DRIVER CHARGED IN RT. 422 SHOOTING
arrested in rush hour road rage incident
Saturday, April 10, 2010
By Brandie Kessler
UPPER PROVIDENCE — A Gilbertsville man was arrested and charged with attempted murder after allegedly shooting a female motorist on Route 422 during an apparent road-rage incident Friday morning.
The alleged shooter was identified as John A. Yannarell by police and his Norristown attorney, Saul Solomon.
Solomon said he received a call from Yannarell late Friday morning.
"He had some questions because he was one of the suspects of an incident we all know about," Solomon said, referring to the shooting incident on Route 422. Solomon said Yannarell "heard on the radio of the incident" and then sought out Solomon after a friend recommended him, Solomon said.
"Based on everything we knew about the case, we knew the police wanted to speak with him," Solomon said prior to Yannarell's arraignment late Friday afternoon before District Judge Cathleen Kelly Rebar.
According to Solomon, Yannarell is a 50-year-old engineer who works in center city Philadelphia.
Court records show Yannarell had at
least seven traffic violations in Chester, Montgomery and Delaware counties since 2007.
Trooper Danea Durham, public information officer with the Pennsylvania State Police, said police received the report of a road-rage incident on Route 422 near Oaks around 7:15 a.m. Friday during the morning rush hour.
"We got a call from a female driver saying she was having a road-rage incident," Durham said. Police refused to name the woman, but described her as a 31-year-old from the Pottstown area.
Durham said police believed the shooting victim's vehicle was in motion when she was shot, which she called a "scary situation" on a congested roadway during rush hour.
"I wasn't privy to any of the information witnesses may have given ... obviously it's a dangerous situation when there are motorists on the road," Durham said. "Traffic is already moving so slow in the morning (because of construction and congestion) and there's already so much heavy traffic, obviously it made the morning commute a whole lot worse than it already was."
Durham said this was the first shooting she had heard about on Route 422, but she has heard of others on other major roads.
"You need to use common sense and have common courtesy when you're driving on the roadway," Durham said. "We have a lot of road-rage incidents and unfortunately this one escalated to a shooting."
The police statement released to the press stated the shooting victim was driving east on Route 422 when she noticed an erratic driver swerving in and out of traffic behind her.
Police said the woman "moved to the right lane in an effort to get out of the way. At that time the suspect vehicle passed her on the right shoulder and fired a shot into her vehicle."
Police said the victim was able to follow Yannarell on the shoulder and call 911 to report a description of the vehicle Yannarell was allegedly driving and the license plate of the vehicle.
However, reader comments on www.pottsmerc.com
and an eyewitness account described the two vehicles as engaging in a "cat and mouse" scenario.
Several readers commented that they were familiar with a driver that matched the description of Yannarell and his vehicle, alleging they had been cut off by him recently. One person said they were certain Yannarell had cut them off within a week of Friday's incident because they jotted down his registration and car's make and model when they encountered him on the roadway.
Police said the victim was transported to the Hospital of the University of Pennsylvania where she was treated for a gunshot wound and released later Friday afternoon.
Meanwhile, police had broadcast a description of the vehicle Yannarell was allegedly driving, a silver Buick Lucerne with Pennsylvania registration.
Police said Yannarell was apprehended in Norristown.
In addition to attempted homicide, Yannarell is also being charged with aggravated assault and reckless endangerment.
Residents of Ruby Circle in the Gilbertsville development where Yannarell lives and is the president of the homeowners association were shocked Friday morning to see police and members of the media present on their streets, although some of them were not completely surprised to hear what police alleged Yannarell had done.
Jim Roland, who lives in the house next door to Yannarell, said he once had to call the police because Yannarell got into a dispute with a contractor.
"He never really got hot with me, but he got hot with my contractor," Roland said.
"You wouldn't think somebody would pull a gun. I figure he's a neighbor, so if there's a problem, what's he gonna do? Shoot me? So that was my only reaction. It's just good that he's caught."
Another neighbor who declined to give her name said Yannarell approached her husband shortly after they moved into the neighborhood this past summer.
She said her husband had just finished cutting the grass and a few grass clippings had blown into the street.
"My husband was mowing the grass ... and the guy came over and said, 'Can you clean that up, you're wrecking the neighborhood.
"With the way he treated my husband, it doesn't surprise me," he was arrested Friday, the neighbor said. "If you're going to come over because of the grass ... it doesn't make me thrilled to know ... there's somebody that hot-headed" in the neighborhood.
A person who has frequently been in Yannarell's presence and knows his family but who declined to be identified described him as a "very nice person" and someone who is "very caring," but acknowledged what many of Yannarell's neighbors said about him.
"I have to agree with everything thing else you've heard," the person said. "He doesn't have good social skills (but) I can't believe that he did that."