Police have arrested a Pennsylvania man suspected of fatally shooting an 18-year-old driver in a fit of road rage because, a prosecutor said, he “didn’t want her to merge into a lane of traffic.”
David Desper, 28, is charged with first- and third-degree murder, possession of an instrument of crime and reckless endangering, according to Philadelphia ABC affiliate WPVI. He surrendered to authorities around 2 a.m. Sunday, ending a three-state manhunt.
The shooting occurred during rush hour on Wednesday, as Bianca Nikol Roberson was returning home from a shopping trip for college clothes.
The teen and another driver started to merge into the same lane, “jostling for the position” on Route 100 in West Goshen Township, more than 30 miles from Philadelphia, said Michael Noone, first assistant district attorney for the Chester County District Attorney’s Office. Roberson’s vehicle veered from the roadway and crashed into a tree, police said in a statement.
But the officers who responded to the crash soon determined that the teen had been shot in the head, police said. She was pronounced dead at the scene. The other driver was nowhere to be found.
“We’re doing everything we can to catch this suspect and bring him to justice,” Noone told The Washington Post on Friday.
West Goshen Township is at the southeastern tip of Pennsylvania, near the border with Delaware and New Jersey, so authorities searched for the suspect — described in initial reports as a white man between 30 and 40 years old in a red pickup truck — in three states.
The truck was last seen exiting Route 202 onto Paoli Pike.
Roberson had graduated from Bayard Rustin High School in West Chester, Pa., and was set to attend Jacksonville University. She had hoped to one day work for the FBI, according to WPVI.
“She was a good girl, honor roll student, looking forward to going to college,” her father, Rodney Roberson, told the news station.
He pleaded with the other driver to help close his daughter’s case.
“If you don’t even think it was your fault, and have a conscience, come forward and give us some closure and explain in your own words what happened,” he said, according to the news station.
While speaking to reporters on Thursday, Chester County District Attorney Tom Hogan also directly addressed the other driver.
“To that man who fired that shot, turn yourself in now,” Hogan said. “Every second you are out there, you are only making this worse for yourself and making this worse for this young lady’s family.”