Road rage investigation

Saturday, April 21st 2001, 12:00 am
By: News On 6

Police say it's a growing problem in Green Country. Losing your temper on the road isn't only dangerous; it could also land you in jail. KOTV's Tami Marler says two local drivers are sorry they took matters into their own hands. A cat-and-mouse road game landed two people in the hospital; one of them could end up behind bars for a long time. Oklahoma Highway Patrol trooper Bob Griffith, "We are an aggressive society. We are an aggressive society full of anger and rage. And when we get in an automobile, we feel anonymous." And we can stay anonymous, as long as we don't lose control, like Trooper Bob Griffith says happened between 33-year-old Duane Qualls and 49-year-old Virbil ODell on Interstate 44. "I think he really expected her to be what we all would think of a 49 year-old woman to be. A little bit docile, a little bit passive in the eye of anger and rage." But with a stream of rush-hour traffic in her wake, Odell was anything but passive and docile. "Right here is where this all started. And it didn't stop from this point until we get almost to the 161st off ramp up here." It's not clear who started the confrontation. Troopers only have witness accounts after it heated up. They say Qualls pulled off to the side of the road and got out of his car, apparently to confront Odell, who followed. As Qualls approached, authorities say she rammed him, sending him onto the hood of the car, where he clung to the windshield wiper for his life. "She was seen to be laughing hysterically in his face, as she was driving down the road, at speeds of 90 plus miles and hour." For more than a mile, until she reportedly hit traffic sign and rolled her car down an embankment over Qualls. They both face grave consequences. "She is looking for some very serious time in prison, and him probably several large fines for his participation and traffic violations." Not to mention that he's in the hospital now with a severely broken arm. Which could have been a severely broken neck. Or dead." There are some tips to protect yourself from road rage. Call police immediately if you're being bullied, then, get out of the way. Don't challenge angry drivers; avoid eye contact; and ignore rude gestures. ODell faces charges of driving under the influence and assault with a deadly weapon. She has been arrested for DUI in the past.