Crime and Punishment

Morgan Stanley director charged in odd road rage incident

That is one very long case of road rage.

A Morgan Stanley managing director was charged by police after following and confronting a woman whose car he suspected had recklessly cut him off — four days earlier — on a Connecticut highway, police and the executive's own lawyer said.

Susan Chiang | Getty Images

The executive, John Slattery, 43, told a police officer "he was looking for an apology" last Friday when he got out of his Range Rover and walked up to the woman's BMW in the parking garage of Greenwich [Conn.] Hospital after tailing her, Greenwich police said.

Slattery's lawyer said he was trying to determine if the woman was the same person who had been driving like "a lunatic possessed" near Slattery's car four days before.

The attorney, Philip Russell, said Slattery would contest the misdemeanor charge of second-degree breach of peace that police lodged against the financial giant's exec.

Slattery, who was freed without bond, is due to be arraigned in Stamford court on Tuesday.

Slattery works in Morgan Stanley's Greenwich office.

He told police that on April 4 he had been driving north on a local street, headed home to New Canaan, when he saw he was being closely followed by a white BMW. Slattery said the car tried to pass him when he got onto the Merritt Parkway, according to Greenwich Police Lt. John Brown.

"Which caused him to ... become upset," Brown said.

"The BMW passed him, and they nearly collided, causing him to swerve out of the way and he, quote, 'nearly collided into a guardrail,'" Brown said.

Four days later, on last Friday, Slattery spotted a white BMW that looked like the car that cut him off, he told cops.

The woman told police that she noticed Slattery's Range Rover begin to follow her, matching her turn-by-turn, as she drove several miles down North Street, and then into the garage at the hospital, Brown said.

"He ... parked directly behind her" in the garage, and then "got out and approached her vehicle," Brown said.

"According to her, he was yelling at her," Brown said. When the woman called police to the scene, "she was visibly shaking and crying."

Asked if he were aware of any other case of road rage with such a long lag between the incident that sparked someone's anger and led them to confront another driver, Brown said, "I haven't seen anything like it before, or read anything like it before."

Morgan Stanley headquarters in Times Square, New York.
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Slattery's lawyer Russell said his client had done nothing wrong.

The lawyer said that on April 4, a woman in a white BMW had been "driving her car in a lunatic manner."

"She was tailgating, she passed John and others in the left-hand breakdown lane of the Merritt Parkway during rush hour, and cut him off, causing him to swerve when he re-entered the traveled lane," Russell said.

Russell said Slattery took a picture of the woman's car with his smartphone, but was unable to get a clear image of the license plate.

Four days later, Russell said, Slattery spotted a similar-looking BMW in Greenwich and followed it into the hospital garage.

"He approaches her to confirm her identity so that he can make a complaint to the police, or find out why she nearly killed him," Russell said. "He didn't want to turn the police loose on the wrong person."

And, "He wasn't rude to her," the lawyer said.

"She just gave evasive answers," Russell said. "He walked away."

An hour later, cops contacted Slattery, and charged him with breach of peace, Russell said.

The lawyer said an officer who had viewed a surveillance video of the confrontation told Slattery that he had never gotten closer than 4 feet from the woman.

"Last I heard, people are allowed to talk to people in America," Russell said. "People are allowed to approach people ... if the lady in the white BMW doesn't like it, maybe she should drive more responsibly, or move to a different country."

"We're optimistic that the charges will be dismissed," the lawyer said.

Greenwich police said they would not investigate Slattery's claims about a white BMW driving recklessly on April 4 because an officer would have had to personally witness such driving in order to issue a summons.

Russell called Slattery "a civic-minded person," who serves on the board of the homeless youth aid group Covenant House, which honored him during a 2013 gala in New York City.

Slattery "has been in communication with his employer, and we anticipate there will be no official action on that front either," Russell said.

A Morgan Stanley spokeswoman said, "We decline comment," when CNBC asked about Slattery's charge.