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    Off-duty cop “Road Rage” 911 call: “They were going to fight on side of road”

    Off-duty cop “Road Rage” 911 call: “They were going to fight on side of road”

    Eyewitness Adam Pidel recounts to 911 the intent of Joseph Dean Harvey, Jr. to fight Walker on side of road — “But a gun? A bit much.”

    Today’s post on the Joseph Walker “road rage” murder trial in Maryland will be relatively brief, as it focuses on the 911 call made by Adam Pidel in the immediate aftermath of the Walker’s shooting of Joseph Dean Harvey, Jr.

    (The transcript of this 911 call was attached as Exhibit C to the defense’s recent motion to dismiss the charges against Walker, and copy is provided at the bottom of this post. NOTE: The transcript contains un-redacted profanity.)

    Pidel’s tone is one of outrage that Walker had actually shot Harvey. Immediately after informing the dispatcher that he needs immediate medical assistance at the scene, Pidel provides an unsolicited recounting of Walker’s license plate number—which the transcript captures here as “ZDT77X”—and state, and a description of the make of Walker’s Kia minivan.

    As is often the case for a passenger in a vehicle, Pidel has only a vague sense of their actual location, and has considerable difficulty in advising the dispatcher exactly where to send the first responders. Pidel repeated asks Harvey, “where are we at?” and it seems that Harvey may be trying to respond but has already weakened substantially due to his gunshot wounds.

    Throughout the 911 call Pidel can be heard talking with Harvey, urging him to

    Stay with me, Joe, concentrate on your breath. Concentrate on your breath. Just keep doing that. Keep breathing.

    Pidel tells the dispatcher that Harvey has been shot at least twice in the chest, although I believe this information is incorrect.

    When asked by the dispatcher to identify the vehicle he was in, Pidel describes it as a green Honda Accord, and when asked about Walker’s car he describes it as a gold Kia minivan, and provides the license plate number again, which the transcript this captures ZDE77X, a slight variation from the first capture as ZDT77X.

    Pidel also informs dispatch:

    [Walker] is here. And he is here. I mean, six feet from me right here. Like right in front of me. He has his kids and wife in the car. This is ridiculous.

    Pidel then goes on to describe to the dispatcher some of what occurred immediately prior to the shooting:

    Yeah. I’m pretty fucking scared. But, I mean, this dude is – I’m going to be honest, sir. Are we recording? This all started because they cut us off. And they were yelling at each other. And they were going to fight on the side of the road. But a gun? Like that’s, you know, that’s a bit much.”

    Near the end of the 911 recording Pidel reports that he can “hear the ambulance,” although it seems likely this may in fact have been a police vehicle. He comments that Walker is exiting his minivan and walking around the back of the vehicle, out of Pidel’s line of site. Pidel believes Walker is walking back to the cop. At the prompting of the dispatcher he describes Walker as black.

    Pidel asks if the dispatcher wants to talk to the approaching police officer, but the dispatcher declines, telling Pidel “If the officer is there, let him control the situation.”

    Based on Pidel’s last few comments on the 911 recording, it appears that the officer elected to control the situation by securing Pidel:

    Dude, are you – he shot somebody. Shot. The guy with a gun, and you’re coming at me?

    Here’s a copy of the official transcript of Pidel’s 911 call:

    –-Andrew, @LawSelfDefense

    Andrew F. Branca is an MA lawyer and the author of the seminal book “The Law of Self Defense, 2nd Edition,” available at the Law of Self Defense blog, (paperback and Kindle), Barnes & Noble (paperback and Nook), and elsewhere.


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    bildung | March 10, 2014 at 9:40 pm

    At this point, I think the DA’s office has got to be looking for a way to fold ’em without looking too idiotic.

    They’re never, ever, ever going to get murder 1; they surely know it by now. This whole persecution is just obeisance to the gun hating Dem lawfare machine, which Walker (like Zimm) ironically is 98% likely to enable with his vote.

    But, be that as it may, just imagine Mrs. Walker on the stand, sobbing and shaking and reliving the mortal fear of it all, and pointing to her defenseless children….

    and then tell me how on earth a conviction is remotely likely.

