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Off-duty trooper keeps cool during armed road rage incident, leads to arrest of driver

The trooper was driving with his family when the suspect displayed a firearm; the trooper then reported the incident to Florida Highway Patrol


Florida Highway Patrol

By Mark Price
The Charlotte Observer

LAKELAND, Fla. — A suspected case of road rage took an unexpected turn when the victim proved to be a cool-headed state trooper, according to Florida Highway Patrol.

It happened Sunday, Oct. 29, just before 4 p.m. on Polk Parkway in the Lakeland area, and the trooper was off duty and with his family, highway patrol said in a news release. Lakeland is about 35 miles northeast of Tampa.

“Caught in slow-moving traffic, a driver in a red Chevy pickup became agitated and began focusing his attention on the trooper,” highway patrol said.

“As traffic cleared, the suspect drove alongside the trooper’s vehicle, speeding up and slowing down, yelling and using hand gestures. The trooper ignored the suspect; however, the suspect slowed again and displayed a compact style firearm, eventually pointing the weapon at the trooper.”

The trooper, who was not identified, reported the encounter to Florida Highway Patrol and a search was launched.

Investigators say the vehicle was eventually found at the 32-year-old driver’s home in Auburndale, about 11 miles east of Lakeland. He was identified as Matthew Timothy Reiter.

Reiter was arrested and troopers “located five different firearms,” officials said. He is charged with “three counts each of unlawful display of a weapon and aggravated assault with a weapon,” officials said.

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