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Ice-Throwing Driver Spared From Prison
Houston Chronicle ^ | Feb. 21, 2007, 1:17PM | The Associated Press

Posted on 02/21/2007 12:16:03 PM PST by rawhide

STAFFORD, Va. — A woman convicted of a felony for throwing a cup of ice into a car that cut her off in traffic was sentenced to probation instead of prison, a judge ruled Wednesday.

Jessica Hall faced between two and five years in prison after she was convicted last month of maliciously throwing a missile — the cup of ice — into an occupied vehicle. No one was injured in the incident last summer.

"The facts of this case ... suggest that the sentence in this case should be reduced," Judge Frank A. Hoss Jr. told Hall, who thanked the judge and cried.

Hall must remain on good behavior for five years and also must pay fines and court costs.

She has been in jail since Jan. 4 and it wasn't immediately clear whether she would be released Wednesday.

Prosecutor Daniel M. Chichester said Hall's actions were serious, even though no one was injured. "It is important to remember that it is not what is thrown but the danger created by that act," Chichester said.

On a sticky day in July, Hall was driving north on Interstate 95 with her children and her pregnant sister. Traffic had slowed to a crawl when, she said, another car cut her off twice, once causing her to swerve onto the shoulder.

Angered, she flung a McDonald's cup of ice into the other car, where it flew across the driver and landed all over his girlfriend. The couple said they hadn't even noticed Hall's car until the cup landed.

The girlfriend, Eliza Fowle, defended their decision to report the crime but said she thought a prison sentence was too much punishment for her actions.

"This is just to me absolutely ridiculous," Fowle told The Washington Post. Community service would have made more sense, she said. "It's something that's going to make someone realize 'I did screw up, and I'm going to remember this, and I'm not going to do something like this again.' "

Hall, 25, of Jacksonville, N.C., is a mother of three and her husband is serving his third tour in Iraq. Speaking to the Post before the judge's decision, she said she has cried every day she has spent locked up in jail.

Planning to go to nursing school, she said she wonders what job she will be able to get once potential employers do a background check.

"Now people are going to see me as an angry, road rage, convicted felon. And it really upsets me," she told the newspaper. "I must have been wrong . . . but seriously, God. Lesson learned. Lesson learned is one hour in this place."


TOPICS: Crime/Corruption; Extended News; News/Current Events
KEYWORDS: ice; mcmissle; overzealous; prosecution; roadrage

1 posted on 02/21/2007 12:16:07 PM PST by rawhide
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To: rawhide

I hope the couple got charged for not having control of their car, since the police should go after "weavers" and "tailgaters" more than speeder... but that won't happen anytime soon.


2 posted on 02/21/2007 12:20:02 PM PST by thebaron512
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To: rawhide
"Now people are going to see me as an angry, road rage, convicted felon.

She made her bed but you could look as it as she's lucky. There's a lot of people that would take very unkindly to having something thrown in their car. She could have got the crap kicked out of her or worse.

3 posted on 02/21/2007 12:24:58 PM PST by GATOR NAVY (Naming CVNs after congressmen and mediocre presidents burns my butt)
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To: thebaron512

Well, traffic was slowed to a crawl, so the "weaving" was probably nothing more than occasional lane-changing while stopped to try to find which lane was actually moving. It annoys me when people do it, but it also annoys me to see other drivers speed up to cut people off who have their signals on and are trying to move over, because it is hard to do and keep track of everything.

I liked the statement of the girl in the other car: ""This is just to me absolutely ridiculous," Fowle told The Washington Post. Community service would have made more sense, she said. "It's something that's going to make someone realize 'I did screw up, and I'm going to remember this, and I'm not going to do something like this again.' "


4 posted on 02/21/2007 12:32:37 PM PST by CharlesWayneCT
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To: CharlesWayneCT

It takes a lot of irresponsibility and bullying to drive another car off the road. It's only happened to me once and the guy who drove me off the road from my own legal lane was a senility case, whom I reported to authorities.

I suspect the weaver was doing a lot more than just not noticing the effect he was having on other cars as he plowed forward and assaulted others. I think he's the one who belongs in the dock, not the war wife.


5 posted on 02/21/2007 12:39:01 PM PST by Kitten Festival
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To: rawhide

throwing something into another car could be fatal so I'm okay with the law. No harm was actually done so I'm okay with probation.


6 posted on 02/21/2007 12:41:33 PM PST by Mercat (Conservative Catholic here and I will not rule out either Rudy or Mitt.)
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To: GATOR NAVY
".....Hall, 25, of Jacksonville, N.C., is a mother of three and her husband is serving his third tour in Iraq...."

