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Aug 30, 2013 2:18 AM by Samantha Ptashkin

Road rage victim says NW side accident could have been prevented

TUCSON- Ashley Stock is stuck in a hospital bed, with a fractured spine and a medical halo strapped to her head.

"I can't really do anything," Stock says while fighting back tears. "I can't run, I can walk a little bit, but I can't take showers and I can't drive."

The 22-year-old was driving home from work Wednesday night, when an enraged driver struck her car at Thornydale Road and Cortaro Farms Road.

The entire incident started when an off-duty TPD officer merged onto Aviation Highway and 22nd Street, then nearly collided with a pickup truck. The driver of the truck, 38-year old Eric Santos, continued to follow closely behind the officer through the downtown area and onto westbound Interstate 10.

As the officer slowed his speed to exit I-10 at Ina Road, Santos deliberately rammed and pushed the officer's vehicle. The officer reached the intersection of Thornydale and Cortaro Farms and hit a red light.

To avoid a confrontation with Santos, the officer made a left turn on the red light, after checking to make sure there was no traffic approaching. When Santos reached the intersection, he made a left turn and collided with Stock, who was driving southbound.

"The airbag deployed, glass shattered and I cried and screamed," Stock says.

She says the accident could have been prevented if the off-duty TPD officer had called 911 when the road rage started on the south side. "I realize there are two sides to every story, but I'm a mom, I'm a parent, the officer might be a parent and nobody wants to see their child put in that situation," says Beverly Christian, Stock's mother.

TPD can't comment on the incident since the investigation is ongoing and being handled by the Pima County Sheriff's Department, as well as DPS and the Marana Police Department.

PCSD Deputy Tracy Suitt says whether a driver is a trained law enforcement officer or not, if you're involved in a road rage incident, call 911 right away. "Do not stop your car and try to confront the other driver," Deputy Suitt says. "Continue driving and try to contact 911 as soon as possible to get authorities responding to wherever you are."

Charges are pending against Santos.

Meanwhile, Stock is grateful to be alive, but wondering how things could have been different if someone had taken action sooner.

Doctors tell her it will take at least three to six months for her spine to stabilize.

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