We see this far too often at truck stops. Drivers argue about nothing and the situation escalates into something far more physical than it should have been. And sometimes, it leads to the loss of a driver’s life, leaving his family and friends without their loved one.
On June 22, David Rodriguez, 46, of Rialto, California, pled guilty Wednesday to aggravated manslaughter for the shooting death of Ricardo Menezes De Castro, 43, of Deerfield Beach, Florida. The shooting occurred on January 23, 2021, at the Pilot Truck Stop off of Exit 12 on I-78 in Hampton, New Jersey.
The incident began as Rodriguez and De Castro began arguing with each other. “I kept backing up, he swung at me several times.” Rodriguez said. After De Castro spit at him, Rodriguez used the Smith and Wesson .40 caliber pistol he had tucked under his shirt.
Rodriguez reportedly fired four times, striking De Castro twice. De Castro fled into the Pilot Truck Stop, where first responders found him. He was transported to a nearby hospital and pronounced dead.
Rodriguez went back to his truck after firing on De Castro and called 911. He told dispatchers that he had shot someone. The men did not know each other before the incident.
Rodriguez has been in jail since then. Section 2C:11-4 of the New Jersey Criminal Statutes recommend a sentence of 10 to 30 years and a $200,000 fine, if convicted.