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Video: Road rage brawl shuts down Calif. traffic

Police car lights (Viorel Margineanu/Dreamstime/TNS)
April 29, 2024

A fender bender last week just outside of Santa Monica, California, led to a major road rage incident that stopped traffic on Los Angeles Freeway 10.

According to Fox 11 Los Angeles, the fight began when two men who were traveling in one car said they were hit by the driver of another vehicle. The other driver denied the allegation, and punches were thrown. 

“I came upon this father and son beating this guy over a fender bender,” Thiago Oliveira, a witness of the incident, told Fox 11 Los Angeles. “He claimed that they had hit him and they’re denying it.”

While Oliveira recorded the fight, he kept his distance from the melee for his own safety. However, as the fight dragged on and traffic reached a standstill, Oliveira decided to take matters into his own hands.

“I was like, I’m not going to get close until I realized they don’t have any guns. And I won’t get killed over this thing. But once I realized I was safe, I went over,” Oliveira stated. “I said, ‘Hey, guys, listen, we can either call the cops right now, or we can go, because there’s 50 cars behind us,’ so everybody just left.”

A video of the fight, recorded by Oliveira, was shared with Fox 11 News. The video shows one man holding another man while a third man punches him repeatedly. A fourth person, a woman, can be seen emerging from one of the cars to film the brawl. The woman appears to have been a passenger of the car belonging to the man who was initially targeted by the other two men, as she can be heard yelling, “No, babe, stop!” after the man broke free and started returning the punches. 

Los Angeles has become notorious for a high occurrence of road rage altercations, with almost 870 road rage incidents reported by the Los Angeles Police Department (LAPD) in 2022, according to ABC 7.

Law enforcement struggles to curb road rage altercations due to a lack of reporting as well as the heavy traffic encountered in Los Angeles. In an attempt to discourage drivers from taking their frustrations into their own hands, California Vehicle Code 13210 VC carries stiff penalties for road rage incidents. Drivers convicted of the road rage law can have their license suspended for six months for their first offense. 

READ MORE: Videos: Brawl breaks out at chaotic golf tournament

While most road rage involves minor offenses such as obscene gestures or yelling, they can turn deadly. Earlier this month, 27-year-old Marcus Anthony Eriz received a 40-year sentence for his role in the death of 6-year-old Aiden Leos.

Eriz was involved in a car-to-car confrontation in 2021 while on Freeway 55 just outside of Orange, California. Eriz shot into a car driven by Joanna Cloonan, the mother of Leos, and Leos was fatally struck by the bullet.