Arrest made in Modesto road rage that started with a honk and ended in shooting

Nathaniel Marques Smith
Nathaniel Marques Smith

A Modesto man with a history of driving-related offenses has been arrested in connection with a road rage incident that escalated into a shooting in late June.

At about 10 a.m. on June 27 the suspect, for unknown reasons, honked at the victim in the area of College Avenue and Needham Street, said Modesto Police Sgt. Kalani Souza. In response, the victim began following the suspect, which became obvious as the suspect zig-zagged north through the city.

When they reached the area of Mt Vernon Drive and Prescott Road the suspect made a U-turn and fired twice at the victim as he passed him, Souza said. He then got behind the victim and fired at least two more rounds. Bullets hit the victim’s vehicle but he was not injured.

Souza said the suspect followed the victim for some time until he was able to lose him.

The victim described the suspect’s vehicle to police as a black Nissan hatchback with major rear end damage.

Souza said a description of the vehicle was disseminated to patrol officers, one of whom located it and notified detectives. Through additional investigation detectives identified the driver of the vehicle as 21-year-old Nathaniel Marques Smith.

According to online court records Smith in the past two and a half years has been fined for driving without a license, current registration and insurance. He also was convicted of carrying a loaded firearm in public and charged with a hit and run, according to records.

Four days after the road rage shooting he was ticketed for driving more than 100 mph.

Smith was pulled over in San Joaquin County a few days ago for another traffic related offense and arrested on the Modesto Police warrant for attempted murder.

On Monday he was transferred to the Stanislaus County Jail where he is being held on $500,000 bail.

Erin has been covering breaking news and crime at The Modesto Bee since 2010. She is a Humboldt State graduate and resides in Oakdale.