MOUNT VERNON, MO (NBC) - The Missouri State Highway Patrol arrested an irate driver minutes after shots were fired at a tractor-trailer on Monday.
Jeffrey Payton, 50, admitted to at a semi truck in western Lawrence County about 30 minutes before his arrest.
According to state Trooper Adam Poulson's probable cause statement used as the basis of the charges, the truck driver, Thomas Howlett, called the Highway Patrol and said another motorist had shot at his truck.
Poulson talked to Howlett at a gas station in Mount Vernon.
"A car came onto the highway in front of me. He was kind of close, but not super close. I took off my cruise and backed off. He threw a couple of fountain drinks out the window at me," the trooper quoted Howlett as saying. "He moved over and I set my cruise back on 70. As I passed him he flipped me off and I flipped him off back. I got into the right lane and he pulled out to pass me. He got up beside me and I thought he was going to flip me off again. All of a sudden he started shooting at my truck. He fired three times and hit my truck all three times."
The trooper found three holes on the truck that appear to have been made by bullets.
He also found bullet fragments inside a wheel hub cover.
Howlett described the shooter's car and another trooper arrested Payton in Springfield.
That trooper also found a .22 caliber handgun in the car.
The arresting trooper says Payton says he got mad because Howlett was tailgating him.
Payton said he tried to shoot out the truck's tires.
He was taken back to the county jail in Mount Vernon.
The Lawrence County prosecuting attorney charged Payton with shooting a gun from a vehicle and armed criminal action.
A judge set his bond at $100,000.
If he's convicted, Payton could get a 5- to 15-year sentence for the weapons charge and another three years or more for armed criminal action.
Online court records show Payton is an over-the-road truck driver himself.
Copyright 2010 NBC. All rights reserved.