Megan Stackhouse and her fiancee, Lucinda Mann, spent their Friday night enjoying a carnival in Bend, Oregon, hosted by a local cider company. They joked about how pricey the drinks were, and laughed about not having the nerve to ride the stomach-churning Zipper carnival ride.
But what was supposed to be a relaxing date night for the recently engaged couple quickly turned into an brutal road rage nightmare that would leave both women injured and a man arrested on felony assault charges, police said.
The man, identified by the Bend Police Department as 49-year-old Jay Barbeau, was arraigned on Monday in Deschutes County court on three counts of assault and single counts of criminal mischief and reckless driving, according to the Oregonian. He remains in jail.
Traffic was heavy as the couple made their way home from the carnival at about 8 p.m. Friday, Stackhouse said in an interview with The Washington Post. At the wheel of her brand new Kia Soul, the 34-year-old woman tried maneuvering through the cars to find a space to merge onto the road. She tried squeezing in the space in front of a black Toyota truck, and the driver, Barbeau, became infuriated, Stackhouse said.
Barbeau gunned the Toyota’s engine, scooting forward in an attempt to force Stackhouse back, she said. But she pulled in front of him anyway.
Barbeau started yelling, flipping her off and flashing his lights, Stackhouse said. About a half block down the road, Stackhouse came to a crosswalk and stopped her car. Barbeau stepped out of his truck and started walking toward Stackhouse and Mann, 26, who was in the passenger’s seat, but Stackhouse drove off, she said.
Reaching a roundabout a half mile later, Barbeau was tailgating Stackhouse so closely that she could no longer see his headlights or license plate. “I really thought he was about to rear end me,” she said. So she decided to pull over to let him pass.
But instead of passing, Barbeau slammed on his brakes. He stepped out of his truck and punched the back window of Stackhouse’s Kia, shattering the glass, she said. He punched out the driver’s side taillight. Then, he attacked Stackhouse, Bend police said.
While Stackhouse’s door was locked, her window was rolled down. Barbeau, Stackhouse said, reached into the window, grabbed her right arm, twisted it and broke it. He punched her in the face, breaking her glasses. Mann stepped out of the car and approached Barbeau to try to protect Stackhouse. But he threw Mann to the ground, where she hit her head and was knocked her unconscious, Stackhouse and authorities said.
Stackhouse described Barbeau as “stocky,” “heavyset muscular,” and “intimidating.” He is 5-foot 8 and weighs 245 pounds, police said, according to the Bend Bulletin.
A woman sitting in the passenger seat of Barbeau’s Toyota yelled at him to get back in the truck and drive away. But Stackhouse stood in his way. With her fiancee unconscious on the ground, Stackhouse worried that Barbeau would try to run over her and leave the scene.
She tried to take a photograph of his license plate with her phone, she said, but “my arm was so broken I just couldn’t make it work.”
That’s when she saw a police vehicle heading northbound on the street. Bend Police said Barbeau was trying to flee the scene as police were responding, the Bend Bulletin reported.
Officers interviewed witnesses and arrested Barbeau, who told police that the women had cut him off while driving, Stackhouse said. The woman in Barbeau’s car claimed to authorities that the couple was faking the injuries, and that Mann and Stackhouse had prompted the incident. Multiple people witnessed the exchange, Lt. Clint Burley, a Bend police spokesman, told the Oregonian.
Stackhouse and Mann were transported by ambulance to a hospital where they were treated for their injuries. Mann reportedly suffered a neck injury in addition to a concussion. Stackhouse suffered a bruised temple and a broken wrist. She later found a lens from her glasses in the back seat of her car. “That’s how hard he hit me in the face.” She underwent surgery Monday, during which doctors placed a plate, several pins and screws into her broken radius.
“Doctor did say that it’s likely I will have chronic pain from this sort of injury,” Stackhouse said.
She said she still feels terrified by the experience.
“I can’t help but think what if he had had a gun?” Stackhouse said. “I’m still worried about my personal safety from any kind of retribution that might come back to me about this. It’s definitely a pretty upsetting experience and I feel like it’s going to take a long time to work through all of the feelings that it brought up.”
“This is not the sort of thing that I would like to think happens in my town,” she added.