Motorcyclist kicks car, causes violent crash in California

SANTA CLARITA, Calif. (CBS News) — An apparent case of road rage triggered a frightening crash in California on Wednesday — and it was all caught on video like a scene from an action movie.

CLICK FOR MORE IMAGES OF THE VIOLENT CRASH

In a dramatic clip recorded on a cellphone, you can see a motorcyclist kick a driver’s side door of a Nissan sedan. The sedan then swerved and hit a cement divider, bounced out into traffic and slammed into a pickup truck, causing it to flip over on a busy Southern California freeway in the city of Santa Clarita, about 40 miles north of Los Angeles.

The driver of that truck, 75-year-old Carlos Benavidez, was rushed to the hospital with a gash on his head. CBS News spoke with him and he can’t believe he walked away. Benavidez has survived cancer, heart disease — and now this crash.

“I saw my world coming to an end… to be honest with you,” Benavidez said. “When I felt the impact and the truck spun out from beside me and I started to roll, I saw nothing but asphalt and sky.”

CBS News reached out to Chris Traber on Thursday afternoon. He shot the video from the passenger seat of another car by phone. He says he began recording when he saw the freeway fight over a lane change suddenly shift into high gear.

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“Yeah, it was like … what the heck is going on with these people,” Traber told us. “I don’t know if the driver of the car got scared or freaked out ‘like what am I supposed to do now’ or intentionally tried to run him off the road.”

Carlos Benavidez (CBS News)

According to the latest figures from the National Highway Transportation Safety Administration, fatalities from aggressive driving have increased 60 percent since 2011. About two-thirds of highway deaths are caused by aggressive driving.

Joshua Greengard from the California Highway Patrol spoke with CBS News about the incident.

“This could have been a tragedy,” Greengard said. “Whatever they did for this incident to occur doesn’t warrant them fighting in the middle of the freeway.”

Officers are trying to track down the motorcyclist who could face a felony if charged with a hit-and-run.

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