By Jennifer Mayerle, WCCO-TV
MINNEAPOLIS (WCCO) — We’ve all felt this way before: annoyed while sitting in traffic, or mad someone cut us off. You may want to honk, but that’s where it usually ends.
Some, though, take it a step further.
Construction, and frustration with slow traffic, has resulted in a growing number of road-rage incidents in Lakeville. There was another one over the weekend.
Cody Hale was trying to avoid construction on Interstate 35W, so he decided to take a side street. He was met with more traffic and ended up cutting another driver off.
“That’s when it angered the guy behind me who was in a semi. And next thing I know he’s up on the shoulder in the semi going like 40 [mph],” Hale said.
He never imagined his wrong maneuver would result in a case of road rage.
“He got really close to my tail end, I was like, ‘He’s going to hit me,’ and then boom. Just smoked me probably 10, upwards of 15 times and started pushing me down the road,” Hale said.
The semi truck nearly pushed his car through a red light. Then Hale says the driver got out and attacked him.
“You could tell in his eye he had intent to come and not just talk,” he said. “He comes in and first thing he’s like kind of going for my neck, trying to grab me. I think he was trying to pull me through the window.”
Hale got out, words were exchanged, and a scuffle began.
“He grabbed me and I just kinda like, I don’t know, kicked him like in the inside of like his thigh,” Hale said, “and that’s when he had me in a head lock.”
Lakeville Police Chief Jeff Long says the department is getting traffic complaints on a daily basis.
“Ten, fifteen locations a day that cars are backed up,” Long said.
He says road-rage incidents are on the rise, happening about once a month.
“There’s no place to put the traffic. I consider it similar to putting a fist through a straw,” Long said. “There’s just not room, and that’s what we’re doing by displacing the traffic on the highway is trying to get it through our local streets, and it’s just not working and people are upset.”
Fortunately for Hale, other drivers stopped and pulled the truck driver off of him.
So, what’s happened to “Minnesota nice” among drivers?
“He was from Indiana,” Hale said.
The truck driver was cited for assault.
Chief Long says there is an increase of construction in the spring and summer. Couple that with warmer temperatures, and he thinks we could see even more cases of road rage in the weeks to come.
Long’s advice is to keep your cool, and call police before a situation escalates.