Some road rage incidents over the years in Jamaica Loop Jamaica

The content originally appeared on: Jamaica News Loop News

Jamaica’s roads have sometimes become battlegrounds, with drivers engaging in violent and sometimes deadly confrontations over even minor issues.

In recent years, a number of videos have gone viral showing drivers brandishing weapons, physically assaulting each other, and even pulling guns on fellow motorists. The incidents have resulted in serious injuries, arrests, and even some fatalities.

Experts attribute the rise in road rage to a combination of factors, including increased stress and anger among motorists who feel aggrieved by other motorists after traffic mishaps or other incidents while driving. 

Here are a few of those incidents:

Illegal cabbie’ smashes Pajero 

The latest incident of road rage was caught in a video which surfaced online on Sunday, April 29, 2024, showing the driver of a Toyota Probox motorcar smashing a window of another vehicle after a two-vehicle collision in the Half-Way Tree Road area of St Andrew. The incident occurred two days before the video went viral on social media. 

The 37-year-old man, Peter Bramwell, has been labelled as an “illegal taxi operator” by the police, and was subsequently slapped with charges of disorderly conduct, malicious destruction of property, and assault occasioning bodily harm.

According Assistant Commissioner of Police Gary McKenzie, Bramwell, who was driving the Toyota Probox motorcar, was involved in a collision with the driver of the Pajero on or about 6pm on April 26 in the vicinity of the National Baking Company.

Snippets of what happened next were captured on video by a female passenger travelling in the Pajero. In the video, Bramwell is seen breaking the other motorist’s car window and seemingly attempting to inflict wounds to the driver.

The woman screamed in horror as Bramwell continued smashing the window.

After exiting the vehicle with the Pajero driver, she then appealed for assistance in calling the police for help, this while the driver of the Pajero tried to dodge Bramwell’s continued rage.

Licensed gun holders in road rage dispute, clash

On July 19, 2022, two men who were believed to have been licensed firearm holders, traded bullets after a reported dispute stemming from a road rage incident in bustling Sam Sharpe Square in Montego Bay, St James. The incident was captured on video, and resulted in a massive traffic build-up at the time.

Both men sustained gunshot wounds and were hospitalised.

Reports from the Freeport police at the time suggested that about 10:30 am on the day in question, a firefighter was driving a white BMW motor vehicle in the vicinity of Sam Sharpe Square, when his vehicle was reportedly hit by a bus.

Both men parked their vehicles in the middle of the roadway and engaged each other in a verbal conflict, resulting in a major traffic jam.

They were then approached by an elderly tour bus operator, who demanded that they clear the roadway.

That intervention resulted in another heated confrontation.

Both motorists were reported to have got into a physical confrontation, and the tour bus operator then reportedly pulled his firearm and opened fire, hitting the firefighter in his foot.

The injured firefighter reportedly drew his own weapon, and shot the busman in the hand.

Both men were subsequently relieved of their firearms by the police, and were transported to Cornwall Regional Hospital, where they were treated.

It is not clear what became of that incident, including if any charges were laid against any of the men.

Woman and child in car threatened by armed motorist 

In March of 2021, the Jamaica Constabulary Force (JCF) said it had launched a probe into a road rage incident in a section of the Corporate Area, which reportedly involved a firearm holder threateningly flashing a gun at a woman and her children in a motor vehicle. 

A video of the incident began circulating on Sunday, February 28, 2021, but it was not clear when the incident actually occurred. However, the incident was believed to have occurred along Old Hope Road in St Andrew. 

There was also no information on what transpired between both motorists that led to the gun-toting incident. 

Social media users were, however, horrified by the incident, and it generated discussions online at the time on the need for motorists to exercise restraint in their behaviour on the roads.

The near two-minute video showed both motorists heading in the same direction along Old Hope Road.

Shortly after the female motorist stopped her car beside the male driver, the man brandished a firearm.

The female motorist’s children pleaded with her to let the matter go, but she traded words with the armed male motorist. 

“Sir and mommy, done nuh,” pleaded a frightened child in the front passenger seat of the woman’s vehicle.

“Fire it nuh? Fire it,” said the woman while hurling expletives at the male motorist, who then pulls up his car window.

“Si da bwoy yah, him point him gun after mi in front a mi daughter and mi pickney dem. See it deh! Mi get him licence plate numbah,” the woman said.

The man, in his red motor vehicle, then drove off.

“Yuh should a fire it p……. Fire mi want yuh fire,” the woman continues before the video ended.

It is not clear if the male motorist was ever located by the police.

Driver charged after fatal stabbing of another during road rage

While not caught on camera, a road rage incident reportedly resulted in the stabbing death of a motorist by another during an argument after their motor vehicle mirrors collided on the Decoy main road in Toll Gate in Clarendon on Sunday, October 29, 2023.

