VIDEO: ‘Trucker spy’ target tells the story of the shooting

| June 06, 2013

Owner-operator Bruce JohnstonOwner-operator Bruce Johnston (pictured) today thinks twice before any small act of back-and-forth communication with a member of the motoring public. As Overdrive has previously reported, Johnston and his 1997 Peterbilt were the targets of a four-wheeler’s ire in Chattanooga, Tenn., during one of his regular runs westbound on I-24 to Murfreesboro, Tenn., from Atlanta.

Forced over from the middle lane of a three-lane interstate into the truck-restricted left lane “to avoid causing an accident,” Johnston says, he unknowingly found himself behind the rented auto of then-Chickamauga, Ga.-based Joseph Volpe, owner and operator of a business that collected video of unsafe on-highway actions by truckers. Volpe reportedly sold his services to motor carriers.

Volpe's bullet entered Johnston's cab through the back of the Peterbilt's sleeper.

Volpe’s bullet entered Johnston’s cab through the back of the Peterbilt’s sleeper.

Volpe’s own actions on that day, according to Johnston, were anything but safe, as he got angrier and angrier over Johnston’s presence behind him, hemmed into the left lane by traffic, and began “brake-checking” the trucker to the point that the pair were traveling as slow as 30 miles per hour at a certain point, says Johnston.

The final result was Volpe’s use of a 9-mm pistol to fire a shot through the back of Johnston’s sleeper, missing the owner-operator’s head by mere inches. Over the course of the trial of Volpe for second-degree attempted murder and other charges, says Johnston, local news outlets seemed willing only to pick up on the defense’s side of the story.

As his lawyer had warned him, he says, the defense tried to paint Johnston as the primary aggressor, saying he “tried to run [Volpe] off the road.” Guilty verdicts on three felony counts were handed down on Volpe in May, and sentencing is scheduled for later in June 2013.

In the video below, Johnston tells his story.

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  • Gambler

    He should get the maximum plus for what he did. I had heard of him and his antics before this happened. Bruce is lucky that bullet missed him as close as it came through the seat. That nut cracker should of been stopped long before this happened and trucking companies are at fault for letting him rat on truck drivers like he was some kind of hero.

  • beerad1111

    He should never hold a license in any state for the rest of his sorry life.

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  • martymarsh

    Is that the little weasel that post on YouTube about dangerous trucks but keeps the comment section turned off? At any rate, enjoy jail clown, you met your match.

  • RantMan

    dude that did this, needs a bullet in his skull.

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  • Lucky

    I have problem with Bruce’s story because the shot came from behind and hit the seat, Bruce is lying and I can see that. I know that truck drivers use their trucks to run people off the road including other truckers. I don’t believe a word he says. I do believe that Volpe was targeted by this driver because Volpe placed plenty of videos of this company’s drivers on you tube for reckless driving. Don’t believe me, go to you tube and do a search for video UTS – Construction Accident where you will see the exact action being done by another trucker to a fellow trucker.

  • #& years accident free TRUCKER

    Volpe apparently used rental cars in an attempt to avoid recognition. And he seems to sneak up on unsuspecting drivers. saying that Bruce knew what Volpe was up to is a bit of a stretch. The bullet hole in the wall of the sleeper was to the right of center and if you follow the path of the bullet, it most certainly would have traveled upward and to the left (shooter was in the right lane to the truck) luckily through the headrest before lodging in the vent window frame. It may not be a perfectly straight line, but the bullet did go through several items which could alter its course.
    I’m not trying to defend the truly reckless drivers out there, but of all the videos I’ve seen that were posted by Volpe, NONE accurately told what was really happening (dialog didn’t equate to what the video showed). In EVERY case, Volpe overstated his observations as they relate to safety…he ALWAYS blew small infractions way out of proportion. And further, I know of NO driver who was actually disciplined by his company as a result of Volpe’s misguided foray as a wanna-be person of importance. I suspect you, Lucky, and Volpe are related but can say without reservation that neither of you have ever been in a truck, let alone drive one. strives to maintain an open forum for reader opinions. Click here to read our comment policy.