A Selah man is being held in lieu of $100,000 bail after Washington State Patrol troopers said he shot at another motorist in a road-rage incident on U.S. Highway 12.
Troopers went to the area of the highway’s North First Street exit around 10:30 a.m. April 5 on a report of a drive-by shooting. They found a driver whose Nissan Rogue had three bullet holes in the right front side, according to a probable cause affidavit.
The man told police he had been driving north on North 16th Avenue when an SUV cut him off on the U.S. 12 on-ramp, the affidavit said, and he honked his horn. After getting on the highway, the man said he got in front of the SUV and “brake checked” the other driver, the affidavit said.
Then, the SUV went around the man’s Nissan and the driver pulled out a pistol and pointed it at him, the affidavit said. The SUV’s driver then fired several shots as the Nissan driver slammed on his brakes, the affidavit said.
Based on a partial license plate number given by the man and security camera footage from businesses along North 16th Avenue, troopers were able to identify the owner of the SUV, spotted the suspect and arrested him, the affidavit said.
While the Nissan’s driver was not able to pick the suspect out of a photo lineup, troopers confirmed the suspect’s identity based on security footage from a fast-food restaurant the suspect stopped at minutes before the incident, the affidavit said.
Defense attorney Beth Wehrkamp said the victim’s inability to identify the suspect warranted a lower bail during a preliminary appearance hearing Wednesday.
But Deputy Yakima County Prosecuting Attorney Heather Thorn said the fact that the shooting took place on a state highway was concerning, and a $100,000 bail was justified.
“It could have been much worse if other cars were around,” Thorn said.
Yakima County Superior Court Judge Richard Bartheld pointed out that the evidence showed the Nissan’s driver would likely have been wounded by the bullets had he not slammed on his brakes.