Commonwealth Journal

August 3, 2013

Driver shot in road rage incident; in critical condition

by Chris Harris
Commonwealth Journal

Somerset —

A McCreary County man remains in critical condition after being shot as a result of an apparent road rage incident at a busy local intersection, according to the Pulaski County Sheriff’s Department.
Sheriff Todd Wood said that Luster L. Rose, 54, of Vanover Ridge Road, Parkers Lake, Ky., was in critical but stable condition at the University of Kentucky Medical Center as of Friday afternoon. 
Rose was allegedly shot Thursday night by Troy A. McAninch, 23, Neals Creek School Road, Stanford, Ky., following a harrowing incident on the Ky. 914 bypass.
“It’s rather uncommon, certainly for our area,” said Wood of on-road episodes that turn violent. “We get the occasional call of possible road rage, but rarely does it escalate to this point.”
The Pulaski County 911 Center received a call of a shooting that occurred at the intersection of the Ky. 914 bypass and Ky. 1247 just south of Somerset just before 8 p.m. Thursday. 
According to the sheriff’s department, Ferguson Police Officer Gary Pence was the first to arrive on the scene and found the suspect had already disarmed himself. McAninch was taken into custody immediately without further incident.
Detectives with the Sheriff’s Office Criminal Investigation Division determined that Rose had been traveling westbound on Ky. 914 in a 2013 International semi-truck. As he approached the intersection of Jordans Way, a purple 1995 Nissan Pickup pulled out into traffic in front of him. The Nissan was driven by McAninch’s wife, Samantha McAninch.
Statements given by Samantha McAninch and Troy McAninch suggested the semi-truck driven by Rose was tailgating them and later passed them on Ky. 914. The way Rose was allegedly driving apparently infuriated Troy McAninch, who decided to confront Rose, according to the sheriff’s department.
As the two vehicles stopped at the red light at the intersection with Ky. 1247, McAninch got out of the passenger side of his vehicle and walked to the passenger side door of the semi, according to the sheriff’s department, which said that McAninch reportedly climbed up on the passenger side of the semi and began yelling obscenities at the truck driver. Rose then allegedly responded by getting out of the semi with a wooden club to confront McAninch. 
An altercation then took place in the roadway at the intersection. As the situation escalated, McAninch produced a handgun and fired four times at Rose, according to the sheriff’s department.
Detectives recovered a Glock Model 17 9mm handgun from the scene. Wood said that McAninch did not have a concealed-carry license but that he wasn’t trying to conceal the firearm anyway, rather keeping it in a paddle back holster similar to what law enforcement officers carry.
When asked if McAninch’s actions were taken in self-defense, given that Rose was allegedly wielding a club, Wood noted that the case was still an ongoing investigation, but that certain facts about it were “very evident” to authorities.
“The defendant in this case took it upon himself to get out of the vehicle, out of the passenger side, walk up and around to the front (of the truck) with a gun strapped to his side and verbally challenge or confront the driver of the semi,” said Wood. “... The truck driver is sitting in his truck at the stoplight when he sees in his mirror or hears someone approaching him with a gun in a holster in an upset way. The natural response for any individual would be to go into some kind of protective mode.”
Wood said that McAninch was “cooperative” with law enforcement at the scene, and that his “demeanor was very much regretful” there and during his interview while in custody.
Ky. 914 was blocked for around two hours while investigators worked to collect evidence and clear the roadway.
Alongside the Pulaski County Sheriff’s Office, the Burnside Police Department and the Kentucky State Police assisted at the scene and were able to secure the area while EMS personnel treated the victim before he was flown by helicopter to the University of Kentucky Medical Center in Lexington.
The investigation is ongoing by the Sheriff’s Office Criminal Investigation Division and further details will be released as they become available. Any witnesses to the incident or events leading up to the shooting are encouraged to call the sheriff’s office at 606-678-5145 and share their information.
With recent headline-making incidents like the death of Trayvon Martin in Florida following an altercation with George Zimmerman — in which a national debate broiled over issues such as whether or not Zimmerman acted as the aggressor or in self-defense, and whether he was in the wrong for not letting law enforcement handle the situation — some aspects of Thursday’s shooting are worth a stern reminder about the importance of doing the right thing on the road.
Wood noted that there was “issues” McAninch felt occurred prior to stopping the vehicles, and a “specific event that concerned him enough to where he felt he needed to address it the way he did.”
However, the sheriff added, “society in general has a great problem” with people taking the law into their own hands.
“The proper thing to do is to call 911 if someone is operating a vehicle in such a way that it causes immediate risk,” said Wood. “Take down the tag on the vehicle if you feel there was a specific act toward you and pursue criminal charges. There was a law enforcement officer within a short distance of this that could have responded immediately if (McAninch) had called 911.
“But what we cannot have happen at any point in time is for people to want to take the law into their own hands with a firearm strapped to their person and go into the middle of an intersection to confront a driver over an issue,” he added. “It can never come to that.”