Nemo, of “Finding Nemo” fame, is a good-hearted fish trying to find his way home. However, for Julie Sipriano and her son, Matthew, their run-in with Nemo was more like a highway nightmare straight out of “Mad Max”.
The Siprianos were heading north on I-35 in the HOV lane when Julie noticed the driver behind her didn’t like her speed. They were driving a 2003 Ford Expedition, and the driver-in-question was in a smaller SUV.
“He was behind us and was in a hurry,” Julie says. “He was a single driver in the HOV lane. He moved around and got ahead of us and hit his brakes.”
Matthew, who was driving, slowed down in response. Julie quickly got on her cell phone and called 911.
“We tried to get away from him but he kept moving with us,” Julie says. “The dispatcher on the phone was telling me what to do but [the driver] was acting crazy. People around us saw what was happen-ing and slowed down, but he kept hitting his brakes and he was straddling two lanes.”
As the Siprianos came up to the bridge at the Trinity River, the driver rolled down his passenger window and threw out a trailer hitch ball. It hit the driver’s side rear quarter panel causing $700 in damages.
“If it would have been a smaller car, it would have caused some serious damage,” Julie says. “I got his license plate number and got a real good look at him.”
The man’s vehicle was registered to an address in Nemo, Texas, which is an unincorporated community in Somervell County, southwest of Cleburne off of Highway 67, with a population of 56.
Senior Cpl. Herb Ebsen has dealt with unruly drivers in his personal life and has some advice on dealing with these people.
“It is not worth fighting on the road with vehicles,” Ebsen says. “It has happened to me on numerous occasions with these nutcases. I tell my kids that there are so many people with guns in their vehicles. If you are 21 and don’t have a felony, you can own a gun. Some people are mad at life or their husband or wife.”
“The best advice I can give is just to wave to them like a friend, and they will go right past you. It has worked for me plenty of times. Get their license number, get out of the way, and call 911.” —Gabby Martinez