A Takoma Park police officer has been indicted on charges related to an alleged road rage incident last July, police said.
Officer Travis Ala faces charges of first- and second-degree assault and use of a handgun in the commission of a crime of violence. He pulled out a handgun and pointed it at other motorists on Route 50 in Bowie July 6, a witness said.
Ala was angry that a vehicle in the left lane of Route 50 was not traveling fast enough, according to the Prince George's County State's Attorney's Office. Ala pulled around the vehicle, got in front of it and slammed on his brakes. The vehicle moved into the center lane and Ala got behind it, following it closely, according to the state's attorney.
Ala then pulled out to pass the vehicle. A witness inside the vehicle said Ala then pulled out a black handgun and pointed at the car. The victims attempted to photograph Ala, pulled over and called 911.
Ala then pulled over behind them on the shoulder of the road. The victims said he sat in his car for a minute, then pulled through the grass to take the exit for Route 301 South.
The victims got Ala’s license plate number and gave it to police. Ala is currently on administrative duty pending the outcome of the criminal case, police said.
“It is especially troubling that a police officer, someone who is sworn to protect citizens, would chose to behave in a manner that threatened the three citizens in the other vehicle and potentially all those driving around him that morning,” Prince George’s County State’s Attorney Angela Alsobrooks said in a statement.
Ala is already under investigation for another incident on a Maryland highway. In March, a line of traffic was stopped on Route 50 in Anne Arundel County due to an accident in the merge lane from southbound I-97 to eastbound Route 50. Ala apparently did not see the stopped traffic, swerved and struck a stopped vehicle, a Toyota Corolla. A man and two teenagers in the Toyota died.