Originally created 09/01/01

Road rage chase ends in stabbing



Columbia County deputies were searching late Friday for a Martinez man in the fatal stabbing of a motorist on Interstate 20, in what authorities are calling an incident of "road rage."

Investigators were seeking arrest warrants against Brian Jennings Lonergan, 28, of Reveres Place in connection with the death of a Thomson man, according to Columbia County Lt. Patrick Cullinan.

The incident began about 10 p.m. on I-20 near Belair Road, when two pickups were involved in a minor collision, said sheriff's Capt. Steve Morris.

A white Nissan truck was rear-ended by a 1985 GMC truck, possibly gold in color, Lt. Cullinan said.

The driver at fault failed to stop and the second vehicle followed it, Capt. Morris said. For about three miles, the drivers yelled at each other and tried to cut each other off before stopping on the Lewiston Road exit ramp, police said.

The driver of the GMC, whom police identified as Mr. Lonergan, exited the truck with a female passenger and confronted the other driver, police said.

"There was a full-blown fight, and the victim got stabbed, and of course the suspect got a head wound from the fight," Lt. Cullinan said.

Lt. Cullinan said the incident could be characterized as road rage, but was being investigated as a traffic accident and an assault.

After police arrived, the Nissan driver, a 22-year-old Thomson man, was rushed to Medical College of Georgia Hospital. He later died from his injuries, police said. The passengers in the Nissan were unharmed.

Deputies later located the damaged GMC at a home of one of Mr. Lonergan's relatives.

Police suspect the couple left the truck there, along with a small child who was with them at the time of the incident, Capt. Morris said. They may have fled in another vehicle, he said.

Mr. Lonergan was described as white, with brown hair and blue eyes, about 5 feet 2 inches tall and weighing 145 lbs. Anyone with information about his whereabouts is asked to call the sheriff's office at 541-2800.

Reach Greg Rickabaugh at (803) 279-6895 or scbureau@augustachronicle.com.