Woman, 27, Shot in Sunrise Highway Road Rage Incident

A road rage incident turned violent Monday when a 27-year-old Ronkonkoma woman, who was riding in a Hyundai with her boyfriend and their 11-week-old child, was shot twice on Sunrise Highway in East Patchogue, Suffolk County police said.

The victim, Nichole McDowell, was transported to Brookhaven Memorial Hospital Medical Center, where she was listed in stable condition.

Police said McDowell, her boyfriend Edward Pontis and their baby girl were traveling west on Sunrise Highway at 8:50 p.m. when they came upon a light-colored minivan driving erratically in front of them in the left lane.

Pontis, 30, flashed his bright lights at the driver, who responded by slamming on his brakes, police said. Pontis decided to pass the minivan on its right side and subsequently pulled in front of it. Then the minivan driver began tailgating the couple’s car, prompting Pontis to also hit the brakes. That’s when the driver of the minivan pulled along side the Hyundai and fired two shots into the vehicle, striking McDowell once in her leg and hand, police said.

After the incident Pontis drove his girlfriend to the hospital, police said.

The tot, who was in the back seat, was uninjured.

The investigation is continuing, police said. Detectives ask anyone with information to call the Fifth Squad at 631-854-8552 or call Crime Stoppers anonymously at 1-800-220-TIPS.