A jury in Savannah, Georgia has awarded $4.8 million to a couple and their three children against a businessman who shot at the family’s vehicle on Interstate 95 as they were heading home from a vacation.
Because the jury found that the defendant acted with intent to cause harm, the verdict was not subject to Georgia’s $250,000 cap on punitive damages.
The defendant pleaded guilty to aggravated assault stemming from a July 2011 incident that was widely considered a road rage shooting. The defendant served about six months in jail for the shooting.
The plaintiffs testified that as they headed home, they saw the shooter open the passenger side window of his car, stretch out his arm and begin firing a handgun at them. The shots broke out the windows on the plaintiff’s SUV, causing shards of glass to fly at the family. The father pulled off the highway at a weigh station for trucks and reported the incident to the Georgia State Patrol.
The plaintiff’s attorney emphasized the danger to the public of such road rage incidents. He told the jury that not only was the shooter trying to kill the family, but he was placing everyone behind them and elsewhere on the road at risk.
At the McArthur Law Firm, our spokesperson is five-time heavyweight champion Evander Holyfield. Earlier this year, Holyfield starred in a Georgia public service announcement on road rage. The video, which has received more than 7 million views on YouTube, shows an angry driver exit his car, yelling as he approaches Holyfield’s vehicle. As soon as the imposing, muscular Holyfield steps out of his vehicle, the enraged driver changes his tone, sheepishly admitting he didn’t realize it was the boxing star.