- The Washington Times - Saturday, July 7, 2001

A Maryland man who is charged with causing a road-rage accident that killed a concert violinist was provoked by the crash victim's aggressive driving, the defendant's attorney told a Fairfax County judge yesterday.
Mark A. Blowe, 45, of Rockville, is charged with felony hit-and-run and reckless driving in an accident Wednesday in Fairfax County that killed Bryan Johnson, 52, of McLean, a 25-year veteran of the National Symphony Orchestra.
Witnesses told Virginia State Police that Mr. Blowe cut Mr. Johnson off in the left lane of westbound Interstate 66 and slammed on his brakes. The two cars never collided, but Mr. Johnson's car hit a concrete wall and flipped over.
Mr. Johnson, who was not wearing a seat belt, was thrown from the car and died from his injuries.
At a brief bond-reduction hearing yesterday, Mr. Blowe's attorney, Warren McLain, said the accident was provoked by Mr. Johnson's actions. He said Mr. Johnson tailgated Mr. Blowe and twice cut him off.
The witnesses who reported seeing Mr. Blowe cut Mr. Johnson off were not aware of what had happened before the accident, Mr. McLain said.
"A lot of times people see the last punch that's thrown, not the first," Mr. McLain said.
Mr. Blowe, who did not speak during yesterday's hearing, had been held without bail until the hearing, when General District Judge Lorraine Nordlund set bail at $25,000. Mr. McLain had sought $10,000.
Prosecutor Karen Loftus opposed the bond reduction, calling Mr. Blowe "a very, very dangerous man."
"This defendant deliberately pulled in front of the victim's car and stopped his car on the highway," she said.
Miss Loftus also noted that Mr. Blowe did not stop after the accident and that witnesses had to pursue him before he eventually turned himself in to a gas station security guard farther down the highway.
After the hearing, Mr. McLain said it is too early to know all the facts of what happened, but that "it takes two to tango when there's a road-rage case."
A preliminary hearing is set for Aug. 7.
Funeral services for Mr. Johnson are scheduled today in Falls Church.
Orchestra Director Leonard Slatkin said that Mr. Johnson was a devoted music teacher as well as performer.
"Through his performances and his teaching, he made important contributions to this orchestra and to our community," Mr. Slatkin said. "He will be greatly missed."

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