I wonder if this had anything to do charges being pressed by the 'offended' party?
7 posted on 02/21/2007 12:48:32 PM PST by Islander7 ("Show me an honest politician and I will show you a case of mistaken identity.")
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To: CharlesWayneCT
I'm having a hard time visualizing how the same car can cut you off twice. Lane closings are common on 95 and you always get the drivers who, rather than merge during the warning distance, stay in the closing lane until the last moment. If two or more lanes are closing, those in the remaining (in this case the far right since she was forced onto the shoulder) lane actually are forced to wait until the other traffic has merged twice. It can test the patience of the most easy-going person.

That's not the occasional-changing to find a moving lane. The drivers that do this have it perfected.

8 posted on 02/21/2007 12:48:58 PM PST by Abby4116
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To: CharlesWayneCT

"The couple said they hadn't even noticed Hall's car until the cup landed."

Tells me they were not even paying attention to traffic. I got hit by a Saab once due to his lack of not looking before he leaped! I drove away pissed off and he was towed away at least!


9 posted on 02/21/2007 12:59:49 PM PST by thebaron512
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To: rawhide

As Michael Waltrip says: "I don't get upset with drivers who cut me off. I just figure they need to be somewhere faster than me."

(The grammar would be "faster than I" but who's quibbling?)

The police and the judge over-reacted here. The weaver is partially responsible. The very least a person can do is stick a hand out of a window and wave to the person who let them into the line. It's just the polite thing to do.

But we're not nearly as polite a nation as we were fifty years ago.


10 posted on 02/21/2007 1:01:24 PM PST by HighlyOpinionated (Everybody should have the right to carry a firearm openly. And to use it if necessary.)
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To: Abby4116

As much as I hate to say it, The Germans got us beat on this one. When they get to traffic and lanes are merging they MUST file into the single lane like a zipper or they will be ticketed if caught not letting the next person get in front of them.

On another note, driving has gotten pretty bad in the recent past. The lack of use of signals is just unbelievable. That is one thing that should be enforced. They are for signalling your intentions and they are not optional. It doesn't matter if you are going 100 or 10 mph. Because someone around you is not going the same speed and doesn't know your intentions unless you signal them.

Please, please... Don't even get me started on the cell phone drivers. I do answer mine and ask them to hold on until I can pull over or call me back.


11 posted on 02/21/2007 1:01:34 PM PST by BookaT (My cat's breath smells like cat food!)
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To: Kitten Festival

It said she had to swerve off the road to avoid them -- that's not quite the same as being run off the road.

I've swerved onto the shoulder before because someone who was merging from the left was watching to make sure the car in front of them didn't stop and just didn't notice me.

Maybe the woman had a gap between her and the next car, but when the other driver signaled, she ran up so they couldn't merge in, and they didn't notice and started merging anyway.

I know I've merged into the same lane as someone else at least one or twice in my life, not on purpose. Fortunately, every time I've done it or others have done it to me, one of us was attentive enough to pull over and prevent an accident.

I never responded by throwing things at their car.

It could of course be that the other guy WAS being a completely obnoxious driver. The story seems to tell the story only from the woman's perspective, since the other driver wasn't charged so far as we know he probably figured keeping quiet was the best avenue.

I liked that the woman in the other car was upset the police took this to a trial and she might have been jailed. Community service would have been an appropriate way to handle it, with a record being expunged. No use having a criminal record for just throwing a soda.


12 posted on 02/21/2007 1:05:22 PM PST by CharlesWayneCT
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To: Abby4116

Technically, you are supposed to merge at the end of the lane, not when you first know it is dissappearing.

The lane exists so you can use it, if you merge early why wouldn't someone else drive past you to the end? If they wanted you to merge that soon, they would have blocked the road at that point.

Traffic moves better through a merge area if everybody merges at the point the lanes end, and if people cooperate by alternating.

When people merge early, it makes everybody mad, people in the continuing lane get to thinking they already let people in so they won't do it again, the people who came in get mad when others drive past them, and the people who wait for the merge point to merge get mad that nobody lets them in.

A caveat: In cases where there is a "merge lane" specifically set up for merging, you want to merge during the last part so nobody has to actually stop, rather than driving to the bitter end and then having to cut into moving traffic. Usually these are normal merges marked with arrows at the point where you are supposed to start merging (the Washington Beltway after the 270 spur entrance is like that).


13 posted on 02/21/2007 1:09:04 PM PST by CharlesWayneCT
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To: rawhide

I think she overreacted, but imho, this shouldn't have been more than a misdemeanor, unless someone had been injured. Then it would depend on the severity of the injury.


