On Sept. 23, 2023, at about 11:52 a.m., Humboldt County Sheriff’s deputies were dispatched to a business on the 900 block of U.S. Highway 101 near Cooks Valley for the report of a road rage incident.
Deputies contacted two victims at the business. The victims told deputies that while driving northbound on Highway 101, a pickup truck began to tailgate them. When the truck reportedly attempted to pass the victims’ vehicle, the victims made an insulting gesture at the truck’s driver. The driver of the vehicle then reportedly got behind the victims’ vehicle, tailgating it to the business where both vehicles stopped. The suspect reportedly exited his vehicle then began yelling and threatening to kill the victims. He then fled the area driving northbound on Highway 101. The victims were able to capture a photo of the vehicle and its license plate.
Deputies located the vehicle traveling on Highway 101 approximately one mile south of Benbow and conducted a traffic stop. The driver of the vehicle was identified as 61-year-old Jody Shannon Collins. Collins was arrested and booked into the Humboldt County Correctional Facility on charges of criminal threats (PC 422(a)).
According to AAA Foundation for Traffic Safety’s 2019 data, nearly 80 percent of drivers expressed significant anger, aggression or road rage behind the wheel at least once in the previous 30 days. Aggressive driving includes tailgating, cutting in front of another driver and then slowing down, running red lights, weaving in and out of traffic, changing lanes without signaling, blocking cars attempting to pass or change lanes, and using headlights or brakes to “punish” other drivers. Aggressive actions such as tailgating, erratic lane changing, or illegal passing have been found to be a factor in up to 56 percent of fatal crashes. While you can’t control other’s emotional responses, you can avoid road rage incidents by managing your behavior and response.
Follow the rules of the road:
- Maintain adequate following distance.
- Use turn signals.
- Allow others to merge.
- Use your high beams responsibly.
- Tap your horn if you must (but no long blasts with accompanying hand gestures).
- Be considerate in parking lots. Park in one spot, not across multiple spaces. Be careful not to hit cars next to you with your door.
- Remain calm and courteous.
Dealing with Confrontation:
- Avoid eye contact with angry drivers.
- Don’t respond to aggression with aggression.
- If you feel you are at risk, drive to a public place such as a police station, hospital or fire station.
- When you park, allow room so you can pull out safely if someone approaches you aggressively.
- Use your horn to attract attention but remain in your locked vehicle.
- If you are confronted, stay as calm and courteous as possible.
- If you feel threatened, call 911.
Anyone with information about this case or related criminal activity is encouraged to call the Humboldt County Sheriff’s Office at (707) 445-7251 or the Sheriff’s Office Crime Tip line at (707) 268-2539.
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Jody Shannon Collins Booking Photo | Humboldt County Correctional Facility