Trucker charged with attempted murder in I-95 road-rage case

By Mary Pat Flaherty
Washington Post Staff Writer
Friday, March 26, 2010; B02

The Interstate 95 road-rage incident that left two Woodbridge men jailed and facing attempted-murder charges began with jockeying at a merge lane, escalated to demolition-derby-style ramming and ended with gunshots, according to documents filed in court by the Virginia State Police.

The altercation between the drivers of a dump truck and a Jaguar occurred during rush hour and with a toddler inside the car. It terrified commuters and flooded emergency telephone lines with reports of gunfire.

Late Wednesday, police charged the driver of the dump truck with attempted second-degree murder, the same charge already pending against the Jaguar driver, who is accused of firing 13 shots during the incident Tuesday afternoon in Prince William County.

The truck's driver, James Bringham, 44, had initially been charged with reckless driving. But after further investigation, state police added the attempted-murder charge, as well as a felony hit-and-run charge.

Among the callers to police had been Bringham, who reported shots coming from a silver Jaguar that state police later said was driven by Gabriel Poventud, 25, who had his 2-year-old daughter with him in a car seat.

In subsequent court statements, a trooper noted that four witnesses told him that the dump truck "intentionally rammed the Jaguar" and that "the dump truck struck the other vehicle several times, pinning it against the guardrail on the right shoulder then against the concrete wall on the left shoulder," leaving it with "significant damage."

The exact sequence of events was not clear in the filings. But state police said previously that Poventud got out of his car near the Jersey wall and shot at the back of the truck, hitting it 12 times. No one was injured. The two vehicles then went back into traffic before being stopped by at least three state police cars near a weigh station several miles south of the Fairfax-Prince William County line, police have said.

The exchange played out over four miles and 20 minutes starting near the merge area from Route 123, where Bringham entered I-95 southbound. Poventud already was traveling in those lanes, according to state police.

Bringham and Poventud were still being held in Prince William County jail late Thursday.

Poventud faces charges of attempted second-degree murder, child endangerment, use of a firearm to commit a felony, reckless use of a firearm and shooting a missile into an occupied vehicle.

Traffic in that area of I-95, with the Occoquan River to the north and the Marine Corps Base Quantico to the south, was moving at about 30 mph at the time, state police spokeswoman Corinne Geller said.

Bringham was in a white 2007 Ford 550 dump truck. Poventud drove a silver 2004 Jaguar.

Geller declined to say what type of handgun Poventud carried.

Virginia law requires permits for concealed weapons, but "you can carry one on each hip and two over your shoulders as long as it's not concealed," said Prince William Commonwealth's Attorney Paul B. Ebert.

Staff writer Paul Duggan contributed to this report.

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