Deputy investigated in road rage incident
September 26, 2005
CARSON CITY – The sheriff’s department here is investigating an incident Saturday night in which an off-duty Douglas County deputy allegedly pulled a gun in a road rage incident.
A couple from Rocklin reported a man claiming to be a “cop” pointed a gun at them after a dispute over tailgating about 10 p.m., Sheriff Kenny Furlong said Monday.
Sean Bowers, 38, said he and his wife, Julie, were riding north on a motorcycle on Highway 395 after dinner at Casino Fandango when a green Toyota Tacoma began tailgating them.
Bowers said he tried to get over to let the vehicle pass, but was unable to change lanes in traffic.
At the traffic signal at William and North Carson streets, the truck passed him on the left in the turn lane with the passenger window down, Bowers said.
“As he passed, I could see he was on his cell phone, and I said, ‘What’s with the tailgating?” he recalled.
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He said the truck – the only vehicle in the turn lane – stopped at the light, then backed up two car lengths to ask Bower what he said.
Bower said he repeated his statement, telling the truck driver he was tailgating him through town and there were a lot of motorcycles on the roads for the Street Vibrations event.
“I said, ‘That’s dangerous. People get shot for that,'” Bowers recalled. “And he wigged out.”
According to both Bowers and his wife, the driver then pulled a gun and began shouting, “I’m a cop and I’ll shoot you!”
Julie said she jumped off the back of the bike and Bowers stood up in disbelief.
“I said, ‘You’re a cop and you’re going to shoot me for complaining about tailgating?'”
A witness who was in traffic behind the motorcycle also filed a statement Monday at the Carson City Sheriff’s Department.
The witness said he saw Bowers standing up with his arms outstretched, saying, “Oh, you’re gonna pull a gun on me and shoot me? You’re going to shoot me for that!” The witness said he did not see a gun.
Bowers said when he told the driver of the truck he had his license plate number, the man put the gun down and turned west on William Street.
According to dispatch logs, Douglas County Deputy Adam Spoon called dispatchers about 10:19 p.m. to report he’d pulled his weapon during a “road rage” incident in which he feared physical harm. Bowers called 911 from his cell phone but was disconnected.
Dispatchers called the number back at 10:34 p.m. The witness called 911 as he drove through Washoe Valley a short time later and related his story.
Douglas County Sheriff Ron Pierini said Monday that Spoon, who completed the police academy in May 2004, worked for two years in the jail before going on patrol in April.
“We are going to take this extremely serious,” Pierini said. “Obviously the criminal aspect of this complaint will be handled by Carson City. We will handle the internal end of it.”
Spoon was working on Monday. Pierini said because of the internal investigation he is prohibited from commenting.
“I was staring down the barrel of a gun. My wife is having night-mares,” Bowers said. “Nothing justifies that.”