A driver opened fire on another driver in Alexandria, Virginia, Wednesday morning in what police are calling an instance of road rage. The driver was arrested in Maryland later in the day.
Ernest Stickell, 58, of Mechanicsville, Maryland, was taken into custody Wednesday afternoon by Maryland State Police, Alexandria police announced. Information was not released immediately on how he was found.
The driver, a 33-year-old woman from Bladensburg, Maryland, was shot on the Eisenhower Connector near the Capital Beltway (I-495) off ramp during the morning rush hour, Alexandria police said. Officers were sent to the scene about 7:55 a.m.
The victim, who was driving a dark-colored SUV, and a man in a work van first encountered each other on the Beltway, sources told News4. Police did not release information immediately on how the interaction began or who may have been the initial aggressor.
A woman said she heard the drivers honking at each other and then saw the woman driver swerve her SUV in front of the man's van.
"She got out of the vehicle and was screaming. Before she even got out, she was yelling out the window at him as she went by him," the witness said. She asked News4 not to name her or show her face.
"[She] parked the car, and she got out and was screaming profanity, in [a] loud voice, then a gentleman in the passenger side jumped out, and they were both going toward the white vehicle," she continued.
The woman and the man, who News4 learned is the driver's boyfriend, threatened the van driver and challenged him to get out of his car, the witness said.
"He kept telling him, 'Well, bring it out here, get out here, now!'" the witness said.
"And the next thing I know, I hear five or six gunshots," she said.
The woman driver, who was not identified, was shot in the neck and the back.
Then, the witness, who was taking a cigarette break outside a business nearby, said she saw the man in the white van drive away.
Video captured on a business' surveillance camera shows the moments after the gunfire. A dark SUV can be seen coming to a stop.
Other witnesses followed the shooter.
"They chased him down towards Cameron Run and got his tag number," said Steven Proctor, who works at a tire shop nearby.
The shooter then fled.
Alexandria animal control officer who were in the area were first to help the shooting victim. Medics arrived soon after and rushed her to a hospital with serious injuries. She later was upgraded to stable condition, police said.
A passerby who was hit by flying glass also was taken to a hospital.
The man in the SUV was not hurt, according to the Alexandria Fire Department.
A Fairfax County Police Department helicopter hovered over the scene, and police examined the woman's SUV for hours. The passenger-side window was shattered.
Alexandria Lt. Matthew Weinert expressed sympathy for the victim.
"Our thoughts go out to the victim in this incident, and we appreciate the support of the witnesses who stayed to help," he said early Wednesday.
Police in Alexandria were assisted by Maryland State Police, Virginia State Police, the St. Mary's Sheriff's Office and the Fairfax County Police Department.
Eisenhower Avenue near the scene of the shooting was closed for several hours.
There have been several road rage incidents in recent weeks in which people were injured or killed.
On Tuesday, a moped driver stabbed another man following a road rage incident in Fredericksburg, Virginia. Police say the victim got into an argument with the moped driver while waiting to turn left on State Route 3. The victim suffered non-life-threatening injuries.
One high-profile road rage incident on a Southern California freeway, between a motorcyclist and a driver, was caught on camera. The resulting crash sent an innocent person to a hospital on June 21, authorities said.
In Northern Virginia, a driver got out of his car and beat 17-year-old Nabra Hassanen to death with a baseball bat, according to police. Hassanen was returning to an all-night prayer session during Ramadan.
Another road rage incident occurred in Philadelphia on June 28. Officials say 28-year-old David Andrew Desper killed 18-year-old Bianca Roberson after she merged lanes at the same time as the suspect.
Anyone with information on the crime in Alexandria is asked to call 703-746-6673.