Apparent road-rage incident leads to fatal crash

Break checking. Not only a dysfunctional method of roadway interpersonal communication, it can be deadly. Many road rage incidents start with the premise that another driver took something from us (time, 100 feet of asphalt, self-esteem, etc.) and we feel entitled to get it back…or make them pay. Think again. Stay calm out there!


The driver of a minivan was killed this morning on Interstate 80 in Richmond in a crash that may have been road rage-related, the California Highway Patrol said.

The crash happened about 5:45 a.m. when the driver of a 1989 Ford Aerostar minivan heading west on I-80 struck a pickup in the carpool lane west of Carlson Boulevard, the CHP said. The minivan then crashed into the center divide and flipped a number of times, sending debris across the freeway.

The minivan’s driver was Ronald Zerangue, 63, of El Sobrante, his wife said. She declined to comment further.

Zerangue, who died at the scene, may have been trying to “brake-check” the driver of the 2004 GMC pickup truck at the time of the crash, said Officer Sam Morgan, a CHP spokesman.

Brake-checking involves intentionally swerving in front of a car and slamming on the brakes, Morgan said.

Zerangue, the lone occupant of the minivan, was driving behind the GMC driver before he swerved into the next lane and sped past the pickup, the CHP said.

Zerangue then apparently tried to cut in front of the GMC and hit the brakes, but clipped the pickup before slamming into the center divide, Morgan said.

Zerangue had a valid license and a clean driving record, according to California Department of Motor Vehicles records. He had been a mechanic at AC Transit for the last four years, said Clarence Johnson, a spokesman for the agency.

The pickup driver stopped at the crash scene and was cooperating with investigators, Morgan said. The male driver and his female passenger, who were not identified, suffered minor injuries.

Three westbound lanes were closed for two hours while CHP officers investigated the crash.

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