Road-rage law pursued in Indiana

| Tuesday, September 14, 2004

The family of an Indiana woman who died when an irate driver forced her into oncoming traffic is pressing lawmakers in the state for a road-rage law.

Devona Blanton, Regina King and Laura Adams of Montgomery County, IN, hope to have the bill – called Lindsay’s law in memory of their 17-year-old sister Lindsay Thompson – passed by legislators in the session that begins in January.

According to the Crawfordsville Journal Review, Lindsay was driving on Indianapolis’ outer loop March 21 when she angered another driver by changing lanes. Benton Barber of Indianapolis allegedly entered Lindsay’s lane and swerved at her. He made an obscene gesture and got in front of her car and braked, the newspaper reported.

Lindsay changed lanes to avoid him and he allegedly swerved at her again. She lost control of her car, crossed the median and ran head-on into a pickup truck pulling a horse trailer.

Lindsay and her 15-year-old male passenger died at the scene. The pickup driver suffered a broken leg.

Barber’s vehicle, however, never touched Lindsay’s Pontiac Sunbird.

“What happened to Lindsay, there’s no way to prosecute it,” said Jennifer Wagoner, spokesman for the Governor’s Council on Impaired and Dangerous Driving.

Officials estimate that aggressive drivers caused nearly 7,000 crashes last year on Indiana roads, Wagoner said. But Indiana doesn’t have a road-rage law.

Since the crash, Lindsay’s sisters have been working on a bill that would define road rage and set criminal penalties for it. State Rep. Tim Brown, R-Crawfordsville, plans to introduce the bill next year if he is re-elected in November.

The road-rage bill would allow judges to order aggressive drivers into counseling.

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