14 posted on 02/21/2007 1:10:58 PM PST by trisham (Zen is not easy. It takes effort to attain nothingness. And then what do you have? Bupkis.)
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To: thebaron512

There is nothing other than this womans word that they actually cut her off twice. But lets say he did cut her off.

Me???? I would give home plenty of room instead of getting alongside and tossing crap in his window.

*****"Now people are going to see me as an angry, road rage, convicted felon. And it really upsets me," she told the newspaper. "I must have been wrong . . . but seriously, God. Lesson learned. Lesson learned is one hour in this place."*****

Thats what she is ---a nut, if she had done this in Anacostia DC she would be underground now. Dead. She doesnt have to guess --was she wrong. She was.

I do agree with the sentence however ,she didnt need to go to jail for this,and hopefully she learned something.


15 posted on 02/21/2007 1:12:19 PM PST by sgtbono2002 (I will forgive Jane Fonda, when the Jews forgive Hitler.)
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To: CharlesWayneCT

I was thinking of lane closings due to road repair, accident, etc. Not the built in merge lanes. And yes, they drive right up to the barricades and EXPECT the next car to let them in. 99.5% of the traffice has vacated the closing lane before that point - I find it hard to believe that everyone is wrong except the one who feels entitled.


16 posted on 02/21/2007 1:28:58 PM PST by Abby4116
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To: BookaT
You are preaching to the choir here about turn signals. I would say that maybe 40% of the drivers here in Amarillo actually use their turn signals. I have to get on to my wife and my father in law about that issue. They are sweet and considerate people otherwise, I guess they just don't think about the needs of the drivers around them. I guess that helps my perspective a bit.

The other big one is people not turning on their headlights when it is getting dark and in the fog. There is just a certain percentage of people that refuse to understand the benefits of headlights in those situations. They figure that if they can see then the lights are not needed. WRONG!!! OK, rant over. I feel much better now.

17 posted on 02/21/2007 1:43:27 PM PST by Clump (Your family may not be safe, but at least their library records will be.)
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To: CharlesWayneCT

No disagreement with you on the Eliza chick, it's the boyfriend I have suspicions about. You must have only read one account - I read a couple and one says she was run off the road. If that's true, I think the Boyfriend should have to pay a little to justice, too, this crime didn't just happen out of the blue. I have a big problem with weavers, scumbags who refuse to use their turn signals, drunks and anyone else who doesn't observe road courtesies and laws about using signals. They too have got to pay if the war wife does. Still, I suspect the thrown ice was just a crime of opportunity. I prefer to report scumbags to the authorities and watch the reaction if I give them a good enough case, rather than throw things myself, I just am not that good a shot and tend to prefer to use the law as my weapon, not a stupid cup of ice.


18 posted on 02/21/2007 1:51:00 PM PST by Kitten Festival
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To: Clump

I like flicking the headlight violators and see what happens. Usually, they turn their lights right on, because they are only unaware that they are off.


19 posted on 02/21/2007 1:52:27 PM PST by Kitten Festival
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To: HighlyOpinionated

I have the same reaction. When one of them does it to me, I always make a mental picture of a midget who set his alarm clock too late, missed it, realized he was late, hops into his gigantic car, and tries to get ahead of everyone. Pathetic little midget in a hurry, making a fool of himself, so I laugh.


20 posted on 02/21/2007 1:55:00 PM PST by Kitten Festival
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To: Abby4116

I have contacts in the transportation field, but it is true that most people don't know the proper way to handle lane closures.

And it's hard to drive to the end when you know people aren't going to let you in. But it is true that if everybody stayed in their lanes, and then cooperated in a smooth merge at the point where they lanes join, you'd move a lot more cars through the choke point.


21 posted on 02/21/2007 1:56:14 PM PST by CharlesWayneCT
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To: rawhide

She's right. No one should go to jail over a piece of ice.
-- Debra Lafave


22 posted on 02/21/2007 2:55:38 PM PST by gcruse (http://garycruse.blogspot.com/)
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To: BookaT

Maneuvering without signalling is bad; signalling without maneuvering is probably even worse.


23 posted on 02/21/2007 7:50:00 PM PST by CGTRWK
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To: Kitten Festival

I usually do NOT get that response. It's like I can read their lips. "I don't need my headlights on, I can see just fine". I maybe get 20% to turn their lights on.


24 posted on 02/22/2007 8:15:02 AM PST by Clump (Your family may not be safe, but at least their library records will be.)
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