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Salt Lake City man charged with attempted murder following road rage incident

A Salt Lake man is being charged with attempted murder following a road rage incident in Utah County last week. (PHOTO: KSL Newsradio's John Wojcik)

LEHI, Utah — A Salt Lake City man has been arrested and charged with attempted murder in connection to a Utah County road rage incident.

Road rage turns into attempted murder

31-year-old Jesse David Luker was charged in 4th District Court with three counts of attempted murder, a second-degree felony; discharge of a firearm resulting in serious injury, a first-degree felony; and two more counts of discharge of a firearm, one second-degree felony and one third-degree felony.

The road rage incident occurred on January 25 around 7:30 a.m. According to police, two pickup trucks were traveling south on I-15 near Lehi.

Charging documents state that Luker was “tailgating” the other vehicle in the HOV lane. The driver of the pickup, which had five people inside, reportedly started to brake several times.

Eventually, Luker fired four to five rounds into the driver’s side of the pickup truck. The charges state that the victim pulled all the way to the right shoulder, although Luker “continued to move closer to the victim’s vehicle and fired five more rounds into the victim’s vehicle.”

The driver and a passenger were injured and drove straight to a hospital in American Fork to receive treatment. 

Violent road rage incidents on the rise

According to Lieutenant Nick Street, with Utah Highway Patrol, violent road rage incidents have been on the rise for almost a year.

“In 2020, we had right around 31 aggravated assault charges screened for brandishing and road rage,” he explains. “In 2019, that number was 16.”

Additionally, troopers near Beaver County have reported seven to eight brandishing cases just recently.

“They had the firearm and admitted to showing the firearm,” explains Lt. Street. “There were differing reasons why, but what people don’t understand is that is an aggravated assault.”

Cops say if you’re confronted while driving, the best thing to do is slow down or exit the freeway entirely. If not, you may run the risk of provoking a violent encounter.

“It’s going to result in some sort of verbal altercation or a continued altercation on our roads,” he explains. “As a trooper, when I investigated these incidents and people told me, ‘There was nothing I could do,’ that’s hard for me to believe.”