Tim Davison of Poland, who was shot to death Saturday alongside a highway in Pennsylvania, had nine speeding tickets and three accidents on his driving record, but his family and friends say he was not an aggressive driver, and they object to his death being characterized by police as a road rage incident.
Police have provided no indication that anything Davison did behind the wheel that night was a factor in his death.
“He never sweated the small stuff,” said his mother, Theresa Allocca. “If someone had cut him off, he might say ‘jerk’ and let it go. He wouldn’t have engaged in what we see on L.A. freeways. He just wanted to get home.”
Davison, 28, was returning from visiting his sister in Florida when he called 911 to report that someone in a dark pickup truck was chasing him and shooting at him as he drove north on Interstate 81. Soon after he crossed into Pennsylvania from Maryland, the pickup rammed Davison’s sport utility vehicle, causing him to slide into the median, where he got stuck. Police say a person who had been in the pickup got out and shot him multiple times.
Police say they believe Davison’s death is related to an incident that happened 60 miles away at 6:45 p.m. Friday. A man reported that the driver of a dark pickup tailgated him, then drove alongside him and fired a gun at his pickup. The man got away unharmed but a bullet lodged in the headrest.
Authorities, fearing that Davison’s killer will strike again, have formed a task force that includes local police, the FBI and state troopers from Maryland and Pennsylvania. Investigators searched for more clues Wednesday at the scene of the shooting, where the snow that had covered the ground has since melted.
Police characterized the killing as a road rage incident after determining that Davison and the gunman did not know each other and had no prior dispute.
Trooper Robert Hicks, spokesman for the Pennsylvania State Police, told The Associated Press this week that Davison reported that some sort of problem triggered the incident, such as one driver braking suddenly or cutting the other one off.
On Tuesday, he was more direct, saying: “There is stuff in the (911) call – you know – aggressive driving, on the suspect’s part.”
The task force issued a statement Tuesday that said, “The acts committed against Mr. Davison were random only to the point of his initial encounter with his assailant. Beyond that, the acts against him were very deliberate, calculated, and violent.
“The potential for additional incidents of similar nature is anticipated due to the violent nature of this incident,” suggesting police do not believe it was related to an isolated dispute over driving.
On Wednesday, Hicks would not comment on the investigation.
He would not say whether there was any interaction between Davison and the driver who chased him before Davison was run off the road. He also would not say whether police believe aggressive driving was a factor.
Davison’s driving record included about one speeding ticket a year over the past decade, three license suspensions and some minor violations. He was ordered to take a defensive-driving course in 2010, having been involved in three accidents.
In 2007, a driver who was changing lanes on Forest Avenue in Portland pulled into his vehicle.
In 2008, Davison lost control on a curve on White Oak Hill Road in Poland and rolled over, striking and snapping a utility pole. He was not hurt.
In 2009, he failed to yield when pulling out of a driveway in Greenwood and was hit by another car. Nobody was injured.
A driving record like Davison’s would be considered an extensive record of minor violations, said Robert Annese, law enforcement liaison for the Maine Bureau of Highway Safety.
Offenses over an extended period suggest a driver is not changing behavior, he said, but the absence of criminal charges, such as driving after suspension or criminal speeding, would indicate that someone is not among the more serious violators.
The state classifies drivers as habitual offenders if they accumulate three serious driving offenses within five years. Davison had none of those offenses on his record.
Theresa Allocca said her son’s driving should help dispel any idea that his death was the result of a highway disagreement.
“Technically, ‘road rage’ means anything (violent) on a highway. However, road rage indicates there were two parties involved in that. That does not appear to be the case, where ‘Asti’ in anyway instigated,” Allocca said. “He was always safety-conscious, the kind of guy who would always use his blinkers and be very cautious of his surroundings.”
“His friends are really shocked and would like to see the term ‘road rage’ gone, because he was so peaceful. … They say he was a gentle giant,” she said. “He wouldn’t certainly engage in what one would normally think or see in media as a road rage behavior. He was just not that kind of guy.”
David Hench can be contacted at 791-6327 or at: