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Kingsport man charged with brandishing gun during road rage incident

Rain Smith • Sep 19, 2012 at 8:35 AM

KINGSPORT — A Kingsport motorist has been arrested for allegedly brandishing a handgun during a fit of road rage — marking the third such incident in as many months on Model City roadways.

Christopher Adam Lipps, 33, of 105 Lone Oak Drive, is charged with aggravated assault in Tuesday’s incident. A Kingsport Police Department report says it occurred at approximately 3:20 p.m. on Moreland Drive.

The alleged victims, each 21, heard an engine revving and then observed a 2003 Chevrolet Silverado riding their bumper. They claim the truck’s driver, later identified by police as Lipps, continually backed off then sped back up to tailgate.

The complainants told police they pulled into the slow lane, and the Silverado, which displayed a “Glock” sticker in the back window, sped past. They then re-entered the fast lane behind the Silverado in order to turn left onto the approaching New Summerville Road.

According to the police report, Lipps slammed on the brakes, nearly causing the complainants’ car to rear-end his truck. He is alleged to have then pulled back into the right-hand lane of Moreland and slammed his brakes again — this time to the point where “smoke was coming off his tires.”

The alleged victims claim Lipps began screaming profanities in their direction, while simultaneously “holding a gun and hitting it against his driver’s side door.”

When the car turned onto New Summerville Road, Lipps allegedly followed, “swerving between both lanes and hanging out of his truck screaming.” When the Silverado turned into a driveway, the complainants turned around as well, following the truck back to Moreland Drive to get the tag number and call police.

A dispatcher’s search of the tag came back to Lipps and his residence on Lone Oak Drive. When an officer visited the home, Lipps’ father reported he was at work at a restaurant and wouldn’t be home until later.

While the officer was en route to the restaurant, Lipps allegedly flagged him down and pulled into a parking lot on Fort Henry Drive. The report says an officer spoke with Lipps about the incident and located a loaded .45-caliber Glock in the truck’s console.

Lipps was booked and charged with aggravated assault, while the alleged victims responded to the police department to provide written statements on the incident.

Prior to Tuesday, there had been two road rage related arrests in Kingsport over the past three months, while another occurred just outside the city limits. Two of those previous three incidents allegedly included a motorist waving a handgun.

“Unfortunately we have, as do other cities, occasional complaints of road rage incidents,” said Kingsport Deputy Police Chief David Quillin. “My best advice is to focus on the rules of road and being a responsible driver. Ignore other drivers you may have accidentally cut off in traffic, or for whatever reason may have gotten upset.”

On June 19, a pair of hotheaded drivers tangled on Memorial Boulevard, including tailgating, brake checking and gun waving. The suspect, a 36-year-old Blountville man, was located and arrested by the Sullivan County Sheriff’s Office on charges of aggravated assault.

A police report said he pointed a handgun at another vehicle after an occupant exited their car to “see what he wanted.” The suspect was also charged with two counts of reckless endangerment, according to the report, as his juvenile son and daughter were in his vehicle when the incident occurred.

“Never pull over and confront another driver,” Quillin said. “You have the potential for someone to get seriously hurt.”

During a July 19 incident on West Stone Drive in Kingsport, a 51-year-old Church Hill man allegedly pointed a handgun at another motorist who had passed him in the right-hand lane. The alleged victim reportedly drew attention because he honked as he passed, saying he was trying to “get the attention” of the suspect because he was driving at a “very slow speed.”

The arrestee, who was quickly located by police at a nearby store, admitted to pulling a gun. He claimed he did so because he “didn’t know” if the honking motorist was armed or not.

“Just ignore drivers making gestures and trying to bait you into a confrontation,” Quillin said. “It’s never going to end good.”

A 40-year-old Johnson City man was arrested Aug. 24 by Kingsport police, charged with reckless endangerment and leaving the scene of an accident. He allegedly tailgated a car from the Eastern Star exit of Interstate 26 to John B. Dennis Highway, where he swerved his truck into their vehicle.

A police report says the alleged victim attempted to pull over numerous times but was continually followed by the suspect. The alleged victim never exited their car but instead dialed 911 and provided a description of the other vehicle. It was later located and the driver arrested.

“If you do encounter someone, go ahead and call 911, and stay on the phone with dispatch until they get an officer to your location,” Quillin said.

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