When you get in a car accident and the other person involved gets angry to the point of a physical confrontation, what do you do?
The 19-year-old Modesto man who accidentally rear-ended a pickup on Claus Road late Tuesday night did the right thing by getting into his car, police said.
"His first reaction was a smart reaction," said Lt. Rick Armendariz of the Modesto Police Department. "Instead of engaging in an argument with the person, step away or, in this situation, get in your vehicle and distance yourself."
Unfortunately for the man, the pickup driver pulled out a gun and gave chase in his vehicle, eventually tracking down the man and shooting him in the back. Armendariz also said that the suspect shot at a female companion who was with the victim. She was not injured.
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The pickup driver, Victor Ramirez, 20, of Modesto, was arrested Wednesday afternoon on suspicion of attempted murder. He was taken into custody without incident at a home in the 2800 block of Andalusia Way in east Modesto.
The victim, who was treated and released from a local hospital, saw the suspect in the neighborhood Wednesday afternoon. He told Central Valley TV that his two friends got a license plate and followed him to the house on Andalusia.
The victim then called police, who surrounded the house and eventually took Ramirez into custody without incident as he exited the home.
The owner of the home, Richard Garcia, 30, arrived home soon after and gave police permission to search the residence for other possible suspects.
Inside, police found 30 marijuana plants, methamphetamine and a gun that turned out to be stolen.
Garcia was arrested and charged with marijuana cultivation, possession of meth and a stolen gun, as well as being a felon in possession of a stolen gun.
Armendariz said the gun was not the same one used in the shooting. He said Garcia and Ramirez were acquaintances.
"I thought I was going to die," the victim told Central Valley TV. "I've never been shot at before never gave anyone a reason to shoot at me. I don't even have a gun. I've never thought to shoot anyone else.
"I guess people think differently."
In addition to trying to leave the scene, Armendariz said it's best in those situations to stay on busy streets and try to bring attention to yourself.
"Honk your horn, drive to somewhere public, a shopping center call 911 on your cell phone," he said, adding that in the late night or early morning hours, head to a main thoroughfare. "We wouldn't recommend going into a residential neighborhood and going, 30, 40, or 50 miles per hour."