Vashon ferry worker on leave after road rage incident
By NATALIE JOHNSON
Vashon-Maury Island Beachcomber Reporter
June 10, 2011 · Updated 2:52 PM
Washington State Ferries (WSF) has placed a worker who directs traffic at the north-end ferry route on administrative leave as it investigates an incident that occurred on Vashon Highway Tuesday and appeared on KING 5 news that evening.
The incident was filmed by Islander Tom Schiller on his iPhone as he drove to the ferry for his daily commute to Seattle. Schiller said that morning he had been been filming a car that he regularly sees speeding through town and passing cars on the highway, hoping to provide evidence to the King County Sheriff's Office.
When the speeding driver, ferry worker Kerry Brice, spotted Schiller, he got out of his car at the intersection in town, yelled at him, then smeared a breakfast sandwich on his windshield. Schiller realized Brice was a ferry worker when he later saw him on the boat.
Schiller said he took the story to KING 5 after the sheriff's department declined to take a formal report on the incident and after he had trouble reaching the right department at WSF, though he did eventually file a complaint with the agency.
“A co-worker said KING 5 has been looking into the ferry guys,” Schiller said. “I sent them an email, and they jumped right on it.”
KING 5's report of the confrontation, titled “Ferry worker's pastry road rage caught on tape” (the food was first thought to be a danish), garnered much attention online and is currently one of the most viewed stories on KING 5's website.
“It is a little bit surprising,” Schiller said, “but the serious news doesn't get too far; the funny stuff seems to get more attention.”
Brice apologized to Schiller the next day.
“I had a nice conversation with him. He apologized and said it was his fault,” Schiller said.
Marta Coursey, a spokesperson for WSF, said the agency is currently investigating the incident, as it normally does with serious customer complaints, but declined to give any details about its findings so far.
“We do take each and every customer complaint seriously,” she said.
Since his video was shown on the news, Schiller said several Islanders have told him that they know Brice and always thought he seemed nice.
“I'm sure he's a very gentle person when he's on the boat or in public,” Schiller said. “When he's on the road he's reckless.”
Schiller believes the speeding will stop after this, though.
“I really don't expect him to do anything dangerous again,” he said. “He's got a lot of eyes on him right now.”
Brice said he was glad that he and Schiller were able to resolve the conflict and even have a friendly conversation.
“We both agreed that for 20 or 30 seconds we were both immature or wrong, and now that we have spoken it's better... It's not easy being a human and you get these learning experiences. I would have liked to script this one, but apparently I had to learn," Brice said.
Contact Vashon-Maury Island Beachcomber Reporter Natalie Johnson at email@example.com or 206-463-9195.