A prison guard will be sentenced next month for pointing a loaded gun at a motorist during a road rage incident near Paso Robles.
Anthony James Behrens, 53, was convicted by a jury Friday of brandishing a weapon at a person in a motor vehicle, a felony, and unlawful laser activity, a misdemeanor. After attorneys offered closing arguments, the jury deliberated a little more than an hour before reaching its verdict.
According to court records, the following occurred:
Behrens, a sergeant at Kern Valley State Prison from Springfield, was a back-seat passenger in a Toyota Prius when the incident occurred about 6 p.m. on July 27, 2014. His 20-year-old daughter was driving the car, which also carried Behrens’ wife and a 13-year-old niece.
As they were traveling east of Paso Robles in a three-lane section of Highway 46, a Ford Expedition carrying a couple and their two children, ages 11 and 8, passed the Prius in the left lane and then merged in front of the Prius. The Prius, which was in the center lane, then passed the Expedition on the right and pulled in front of the Expedition before the lanes converged to one lane.
The driver of the Prius then “brake checked” the Expedition several times, and the driver of the Expedition, Ronald Fryer, tailgated the Prius.
After the Prius sped up and slowed down several times, Behrens’ wife began taking photos of the Expedition. Then Fryer’s wife began taking photos of the Prius. At some point, Anthony Behrens pulled a loaded .40-caliber Springfield handgun and pointed its laser at the Expedition.
The Fryers then notified police.
When CHP officers later stopped the Prius, they found a duffel bag with the name “Behrens” and a state Department of Corrections badge pin on it. Inside the bag, they found the loaded gun in a black holster. The gun contained eight rounds and was equipped with a red laser scope built into the grip.
The gun was registered to Behrens.
Behrens waived his Miranda rights and told a CHP officer he had aimed his weapon at the Expedition and activated the laser scope. He said he did so because he was afraid for the safety of his family.
Behrens, according to one court motion, is a former prison nurse who once saved a bleeding inmate’s life.
After his conviction, sentencing was set for Sept. 2.