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Johnson City man arrested in Kingsport road rage incident

August 24th, 2012 12:38 pm by Rain Smith

Johnson City man arrested in Kingsport road rage incident

Christopher W. Gardner, 40.

A Johnson City man has been arrested in Kingsport after allegedly swerving his truck to strike a car during a fit of road rage — then exiting his vehicle at three separate locations to beat on the other driver's windshield.

Christopher W. Gardner, 40, of 1012 Johnson Ave., is charged with reckless endangerment and leaving the scene of a traffic collision. He was arrested shortly after the confrontation by Kingsport police, when he and his vehicle were located in an employee parking area of Eastman Chemical Co.

The incident began at approximately 6:30 a.m. near the Eastern Star exit of Interstate 26, continuing to James C. White Drive in Kingsport. The victim reported being tailgated by a 1996 Dodge Ram, later determined to be driven by Gardner, while westbound on interstate, then onto northbound John B. Dennis Highway.

The report states that on John B. Dennis Gardner swerved in front of the victim's Mazda 3, forcing the driver to slam his brakes. Gardner is alleged to have then slammed his brakes, attempting to cause the Mazda to hit the rear of his truck.

The Mazda driver told police that he moved into the outside lane of traffic to avoid Gardner's truck, but Gardner veered into his lane. A police report says the two vehicles collided, with the Mazda sustaining damage to the front passenger side. The victim then called 911 and followed the truck for approximately a mile, where it pulled to the shoulder of John B. Dennis.

When the Mazda pulled in behind the truck Gardner allegedly exited his vehicle, began cussing the other driver and, "beating on his windshield." The victim told police he drove his car a couple hundred feet down the road to avoid the confrontation. But Gardner reportedly followed in his truck, exited again and continued his tantrum, beating the car's windshield for a second time.

The victim drove away, exited John B. Dennis at James C. White Drive and pulled over. Gardner reportedly followed suit, cursing and pounding his fists on the car for a third time. The Mazda driver again fled, this time without Gardner in pursuit, and stopped on southbound John B. Dennis to await police.

Gardner's truck was later located on a nearby Eastman parking lot, with police saying it had sustained damage consistent with the alleged collision. A police report says Gardner told police he "had problems" with a car during his drive to work, "but did not have an accident." But the alleged victim positively identified Gardner as the suspect, prompting his arrest.

Gardner was booked into the city jail on charges of reckless endangerment and leaving the scene of an accident.

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