The Jamaica Constabulary Force (JCF), in a media release at the time, said that 39-year-old Christopher Sullivan, otherwise called ‘Bread’ a labourer of Ebony Park Housing Scheme, Toll Gate, Clarendon, was charged with murder stemming from the incident.

The deceased was identified as 28-year-old Okan Kelly, a supermarket worker of Decoy district, Toll Gate in the parish.

Reports were that about 2pm, Kelly was driving a Toyota Axio motorcar along the roadway when a mirror of his car collided with a mirror of a Toyota Probox that was being driven by Sullivan.

Both drivers stopped and an argument developed between them. During the dispute, Sullivan reportedly used a knife to stab Kelly to his upper body.

The police were alerted and Kelly was taken to hospital, where he was pronounced dead.

Following an investigation into the matter, Sullivan was arrested.

He was charged after he underwent a question-and-answer session in the presence of his attorney.

Elderly man shoots taxi man in road rage

Loops News reported in December of 2021, that an elderly man reportedly shot a taxi driver in the leg during an apparent ‘road rage’ incident in Liguanea, St Andrew.

The incident reportedly occurred on December 9, 2021.

The police’s Corporate Communications Unit (CCU) confirmed the shooting to Loop News at the time, but it did not reveal the identities of the men who were involved in the incident.

Loop News learnt then that the male taxi driver was reported to have committed a driving infraction against the elderly man, who spoke to him about it.

A heated argument reportedly developed between the two men, which led to a physical scuffle. 

The elderly man then reportedly pulled a gun, which was believed to have been a licenced firearm, and shot the taxi man.

Road rage leaves motorist dead in Manchester 

On June 17, 2020, a road rage confrontation resulted in a shooting that left a motorist dead and another injured in Coleyville on the outskirts of Christiana in Manchester.

The deceased was identified as 30-year-old Paul Parker of Springfield in St James.

A farmer, said to have been then in his 50s, from Manchester, was treated for bullet wounds stemming from the incident.

Reports at the time suggested that an argument developed between Parker and the farmer about 10:15 pm.

Further reports were that the farmer, who was said to have been a licensed firearm holder, was travelling in his truck along the Ticky Ticky main road when he encountered a car being driven by Parker in the opposite direction.

Both drivers had difficulty for their vehicles to pass each other, resulting in an argument between the men.

It was reported that both men then fired at each other, and each sustained bullet wounds.

Parker was found dead at the scene, while the farmer, who sustained bullet wounds to the neck and shoulder, drove to the hospital for treatment. 

There are no further indications of any media reports on the outcome of that incident.

Theories on road rage

An article entitled ‘Restraining Road Rage‘, which was published on the Jamaica National General Insurance (JNGI) website on November 29, 2022, said in part, that, “Despite the various anecdotes one may be able to recall, statistics on road rage incidents in Jamaica are not available.

“However, 2019 traffic safety data provided by the American Automobile Association (AAA) Foundation found that, “nearly 80 per cent of drivers expressed significant anger, aggression or road rage behind the wheel at least once in the previous 30 days.”

The article added that, “Yelling, cursing, excessive honking and the use of profane language and gestures are often directed at the targeted motorist, cyclist or pedestrian to offend and intimidate. In extreme cases, road rage can escalate into an assault.” 

In the article, Lynford Reece, Senior Manager – Distribution, JN General Insurance, and a road safety advocate, said aggressive behaviour while driving creates a road safety issue.

“Road rage affects your judgment and composure. It can also lead to risky driving behaviours, such as tailgating, forcing a motorist off the road, impeding traffic flow, and speeding.  Furthermore, it can result in a retaliatory action that puts other road users in harm’s way,” Reece stated then.

How to handle road rage

In the same article, Victor Anderson, Programme Coordinator, National Road Safety Council, pointed out that there are many triggers of road rage, but anger is the most common cause.

“A driver becomes irate because another driver does something that is viewed as disrespectful, and responds in an aggressive manner. Road rage is an unfortunate occurrence that can become deadly; therefore, avoid all conflicts, even if you are right,” Anderson advised. 

He outlined the following guidelines on how to handle a confrontation with an aggressive driver:

▪︎ Apologise if the incident was your fault. You can do so by raising your hand.  Even if you were not at fault, still try not to add fuel to the argument by defending yourself.

▪︎ Don’t retaliate. Avoid making a bad situation worse.  Keep as calm as possible. Endeavour to be the peacemaker by not responding to rude gestures and comments.  This is one of the quickest and most effective ways to defuse a confrontation. 

▪︎ Don’t make eye contact.  This will help to quickly reduce your tension and that of the aggressor.

▪︎ Keep your doors locked and your windows up. Also, don’t get out of the vehicle if you feel threatened. Call the police, if necessary.

▪︎ Don’t underestimate the other driver’s potential for aggression. As you do not know what could trigger further violence, try not to say anything.

“By simply pledging to show courtesy and consideration for other road users, you can significantly help to reduce incidents of road rage, thus making our roads safer. Keeping one’s cool can defuse aggression,” Anderson maintained.