Crime Crime Crime Crime Escondido News Oceanside Vista

Overturned SUV, no injuries in road-rage incident on 78

REGION — Two North County residents face potential criminal charges over a road-rage confrontation that left one of the men’s vehicles overturned in rush-hour traffic on state Route 78, the California Highway Patrol reported Feb. 16.

The roadway dispute erupted for unknown reasons shortly before 4:30 p.m. Feb. 15 on the eastbound side of the freeway near College Boulevard in Oceanside.

In a line of vehicles mired in stop-and-go traffic, one of the disputing drivers, later identified as 33-year-old Kevin McCall of Vista, got out of his BMW convertible, walked back to the rival driver and accosted him as he sat inside his gray Ford Escape, CHP Officer Hope Maxson alleged.

Following a brief exchange of angry words, McCall allegedly spat on the SUV, then walked off and got back in his car, Maxson said.

At that point, the driver of the Escape, 23-year-old Andrew Carson Branch of Escondido, pulled into a center median and allegedly drove his vehicle into the side of the BMW. After hitting the car, the SUV rolled up the side of it and overturned, coming to rest on its driver’s side, Maxson said.

By then, traffic was moving again on the freeway, and McCall drove off, the officer said.

A person in a vehicle a short distance behind the feuding drivers captured cellphone camera images of the confrontation and subsequent crash, according to the CHP.

The witness shared the video clip with investigators, allowing them to readily identify and track down McCall, Maxson said. The CHP will seek misdemeanor charges against him, she said.

Branch, for his part, was arrested later in the day and booked into county jail on suspicion of felony assault.

“Thankfully, the involved parties were not seriously injured and did not injure others around them,” Maxson said. “Our roadways are no place for highway violence and this type of behavior.”

The officer urged witnesses to such dangerous roadway encounters to do their part for roadway safety by reporting the problems.

“The public’s assistance is essential to combating aggressive drivers and road rage,” she said.

— City News Service