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Grand Forks man reports window smashed in run-in with road-rage

GRAND FORKS -- A Grand Forks man who was driving with a 7-month-old reported that another driver smashed the back window of his vehicle in a road-rage incident this weekend.

Travis Rambel, 26, told police he was driving west on DeMers Avenue, near the intersection of 20th Street, when a white sports-utility vehicle started tailgating him Saturday evening. He allowed the SUV to pass and after it did, it cut him off, nearly hitting the front of his vehicle, according to a witness statement Rambel gave police.

Rambel's statement says he was turning off DeMers onto Columbia Road when he noticed the white SUV four cars ahead of him. "He was still driving erratic and fishtailing. Several cars slowed down because of this," Rambel's statement says.

Rambel told police he followed the white SUV until it parked near the 1900 block of South Columbia Road, and then got out and approached the driver, according to his statement.

"I told the driver he should be a little more careful because I had a baby with me and he was driving like a jerk," Rambel's statement says.

That's when the driver got out and pulled a baseball bat from the backseat. "I saw this and turned to run back to my vehicle and slipped," Rambel's statement says. "I got up and started to run to my vehicle and fell again."

Rambel eventually got inside his vehicle -- also an SUV -- locked the door and started to drive away; after going about 20 feet, he heard his rear window shatter, according to the statement. "I looked into the mirror and saw the driver running back to his SUV," the statement says.

Rambel left the scene before reporting the run-in to police, who estimated the window damage at $400. The suspect's license plate -- North Dakota, HYE853 -- did not match the white SUV, according to a police report.

Rambel and the officer who took the report did not return phone messages Monday.