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Two road rage incidents may have been downplayed by D.C. authorities in March. One is currently attracting a good bit of attention, the other not so much.
Thomas Bagnall and William Greenback, two Voice of America reporters, have filed a District civil suit alleging they were plowed into on March 23 by an angry and impatient FBI employee driving a Hyundai Accent. The two were unloading camera equipment outside the National Press Club at 14th and F streets NW, when Joy Ellen Mullinax allegedly lost her temper and drove her car into Bagnall, and then, moments later, Greenback.
FBI agents showed up, and Mullinax was given a ticket for illegally changing lanes by the Metropolitan Police Department. The $2 million suit says she should have been charged with a more serious crime, like striking a pedestrian.
Meanwhile, the owner of Morgan’s Seafood Romeo Morgan,caught the story on television last night. He says he couldn’t believe it. “It’s the exact same thing,” he says.
As City Desk earlier reported, Morgan says he was standing in the street trying to direct a truck into a parking spot outside his restaurant on the afternoon of March 18, in order to assist traffic flow, when Detective Leon Epps rolled up. Morgan says the detective hit him several times with his car. Morgan wasn’t hurt (he didn’t even fall over), but told cops who arrived at the scene he wanted to press charges. Despite the request, he wasn’t given a police report number, and Epps was allowed to drive off. (Epps didn’t respond to a request for comment.)
A witness snapped a picture of the altercation with a cellphone, and it appears above. In it, a Mercedes Benz (Morgan mistakenly thought the car was a BMW) is dangerously close. The photographer didn’t respond when asked to describe when during the altercation the shot was taken.
MPD says that though Morgan’s allegations are under investigation, Epps is still on active duty status, meaning he hasn’t been put on leave pending the inquiry. MPD also says it’s looking into the situation with the VOA reporters. The FBI declined comment.