People just need to slow down and be calm. It's never a wise decision to move toward aggressive, road rage driving. —Davis County Sheriff's Office lieutenant Susan Poulsen
KAYSVILLE — Susan Poulsen said the man had just gotten out of his car, fists clenched, and appeared to be walking back to her vehicle ready for a fight.
That's when Poulsen, a Davis County Sheriff's Office lieutenant, turned on the red and blue emergency lights of the unmarked police vehicle she was driving.
"He obviously changed his demeanor once he saw who was behind him," said Poulsen, who described the man as having a look of "shock" come over his face.
Thursday morning, Poulsen said she was driving to work when she encountered a "nice guy going to work who just lost it." She talked about the incident to bring attention to the problem of road rage.
About 6 a.m. on U.S. 89 near Kaysville, Poulsen said she moved into the fast lane to pass a slower moving vehicle. She did not cut anyone off.
But after she moved into the left lane, "the vehicle behind me accelerated to the point he was tailgating. The only thing I could see was the stop of this vehicle's hood," she said.
Poulsen moved over to the right lane to allow the driver, a man in his 50s, to pass. She said she had already determined she was going to pull the man over for tailgating.
But as soon as the vehicle passed her, the driver "immediately swerved" into her lane too.
"He slammed on his brakes and pretty much locked it up," Poulsen said.
The man stopped in the middle of the road and got out to confront her.
"I don't know what his intention was. My opinion is he was coming back to fight based on his body language," she said. "I'm certain he had no idea who he was trying to engage."
When Poulsen activated her emergency lights, the man immediately went back to his vehicle with his tail between his legs. She then got out of her vehicle to talk to him.
"When I made contact with him, he was immediately apologetic and changed his behavior," she said.
"You can't just go as fast as you want to just because you're in the fast lane," Poulsen said.
The message for all drivers should be to do a self check about their driving habits and how they react to other drivers.
"People just need to slow down and be calm," she said. "It's never a wise decision to move toward aggressive, road rage driving."
Poulsen said the man could have just as easily confronted a person who carried a gun who wasn't a police officer, and it could have ended with far less peaceful results.
In additional to making an example of the man, whom she declined to name, Poulsen said she let the man off with a "Christmas present." He was cited for tailgating, an infraction. He could have been charged with aggressive and reckless driving, which carries a fine of more than $600.
"It was his lucky day," she said.