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Man pointed gun, scrawled racial slur at Black driver on I-15, charges say

Davis County prosecutors seek to use hate crimes statute in alleged road rage incident

SHARE Man pointed gun, scrawled racial slur at Black driver on I-15, charges say
Traffic congestion is seen looking north on I-15 from 400 North overpass in Bountiful following a spill on the interstate in Bountiful on April 21, 2005. Photo by Ravell Call. search words: heavy traffic, road, cars, trucks. (Submission date: 04/21/2005)

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WOODS CROSS — A Brigham City man was charged Friday with pointing a gun at a Black man and mouthing a racial slur while he was driving on I-15.

If the man is convicted, prosecutors say they will argue for increased penalties at sentencing using the application of Utah's hate crimes statute.

Justin Allen Franck, 25, is charged in 2nd District Court with two counts of aggravated assault, a third-degree felony, and a traffic infraction.

The incident happened on June 21 on the freeway near 2600 South in Woods Cross. Franck was “driving in an aggressive manner, including hitting his brakes suddenly after cutting in front of another vehicle,” according to charging documents.

After cutting in front of the vehicle — which was being driven by a Black man — Franck pointed a handgun at the car and mouthed the racial slur to the driver while driving alongside him, the charges state.

He also “held up a note with the word (N-word) handwritten on it,” according to charging documents.

The victim and his female passenger said the road rage began earlier on the freeway when the victim accidentally cut Franck off in an area where the road merged. Franck responded by “aggressively” driving around them, pulling in front of them and hitting his brakes, according to a police booking affidavit.

The couple was able to record part of the incident with their phone. The next day, the Utah Highway Patrol was able to track Franck down. He said he “was frustrated because the witness vehicle was traveling in the fast lane at a slow speed,” the affidavit states.

Investigators found a loaded 9mm handgun inside Franck’s vehicle at the time of his arrest, the charges state. “The clip had 12 rounds in it.”