Seven years ago, a trucking radio broadcaster and a very alert truck driver played a major role in the capture of the man known as the “D.C. sniper,” who is scheduled to die by lethal injection Tuesday, Nov. 10. The sniper, John Muhammad, shot and killed 10 people in random attacks around the Washington area in the fall of 2002.
On Oct. 24, 2002, Dale Sommers, aka the “Truckin’ Bozo,” had just started his midnight radio shift when police put out new information on the killer.
“I said to my producer ‘write this down!’ and then I just started harping away,” Sommers said. He recalls telling his trucking listeners, “One of you are bound to see this car if it’s on the highway anywhere in America.”
At a highway rest area in Maryland, a trucker from Kentucky named Ron Lantz was listening to Dale Sommers’ show and spotted a beat-up Chevrolet Caprice that matched the one Sommers had described. Thanks to Lantz, the police captured Muhammad and an accomplice at the rest area.
Sommers said he got off at 5 a.m. and went home to bed. He didn’t learn until the next morning that it was his broadcast that alerted the trucker, who in turn called the police.
“I got a phone call at 11:30 a.m. from the station manager, who said: “The guy who caught the sniper? Or called the police on ’em? He was listening to your show.”
Sommers’ show airs now on Sirius XM Satellite Radio on the Road Dog Channel, 4-7 p.m. Eastern.Sommers is a life member of OOIDA.
– By Reed Black, staff reporter