Road rage death is horrifying extreme of aggressive driving
The death of 18-year-old Bianca Roberson of West Chester in a road rage shooting on Route 100 in West Goshen shocked the region and gained national attention as a manhunt ensued for the driver of a red pickup seen speeding away as Roberson’s vehicle crashed.
Last Sunday, Chester County District Attorney Tom Hogan announced the arrest and first-degree murder charges against David Desper, 28, of Trainer, Delaware County.
Hogan said numerous tips from the public led first to the red pickup truck that was the subject of a nationwide search, then to the gun linked to the shooting of Roberson, and then to the suspect.
Desper faces charges of first- and third-degree murder, possession of an instrument of crime with intent, and recklessly endangering another person.
Calling the shooting a “savage, brutal act,” Hogan said Roberson was on her way home from shopping when she was doing the “exact same thing that all of us do every day — merging safely,” in this case at the .1-mile marker of the Route 100 Bypass at Route 202, when she encountered the suspect.
“They jockeyed for position, and he wasn’t happy, so he pulled out a gun and shot Bianca in the head, killing her instantly,” Hogan said.
Roberson had just graduated from Rustin High School and was planning to attend Jacksonville University in the fall to study psychology.
The horrifying circumstances of Roberson’s death take to an extreme the aggressive driving that occurs every day on highways in this region.
Every driver has experienced near-brushes with tragedy, some caused by our own carelessness or bad habits, others caused by another driver failing to adhere to the laws of the road.
The notion of pointing a gun at a young woman’s head shocks our senses, but in reality, drivers’ rash behavior and poor decisions threaten lives every day. Consider: The word “Yield” means giving the right of way to the other driver; it does not mean cutting off another vehicle to force that driver to yield to you.
A yellow light is the signal to prepare to stop, not the signal to speed up and get through the intersection just as another car is starting to cross.
In fact, a yellow light is not the signal for the next three cars to speed up, the final two of them driving through a red light.
When did a speed limit become a suggestion for the bottom end of 15-mile-perhour window? If a speed limit on a highway is 55 mph, drivers are going 70; if the limit is 65 mph, drivers are going 80.
Stop signs? Who needs them? Same with turn signals.
And, when did it become legal to turn left in front of an approaching car at an intersection and then wave as if acknowledging thanks for being given a right-of-way?
Cars and trucks are not the only offenders.
The super-charged cycles swerve down the middle of the highway, defying laws and drivers, at speeds approaching 100 miles an hour. Why? Because they can. The reality is that with each day, these violations become more common.
The problem goes beyond the harried commuter trying to get to work or school on time.
Aggressive driving is just as prevalent on a Saturday afternoon among shoppers and parents taking their children to soccer games.
Police sit in their cruisers on the side streets to ticket drivers going 40 miles per hour in a 25 mph zone, but are rarely seen enforcing the construction zones where drivers dangerously go 20 miles an hour over the 40 mph posted limit.
Police don’t regularly enforce the common aggressive driving practices of illegal turns and failing to yield at intersections and on highways.
And trying to stop drag racers or swerving cycles would likely elevate the threat to other drivers.
Driving has become a game of getting away with shortcuts, speed demon actions, and disregard for laws of the road.
Bianca Roberson’s tragic death sends a message that things have gone too far.
Our hearts go out to her family and friends in their grief.
Driving home from shopping should not end in murder.