LEHI — As commuters drove to work Monday morning, a road rage incident escalated to a shooting that injured two men and brought traffic on I-15 in Utah County to a standstill.
Just after 7:30 a.m., a feud between two southbound trucks escalated near Lehi when the driver and sole occupant of the black truck pulled out a gun and began shooting into the white truck, hitting two men, Utah Highway Patrol Lt. Nick Street said.
Of the white truck's five occupants, the driver and another man suffered injuries and were transported to the hospital in their truck. The driver was in critical condition and the other man suffered minor injuries, Street said. Both men are expected to recover.
It wasn't immediately clear what started the disagreement between the two trucks, but Street said authorities are investigating the incident and were in the process of interviewing witnesses. All six men involved, both the occupants of the white truck and the driver of the black truck, are cooperating with police, he added.
The alleged shooter was taken into police custody Monday morning. Information about whether that man had a criminal history was not available and his name was not released.
At some point during the confrontation between the two trucks — either before or after the shooting — they collided at least one time, Street said. The type of firearm used to shoot into the white truck wasn't immediately available.
"These were adults and this was definitely not adult behavior. Letting some silly traffic scenario get two individuals so upset that it would come to this is disconcerting," Street said.
It's possible the alleged shooter could face aggravated assault with deadly weapon charges and attempted homicide charges, Street added. There was no immediate indication the white truck fired a weapon, but troopers were looking into that as a possibility as part of their investigation.
Southbound I-15 was shut down near 2100 North for about an hour Monday morning as troopers investigated the crime scene and collected evidence. Lanes had reopened by 9:30 a.m. with residual delays expected, according to the Utah Department of Transportation.
Troopers are starting to see a trend of escalating road rage incidents, Street said, noting that the number of assault or other charges related to road rage increased in 2020.
Anecdotally, Street added that troopers have noticed an uptick in these types of incidents across the I-15 corridor, as well. In a lot of those incidents, Street said the perpetrator does not have a criminal record.
"It's a problem," he said. "Be that adult. Don't let it turn into something like this."
No bystanders were injured in the incident — something Street said was pure luck, especially considering the high volume of traffic on the road in the mornings.
"Once those rounds start coming out of a firearm, there's no telling where they're going to go, especially on a busy interstate," he said. "(It's) just extremely lucky nobody was killed."
Contributing: Dan Rascon, KSL TV