Road-rage pursuit after ‘hand signal’ led to critical I-40 wreck, police say

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Austin Duckworth

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MEMPHIS, Tenn. — A 20-year-old is facing numerous charges after police say he chased a vehicle in a fit of road rage on Interstate 40 Monday, leading to a wreck that left a man in critical condition.

Austin Duckworth is charged with reckless aggravated assault, reckless driving, reckless endangerment and violating the seatbelt law.

Police say he was driving a Ford F-150 on I-40 near Appling Road at 2:45 p.m. when a driver in another vehicle gave him a "derogatory hand signal," then sped away.

Duckworth tried to pursue the small burgundy sedan across three lanes of traffic.

As he chased the vehicle, his truck clipped the front of another pickup, causing his truck to lose control and hit the center median, overturning.

The impact caused Duckworth's passenger, a 20-year-old man, to be ejected from the vehicle. The passenger was taken to Regional One in critical condition.

"I've never seen him in spouts of rage or anything like that, so this is shocking," Duckworth's former high school classmate said after hearing the chain of events for the first time.

Neither Duckworth nor his passenger was wearing a seatbelt, police said.

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