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Miltona, Minn., man arrested for 'fish hooking' Grand Forks cab driver

A 42-year-old Miltona, Minn., man was arrested early Sunday morning for threatening a Grand Forks cab driver and assaulting him with a head lock and "fish hook" in a dispute over a fare.

Ryan Dana Houfburg was charged with terrorizing, interference with an emergency call and simple assault in Grand Forks County District Court.

According to a court affidavit, police were dispatched to a 911 call hang up at 4270 University Ave., where they spoke to a cab driver named Jose Ochoa III.

Ochoa told police there was an argument over the fare and, when he tried to call 911, Houfburg put him in a headlock, took away his phone and hooked a finger in his cheek.

Houfburg admitted to police that he did fish hook Ochoa and that he had been drinking. But he said Ochoa was calling him and his wife inappropriate names and was swearing when asking for the fare.

A review of the 911 tapes by police confirmed the threats as Houfburg used expletives and threatened Ochoa's life. Police said there was also a female voice on the tape saying "Dad, stop!" multiple times.

Terrorizing and interfering with a 911 call are Class C felonies, punishable by up to five years in prison and a $5,000 fine. Simple assault is a Class B misdemeanor, punishable by up to 30 days in jail and a $1,000 fine.

Houfburg's next scheduled court appearance is March 21.