NORTON, Ohio (WJW) — As investigators continue to work to identify the gunman responsible for an apparent road rage shooting on Interstate 76, the Ohio State Highway Patrol said the number of road rage incidents reported to them has been growing.

Lt. Nathan Dennis said the patrol recorded about 1,700 reports of road rage incident each year in 2019 and the years leading up to the COVID-19 pandemic.

In 2020, even with highways empty through much of the year because of the pandemic, there were only slightly fewer road rage incidents reported.

In 2021, that number jumped to more than 2,000 reports. In 2022, it rose to 2,043.

The highway patrol told FOX 8 News that calls related to road rage incidents are frequent and happening daily. They have no theory on why they are increasing and seem to be increasingly more violent.

In Wednesday’s incident, George Jensen II was shot while driving eastbound on Interstate 76 through Norton on his way home from work in Wadsworth.

Police said they are searching for a black 2018 or newer Chevrolet Camaro which was last seen heading east toward Akron.

One caller who told dispatchers he was about 50 yards behind Jensen’s car witnessed two vehicles going back and forth with each other. One tried to pass and Jensen was shot.

On 911 calls, witnesses reported seeing Jensen’s car hit the concrete median after which they found multiple gunshot holes on the inside of his car.

While they cannot explain the increase in road rage incidents, the highway patrol wants every driver to know what to do if they find themselves on the receiving end of aggressive behavior.

“The most important thing that you can do to begin with is to not engage with the other party. Don’t try speeding up, slowing down, matching them, getting around them — don’t engage with it. Just try to back off and let them be,” said Dennis.

The highway patrol said if you see a weapon you should call 911 immediately and, if possible, drive to the closest police department or highway patrol post.

“We would rather come out and investigate nothing than to not have somebody call and have something bad happen out of that situation,” said Dennis.