Prison guard convicted of felony in SLO County

August 11, 2015

prison barsA Central Valley prison guard has been convicted of a felony for pointing a loaded gun at a vehicle during a 2014 road rage incident near Paso Robles. [Tribune]

Anthony James Behrens, 53, is a sergeant at Kern Valley State Prison. On Friday, a jury convicted him of brandishing a weapon at a person in a motor vehicle, a felony, as well as unlawful laser activity, a misdemanor.

The incident occurred on July 27, 2014 on Highway 46 east of Paso Robles. Shortly after, Behrens told California Highway Patrol officers that he aimed the gun at the other vehicle and activated the laser because he was afraid about the safety of his family.

On Friday, a jury deliberated for a little more than an hour before convicting Behrens.

Court documents state, during the incident, Behrens was back-seat passenger in a Toyota Prius being driven by his 20-year-old daughter. Behrens’s wife and niece were also in the vehicle.

The Prius was traveling in the middle lane of a three-lane section of Highway 46 when a Ford Expedition passed on the left and merged in front. The Prius then passed the Expedition on the right and pulled in front of the Expedition before the lanes converged into one.

With the Expedition tailgating, the Prius sped up and slowed down several times. Behrens’s wife took photos of the Expedition, and the wife of the Expedition driver took photos of the Prius.

At some point, Behrens pointed the laser of a loaded .40-caliber Springfield handgun at the Expedition. Occupants of the Expedition called the police.

When the CHP officers stopped the Prius, they found a duffel bag with “Behrens” and a Department of Corrections badge pin on it. A loaded gun registered to Behrens was inside the bag.

The gun contained eight rounds, and it had a red laser scope.

A court motion stated Behrens once saved a bleeding inmate’s life. Behrens is a former prison nurse.

He is scheduled to be sentenced on Sept. 2.

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Has anyone else noticed that there just seem to be MORE road ragers lately? I had someone so angry with my spouse’s normal driving that the road rager followed us 12 miles to the local police station, then circled the police station twice. The road rager was angry that he could not pass. We were behind 2 slower people in the passing lane and couldn’t pass either. Our local police went looking for the guy, not sure if he was caught.

People don’t know who is the other driver in that car. Is it worth it to taunt an angry, aggressive driver? And I wonder what the 20 year old learned from this? To taunt another driver? Speed up and slow down? The next driver she encounters might follow her home….

The wise thing to do is just let them pass–or else pull off the road entirely to let them pass. I don’t play a role in any of this. There are ragers out there; they seldom commit acts of violence but sometimes do (I had a tire shot out back in LA a couple of decades ago when I was 7 months pregnant on my way home from work–even though the bullet was aimed at someone else). After that, I take a completely passive stance. Anyone who is acting irrational in an automobile—results in me granting them a wide berth. I get OUT OF THEIR WAY! It is the higher road to take…but worth it.