    Maybe this will be one of those rarities where the judge spares them the embarrassment, so long as the DA doesn’t demagogue it too much on the courthouse steps.

      Gremlin1974 in reply to bildung. | March 10, 2014 at 11:49 pm

      Man between you and Mouse, you guys could clean up the cold case files for the country in just a year or 2. Since having seen a minimal amount of evidence you can come to such solid conclusions.

      Unfortunately, I prefer to look at things objectively and wait for the evidence to actually mature or even be available for that matter. Also you might also take into account that all of this evidence is from the defense so is probably going to be slanted that way.

    Richard Aubrey | March 11, 2014 at 12:03 am

    Mr. B. WRT Walker sucking Fat Guy into moving too far from FG’s vehicle: First, you presume FG would be that single-minded and not twig until he was too far away. Even then, if he tried to hustle back to his car and died of a heart attack, would Walker be under indictment for something or other? I exaggerate only slightly.
    Second, the defense would have the time and resources to show every obstacle to the backing up. Curve, guard rail, merging traffic. Remember, we’re not trying to convince an engineer with an aspergers’ single-minded attention to [one] detail, but a jury with a number of parallel lines of issues to consider. I mean, you have to look over your shoulder to back up, right? So how do you keep the seductive distance from FG while not looking at him? Those backup televisions only give you what amounts to a parking space view. And while you’re checking to see that FG is close enough to be tempted to keep coming, and not so close he can get close enough to make trouble, are you concerned about swerving into the traffic lane? If so, do you inadvertently slow down and FG catches up?
    As I have said, as a juror I would try very hard to follow the law, considering that my fellow citizens think it important. But the prosecution’s frequent mention of duty to retreat isn’t going to make me see it if it isn’t there. And I’d better see it, or everybody’s wasted a lot of time.

    Gremlin1974 | March 11, 2014 at 4:02 am

    After reading through these comments I think there is something that needs a bit more perspective. The Road Rage incident didn’t happen over 20 miles, or 10 miles, or even 5 miles. Looking at Bing or Goggle maps will tell you that the Wawa’s where Walker “cut off” Harvey is only about 1.5 miles away. So the “Bumper cars” part of this incident played out over somewhere between 1 to 3 minutes (3 minutes if they were going 1/2 to 3/4 speed).

    Now it probably seemed like much longer to the folks in the cars, but it actually happened fairly quickly. So I don’t think it is fair to say that Harvey had made it clear that he would have continued to pursue Walker. I would agree if it had been over miles and minutes but it wasn’t.

    This is also most likely why Walker never called 911, there just wasn’t that much time from the cut off to the shooting.

      “This is also most likely why Walker never called 911, there just wasn’t that much time from the cut off to the shooting.”

      FYI, Walker called 911 the same time as Pidel. There’ll be a post up here covering Walker’s 911 call later today (it’s in the editorial queue).

      –Andrew, @LawSelfDefense

      Baker in reply to Gremlin1974. | March 11, 2014 at 9:28 am

      Good call on the time issue. I’ve measured the distance more than once and came up with less that 6,000 ft from the ‘cut-off’ to shooting. The whole distance is a straight road with at least two-lanes (excluding exiting lanes/roads) and limited access. The estimate of 1-3 minutes is spot on. My estimate was around 2 minutes.

    Richard Aubrey | March 11, 2014 at 9:06 am

    Defensive driving protects you, sometimes, from morons. I’ve been cut off, had other stupid stuff happen to me because of other drivers.
    I can’t recall anybody ever making any gesture of apology, because they had no idea what they’d done. They’re just going on their way with their clueless tunnel vision. Or maybe they’d been distracted by a kid in the car and they’re usually better drivers.
    I’ve only seen two guys in fifty years of driving trying to be buttheads, and an unmarked cop picked off one of them. Figuratively speaking, unfortunately.
    99.99% of the time we go on our way, muttering or even swearing, with the incident no longer generating adrenalin after about two minutes, tops.
    Point is, anybody who immediately wants to fight because he thinks he’s been deliberately done wrong in traffic is a menace to society. To presume somebody that nuts is going to be reasonable and rational once he gets out of his car and is approaching the other party is…not reasonable. Again, you can’t stop a juror from thinking, if he’s in the habit of thinking.

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