SALT LAKE CITY, Utah (ABC4 News) – The Utah Highway Patrol is investigating after two people in a car say they were targeted by a driver who used racist language and a gun.
The reason, according to the two victims? The driver in their car was black. Here’s what the two 17-year-olds — who asked not to be identified for fear of possible retaliation — said happened.
Sunday, on I-215, the two were merging from the left lane as the interstate went from four lanes to three. A white Ford Transit van, whose driver apparently felt cut off, reacted by tailgating them.
Then the van backed off — but after a while, it sped up again. The teens say he had written the N-word on a notebook and put it against the driver window as he passed them from the right, even taking his other hand off the steering wheel to point at the driver of their car.
“He purposely caught up to us — and showed us the sign,” said the driver.
So the driver of the car tried to get them away from the van — by exiting in the right hand lane. The teens say the van then got in front of them and braked frequently to slow them down.
“We were just trying to get away,” said the passenger. “I want to go home, I’m scared, I’m mad — I’m fuming — and then that’s when we start to exit and I look over and I see the dude with his hand out the window with a gun pointed into our car and then I scream at the top of my lungs,” she said.
The 17-year-old driver says he hopes Utah Highway Patrol will find the man — and that the man will be punished by law, as well as lose his job.
“With everything going on, I’m definitely really scared,” said the driver.
The passenger in his vehicle recorded video of the van, which included a license plate number.
Utah Highway Patrol confirms to ABC4 that the case has been forwarded to the State Bureau of Investigation and the Statewide Information and Analysis Center.