Road rage deaths spiking across the metro, reports show

ATLANTA — A recent study found that every 18 hours, someone in the U.S. is either shot and killed or injured during a road rage incident.

Most of those victims were just trying to get from Point A to Point B when they were caught in the crossfire.

Carmen Lee is one of those victims in the metro area. Just days before her 25th birthday, Lee was driving along Peachtree Industrial Blvd. in Doraville when family members say she found herself in the midst of a violent road rage incident.

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Police say an unknown gunman fired two shots into the UGA graduate’s SUV, striking her in the head and killing her.

“She was like the glue that stuck our family together,” said Alvin Lee, Carmen’s brother. “Her main priority was just taking care of family, and then just taking care of her friends after that. She’s always told me that family comes for us, and friends come second.”

According to a recent study, road rage incidents and deaths have been increasing since 2018. Researchers say 2021 is on track to be the deadliest year on record.

Bridggette Ohiembor was shot in the leg while driving along the downtown connector in April.

Ohiembor was in the back seat of a friend’s car when she says a reckless driver swerved into their lane and began firing into their car, hitting her in the leg.

“Some people just don’t have anything to lose. And at any moment, you know, they can pretty much snap and boom, that’s it,” she told Channel 2′s Michael Seiden.

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While most metro agencies say they do not track these statistics, law enforcement agencies in DeKalb County and Atlanta do.

According to DeKalb County police, officers have investigated 79 shootings involving motorists so far this year. Just three of those have ended in an arrest.

They are up from 58 incidents and no arrests in 2020 and 15 incidents and one arrest in 2019.

In Atlanta, officers have responded to 24 suspected incidents resulting in just two arrests.

In 2019 and 2020 combined, the department investigated a total of eight incidents. A spokesperson did however say they did not track the cases the same in those years.

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When asked why it is so difficult to solve these types of cases, law enforcement expert Cedric Alexander said there are just too many vehicles on the road.

“You hear the gunfire, you may see people shooting, but in those type of high stress moments, identifying people in vehicles, and even tag numbers, accurately, can be a challenge,” he told Seiden.

Carmen Lee’s family has no plans to slow down their fight for justice. They installed an electronic billboard urging anyone with information to come forward just last month.

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