Two Truck Drivers Arrested After Road Rage Dispute Escalates Into Gun Battle at Truck Stop

Big Springs, NE — Two truck drivers were arrested and now face charges following a gun battle at a truck stop in Nebraska last weekend.

According to local outlet KFXL, truckers Joseph Morelli, 49, of Utah, and Michael Whitaker, 51, of Iowa, are both charged in Deuel County Court with terroristic threats and use of a firearm to commit a felony.


The incident occurred on Saturday, March 5, along westbound Interstate 80.

The confrontation reportedly began when Whitaker allegedly crossed the line of traffic while Morelli was traveling behind him.

An argument between the two men then ensued over the C.B. until Morelli allegedly told Whitaker to exit I-80 “and they would settle this.”


Morelli then exited the interstate, but Whitaker continued on, according to the arrest affidavits.

However, investigators said Morelli got back on the interstate and pursued Whitaker until both big rigs exited at Big Springs before pulling into the parking lot of a Flying J Truck Stop.

That’s when police say the two men exited their vehicles and opened fire using handguns.

Investigators estimated five to seven shots were fired but no one was injured.

Both men then reportedly returned to their vehicles.


Morelli then drove to the rear of the parking lot, Whitaker exited and began walking south.

That’s where the Deuel County Sheriff later made contact with him and observed a handgun on the ground near his feet.

Both men were taken into custody without incident.

Morelli’s bond has been set at $100,000 and is scheduled to appear in Deuel County Court on March 17.

Whitaker is scheduled to be arraigned on April 21.


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