a.m. Tuesday, Dec. 15, while Detective Mark Shireman and Detective Corporal Ted Van Deman were looking for an individual at the Utah Apartments. When the Okeechobee County Sheriff’s Office (OCSO) investigators couldn’t find the individual they left the apartment complex.

While in the 100 block of N.E. 12th Street, Detective Shireman’s report stated that he and Cpl. Van Deman saw a Toyota sedan make an illegal U-turn in front of the detectives. The driver of the Toyota then stopped his vehicle and hurriedly got out of it.

The man then walked up to a white van that had pulled off the side N.E. 12th Street. The driver of the Toyota could be heard telling the other man to get out of his vehicle so he could “kick his butt!” stated the OCSO report.

At that point the detectives got out of their vehicle and approached the two men, where Detective Shireman identified himself and asked the two men to calm down. He then learned the driver of the Toyota was armed with a 9mm handgun and had it in his pocket. That man also had a concealed weapons permit.

Detective Shireman stated the gun was checked and it was not stolen. The owner of the weapon also had a valid permit, added the investigator.

According to the detective’s report the driver of the Toyota indicated the problem started when the other driver cut him off then changed lanes in front of him.

“The only violation witnessed was a failure to yield the right of way during a U-turn. No other crimes were committed,” stated Detective Shireman.

The detective then explained to the gun owner how hazardous his actions were, especially when they stemmed from a traffic problem.

He reportedly went on tell the man how much more serious the incident could have become by “… introducing a firearm into the scenario — not in defense of his own life, but as an aggressor by posture and verbalization.”

After speaking with both men, the incident was resolved and the men were allowed to leave without any charges being filed against them.

Eric Kopp is a staff writer for the Okeechobee News

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