FT. WRIGHT, Ky. (FOX19) - No charges will be filed against a driver who fatally shot another man on Interstate-75 last Friday, Kenton County Prosecutor Rob Sanders announced Monday.
The two men were involved in a collision around 1:30 p.m. near the Kyles Lane exit.
Once both drivers pulled off to the side of the road, one of them called 911 to report the wreck as part of a possible road rage incident. The caller has been identified as Joshua Taylor.
FOX19 NOW obtained a recording of Taylor’s 911 call.
“A guy road raged me, ran over into my lane, flipping me off and ran me off the road," Taylor recalled. "He may be in some medical emergency, I don’t know. He skidded off the road pretty hard. I got a bunch of witnesses over here.”
Taylor said the other driver, John Abell, 41, of Cincinnati, began to walk toward him.
“The man is armed and he’s coming with a gun right now,” Taylor said. He informed dispatchers he was armed as well.
“Sir, sir please. Sir, sir please,” Taylor said. Then: “Shots fired. Sir, I just fired shots at him.”
Sanders says Taylor rendered first aid to Abell while still talking with 911.
Abell was taken to the University of Cincinnati Medical Center, where he died from his injuries.
Investigators interviewed over dozen witnesses to the crash and shooting. Sanders said all their statements were essentially consistent and that they gave police photos taken on cell phones.
According to Sanders, Abell can be seen with his rifle threatening a bystander before pointing the gun at the other driver who was still sitting in his car.
Investigators say Abell’s rifle was unloaded and had a trigger lock in place.
“There was no way for [Taylor] to know the rifle being stuck in his face was inoperable,” Sanders says in the release.
Speaking with FOX19 NOW, Sanders added, “As far as Mr. Taylor knew, he had a loaded gun pointed in his face. Everybody should always assume that any gun that’s pointed at you is loaded."
Sanders explained under the state law, Taylor was justified shooting Abell because he had reason to fear for his own life.
“Kentucky law states an individual is justified in the use of physical force upon another when the individual believes such force is necessary to protect against the use of unlawful force by another person,” Sanders said. “The investigation by Ft. Wright and Kenton County Police Departments conclusively found the shooter was reasonably in fear for his own life and responded lawfully."
Sanders said both Taylor and Abell were lawfully in possession of their firearms. Kentucky no longer requires a permit to carry concealed weapons and does not require guns to be registered.
Autopsy and toxicology reports on Abell are still pending, according to Sanders. He did say several empty alcohol containers were found inside Abell’s vehicle.
Sanders said witnesses suspected Abell was impaired based upon his driving prior to the collision
He also said it did not appear that the two drivers knew each other and that it remains unknown why Abell was driving so aggressively.