Road Rage Victim Denied Justice
'When we got that verdict, we got physically ill'
While in transit, the Seattle resident accidentally cut off another another driver, who became enraged and started following Deraitus, trying to pass him several times. According to court documents, the driver of the other vehicle then pulled up alongside Deraitus, drew out a gun and shot him in the face.
"I just remember thinking, 'If I pass out, I'm not opening my eyes, and this is how I'm going to die here in the street,'" he told KEPRTV.
Deraitus said that he got a very good look at the shooter before he pulled the gun.
"I saw his face," he said. "I saw him shoot me. I knew I was shot."
He was to the hospital where he wound up losing his eye, but his nightmare didn't end there.
Authorities arrested Justin McCleod, who, according to KEPRTV, was a felon with a history of crimes and arrests and charged him in the shooting.
But, earlier this week, to the shock and dismay of Deraitus and his family, a King Country Superior Court judge acquitted McCleod, stating that there wasn't enough evidence to convict him.
"When we got that verdict, we got physically ill," Deraitus' father said to KEPRTV. "We know that the justice system failed us in this case -- there's no question."
McCleod walked away from the ordeal a free man and has since been arrested and imprisoned for a different crime.
Deraitus, however, will have to live with the scars of this horrific road rage incident. It took 5 surgeries to repair his face and he has lost his sense of taste and smell. But, all in all, he says that he hopes his story can inspire other victims of road rage to rise above the situation and become stronger for the experience.
"There are pros that come out of bad things like this," he said. "You get stronger."
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