We’ve all been cut off or frustrated by other drivers. But no matter how hostile the other driver may be, it’s best to stay in your car, keep cool and if necessary, call the police.

A recent Illinois case illustrates the criminal charges that can result when two parties allow road rage to overwhelm their better judgment. In People v Yeoman, 2016 IL App (3d) 140324, defendant was in a car behind the victim at a red light. Defendant honked his horn to let the other driver know the light had changed. The victim, a senior citizen named Frank Egas, then repeatedly gave defendant the finger, refused to let him pass and cut him off. Defendant’s wife and children were also in the car. Defendant and his wife left their car to confront Egas. After returning to their car, Egas got out and began to yell at them. Defendant punched Egas in the face. He then fell backward and later died.

The defendant was charged with two counts of second degree murder, aggravated battery on a public way, aggravated battery of a senior citizen and aggravated battery causing great bodily harm. On appeal, defendant argued the evidence was insufficient to convict him of second degree murder since he could not know that hitting Egas with his bare fist would cause a strong probability of death. The court agreed but upheld his conviction for aggravated battery to a senior citizen, a Class 2 felony punishable by 3 to 7 years in prison. The court denied defendant’s claim of self defense in that Egas had done no more than yell at him.

If you have been charged with road rage or another crime, contact an experienced criminal law attorney immediately. As with most criminal chages, the state must prove the elements of your offense beyond a reasonable doubt. An attorney can look for weaknesses in the state’s evidence. If the victim acted aggressively beyond simply yelling, you might be able to claim self defense.

If you have questions about this or another related Illinois criminal or traffic matter, please contact Matt Keenan at 847-568-0160 or email matt@mattkeenanlaw.com.

(Besides Skokie, Matt Keenan also serves the communities of Arlington Heights, Chicago, Deerfield, Des Plaines, Evanston, Glenview, Morton Grove, Mount Prospect, Niles, Northbrook, Park Ridge, Rolling Meadows, Wilmette and Winnetka.)

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