The California Highway Patrol said Monday it may begin collecting or tracking information about road rage after it was revealed, following the murder of a 6-year-old boy on the Costa Mesa Freeway in May, that the agency kept no easily-accessible data on when, where, or how often road rage incidents were being reported.
“While there is no actual vehicle code designation for “road rage” for statistical collection purposes, the CHP is researching options to better track road rage incidents received by our communications centers statewide,” CHP Director of Communications Fran Clader emailed in response to an inquiry from NBC LA.
The CHP and the Orange County District Attorney asked the public this week to call or email with information about any previously unreported confrontations involving a couple now charged in connection with the murder of Aiden Leos, who was shot to death while riding in the back seat of his mother’s car on the 55 Freeway.
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“We want to know about those sorts of incidents,” Orange County District Attorney Todd Spitzer said Monday. “They could be very relevant to our investigation, both to help us understand what happened on May 21st, the day that Aiden Leos lost his life, as well as what they were doing after the event.”
Spitzer said he would support legislation to make road rage a specifically-defined crime in California, or at minimum, requiring law enforcement agencies to track crimes with a road rage component.
The I-Team reported June 7 the California Highway Patrol did not keep records of either road rage reports made during 9-1-1 calls or on crime reports, explaining that its computer system could only be searched by specific vehicle or penal code sections.
“There is no data element that would account for road rage,” a CHP spokesperson at its Sacramento headquarters said late last month.
The man accused of firing the shot that killed Aiden Leos, 24-year-old Marcus Anthony Eriz, was ordered Friday to remain jailed without bail.
Wynne Lee, 23, who is charged as an accomplice in the shooting that killed Aiden, remains jailed on $500,000 bail, although she was ordered to return to court this coming Friday for another bail hearing.
Aiden was shot on May 21. During the week of May 24-28, Eriz and Lee got into another “altercation on the freeway,” prosecutors said.
“As Wynne Lee was driving on the 91 eastbound on the way to work with defendant Eriz as her front passenger, a driver in a blue Tesla did something to make defendant Eriz angry, acting aggressively,” prosecutors alleged.
“Defendant Eriz again took out his gun and brandished it to the driver of the Tesla. That driver told the defendants that he had called the police, and then he drove away.”
A co-worker of Eriz told him on May 28 that it looked like their car was the suspect vehicle police were seeking, prosecutors said.
The Orange County District Attorney's Office is asking anyone who had any interactions with a 2018 or 2019 white Volkswagen Golf SportWagen on the 55 Freeway in Orange County or the 91 Freeway in Orange and Riverside counties involving shots being fired or a gun being brandished to come forward.
The incidents would have occurred between December 2020 and June 2021.
The DA's Office has set up a dedicated hotline for tips at 714-834-7000. Information about the suspects and prior firearm brandishing incidents can also be emailed to firstname.lastname@example.org.