Tennessee lawmakers propose stronger consequences for aggressive drivers

(Fox 17 News)

Tennessee lawmakers want to put the brakes on road rage here in the mid-state. It's a growing problem with some even claiming lives.

Road rage is serious enough for Metro Nashville Police Department to dedicate an entire unit to it and offer support online to report aggressive drivers.

A year and a half goes by, and Jason Sparks returns to where his younger brother lost his life in a road rage shooting.

"This is the first time I've been here since it all happened, and even when people honk it freaks me out let alone when people are driving aggressively," Sparks said.

In Fall 2016, police said a road rage incident turned deadly when a silver Chevy Impala driver shot Christopher Sparks' car on Ed Temple Boulevard and Buchanan.

"Somebody shot my brother with a gun while he was driving home to walk his dog at lunch in broad daylight on a busy road," Sparks said. "In one block, they make the decision to kill somebody and have the power to do that and just drive away. Oh God, I think about....I think about what were the last things he saw as he died in his car...or if he expected whoever was driving next to him and yelling was going to be the person to end his life in an intersection."

The 36-year-old's family is offering an $11,000 reward with Crime stoppers to solve the case. Lawmakers hope a new bill prevents more road rage by making aggressive driving illegal with a misdemeanor penalty. If the intent is to hurt someone, it will be a Class E Felony.

"Makes somebody think twice about driving aggressively," Sparks said. "I think we just have a lot of work to do on educating people about road rage."

"It's a problem that law enforcement agencies see across the state and all across the nation," Tennessee Highway Patrol's Lt. Bill Miller said.

With several studies showing more people are now pulling guns in road rage, Sparks says the bill a step in the right direction.

"It can only do good, but it's shocking to me that you have to do that anyway," Sparks said.

The bill would take effect July 1 if it is passed.

Anyone with information on Chris Sparks' murder should contact MNPD or Crime Stoppers.

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