Alleged road-rage victim faces charge
A Rifle man who accused a RFTA bus driver of nearly running him over earlier this summer is facing his own charge of misconduct for the confrontation.
Jerry Blackard, 53, of Rifle, must appear in Eagle County Court Friday on a misdemeanor charge of disorderly conduct for his alleged role in a June 29 road-rage incident with RFTA bus driver David Dodge, according to a report by Eagle County Deputy Sheriff Rob Lawson.
Lawson earlier charged Dodge with harassment, failure to notify police of an accident and reckless driving based on information supplied by Blackard and his son.
The Blackards claimed they were cut off by the bus on Two Rivers Road in the Basalt area. The elder Blackard tried to talk to Dodge about his driving at an El Jebel bus stop, according to police reports. When the bus didn’t stop, Blackard followed it to a second station in El Jebel, got out of his vehicle and hoisted himself to the driver’s window.
After an exchange, Blackard claimed Dodge pulled the bus away and nearly ran him over, reports said. Blackard complained to Eagle County deputies and Lawson ticketed Dodge later that day when he returned to El Jebel after a run to Glenwood Springs.
In subsequent interviews with three witnesses, Lawson determined that a charge of disorderly conduct was warranted against Blackard because he twice attempted to block the bus – first with his vehicle and then with his body.
The witnesses’ statements were unavailable at the sheriff’s office substation in El Jebel this week because they were forwarded to the main office in Eagle and to the District Attorney’s office.
Blackard was unavailable for comment about the charge against him.
Dodge’s attorney, John VanNess, said he hoped the witnesses’ statements would clear his client of the charges. He said he believes the case was nothing more than one driver getting upset about something that happened on the road, then turning it into an unfounded complaint to police.
“You dial the cops on your cell phone and tell them whatever you think will screw up the other guy,” said VanNess.
He said the allegations against his client are serious because they threaten Dodge’s livelihood. If convicted of failure to report an accident, he could lose his license and his job.
VanNess maintained there was no accident to report – as the witnesses confirmed.
“You’d think if the bus almost ran someone over that somebody would have noticed,” said VanNess.
Both Blackard and Dodge are scheduled to appear in Eagle County Court Friday.
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