RALEIGH HILLS, Ore. - Washington County Sheriff's Deputies took a man into custody Thursday after they said he rammed a vehicle and then took a baseball to it in a frightening road rage incident.
Deputies said the incident began at about 5:30 p.m. Thursday when they got a call about a hit-and run-crash at SW Scholls Ferry Road north of the Beaverton-Hillsdale Highway.
Deputies said the suspect vehicle was seen being driven in a reckless manner prior to the crash.
They also said witnesses told them the suspect driver, identified as Ryan Thomas, 22, threatened the occupants of the other vehicle with a baseball bat before fleeing the scene.
At the scene, investigators found a 2008 Chevy Impala with damage to a taillight - and "a four-inch dent in the left side rear door that appeared to have been recently struck with a blunt object."
Eugen Tanase, the driver of the Impala, said he'd never seen someone as angry as the man with the bat, even though he had been a commercial truck driver for 30 years and "saw a lot of things."
Tanase said Thomas hit his car with the bat four or five times after Thomas closely followed him and then hit his car as he went to make a left turn.
Witnesses told deputies that the driver of the suspect vehicle, a 2000 Ford Expedition, "intentionally rammed the Impala as it was in a left turn lane attempting to turn left" after it passed the Expedition near an intersection.
Tanase said Thomas hit his car "like a police maneuver."
At that point, witness told deputies Thomas got out of the Expedition with a baseball bat and started "yelling and cursing loudly" while swinging the bat. Deputies said it appears the suspect hit the Impala with the bat at least once.
Tanase said Thomas was enraged and "starts to yell at me "I kill you, I’m going to kill you." To my wife to me."
Tanase got out of his car to check the damage and that's when he came face-face-face with Thomas. But Tanase did not back down and said he tried to calm Thomas down. "Calm down, man calm down. It’s ok," he said he told Thomas. But that didn't work.
"It happened so fast and the guy was so, so, so angry," he said.
He said Thomas then got back in his Expedition and drove away "like being in Daytona ."
Asked why he would get out of his car and confront an angry man swinging a bat, Tanase said someone with a baseball bat "doesn't impress me" and he was trying to protect his wife. "I’m not going to run away because somebody got crazy," Tanase said.
Tanase and his wife were not hurt and witnesses gave deputies information that led them to a Tigard home where the suspect vehicle was located.
However, Tanase said the incident has terrified his wife. "I can’t explain this kind of behavior, but this guy really needs help," he said. "Some kind of anger management."
Thomas was taken into custody and "was not cooperative with the investigation," deputies said.
Thomas is charged with unlawful use of a weapon, reckless endangering, menacing, disorderly conduct, hit-and-run, reckless driving and criminal mischief, according to a press release from the sheriff's office.
He was taken to the Washington County Jail and is being held on $25,000 bail. No court date has been announced.