Man sentenced in ‘nightmarish’ road rage incident
April 17, 2018
A 2017 road rage incident in which a man repeatedly ran his vehicle into a woman's car with her young child inside resulted in a suspended sentence on Monday.
Justin A. Moore, 44, received two suspended 2-5-year prison sentences for felony assault with a deadly weapon and willful injury to property. Moore will serve the two sentences at the same time.
District Court Judge Thomas Gregory ordered the Minden resident to spend six months in Douglas County Jail as a condition of his probation.
According to court documents, Moore was arrested on Sept. 28, 2017, after the victim reported first seeing Moore while driving from Reno. She said Moore threw up his hands when she braked for a Nevada Highway Patrol officer and she increased her speed, switching into the next lane to avoid him.
When they reached Ironwood Drive, Moore pulled in front of the victim's vehicle and stopped in the lane, forcing her to come to a stop. She said she turned into oncoming traffic and went around the median to avoid Moore, and after coming back into the correct lane, he rear-ended her.
During this point, it was actually Moore who called 911 to report the victim for hazardous driving, and said he was afraid she was going to leave the scene, so he decided to disable her vehicle until police could arrive.
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"I just ran into her again. I'm ramming…her car. I've…destroyed it," he said to 911 dispatchers. "She almost caused me to run into her."
When the victim was able to leave the car, she claimed Moore charged at her once again, causing her to leave her small child behind in the car and flee to safety. She hid behind a brick wall, but when she heard he was still ramming her car and hadn't followed her, she went back for her child. Bystanders intervened, and she was able to retrieve the child and run to a nearby hotel to await police.
Prosecutor Ric Casper said the victim suffered from back pain as a result of the attack, and her young child suffered neck injuries, but it was the psychological trauma that affected both victims the most.
In a victim's impact statement, the victim said she'd undergone mental torture since the attack.
"This experience has caused me to suffer from PTSD, depression, anxiety, and nightmares, not only about what happened, but also about what could have happened," the victim said. "I wake up screaming. My daughter suffers from nightmares, screams about monsters, cries when meeting strangers. We couldn't get her back into her car seat for months."
Defense attorney Matthew Ence said Moore is a veteran, who suffers from PTSD and anger issues. Just before the incident, his medication had been increased to combat those issues, but unfortunately, it had the opposite effect.
Moore described the other ill effects of the new medication as causing knots in his chest, an inability to concentrate, anxiety, and feeling shaky, generally when another person was too close to him.
In the Army, Moore was trained in offensive driving, and knew how to disable a vehicle.
Moore apologized to the court, and to the victims for the fear and anxiety he had caused them.
"I take full responsibility for my actions, " Moore said. "I am ashamed by my actions. Words cannot express how deeply sorry I am."
Moore claimed since the incident he has been attending regular psychiatric appointments.
Since his arrest, Moore has lost two jobs, and was waiting to hear back from a new job he'd interviewed for. It was argued that if Moore was sentenced to be held in custody, his family would suffer.
"The kind of behavior exhibited by the defendant would normally require a prison sentence," Casper said. "The state recognizes there are other factors at play with incorrect medication and mental illness, as well as the fact that the defendant has no previous criminal history and this seems to be out of character. Though putting Mr. Moore behind bars will harm his own family, he did put himself there."
As a part of the plea deal, three charges were dropped—including child abuse and endangerment—and Moore pleaded guilty to the two charges of assault with a deadly weapon and willful destruction of property.
"The court weighs many different factors," Gregory said. "The nature of the crime is important. If that were all we'd be looking at, sentencing would be different. However, the court must consider other aspects, and take into account all recommendations. Mr. Moore, the nature of this case is severe and horrible, and the court does not contest the victim's credibility or the impact to their family."
Moore must pay restitution to the victims and attorneys' fees in the amount of $1,415.
Moore was granted time served of one day.
"This was a very tragic case on both sides," Gregory said before Moore was taken into custody to begin his jail sentence.