A 23-year-old Oakdale woman who stopped to confront another driver after a traffic altercation Thursday night found herself running for her life across a Maplewood parking lot.
In a terrifying scene witnessed by dozens of people, she was chased by a car and hit from behind with such force that she was thrown over the length of the car after her body shattered the windshield.
"He ran her down like an animal," one witness told police.
John T. Babcook
, 21, of Centerville was arrested at Washington County jail in Stillwater -- where, accompanied by an attorney, he turned himself in about two hours after the incident in the parking lot of Hill-Murray School.
Babcook is charged with first-degree assault with intent to do great bodily harm and is being held at Ramsey County jail in St. Paul.
Kvam said the incident began about 9 p.m. as the woman was northbound on Century Avenue on the eastern edge of Maplewood, near the intersection with Stillwater Boulevard.
"He cut her vehicle off, and they had some kind of exchange," Kvam said. "He then fell in behind her and rammed her car numerous times."
According to the criminal complaint, a passenger in the woman's vehicle threw a tube of lip balm at the car, and the driver also threw her plastic shift-control knob
as the incident escalated.
The woman turned west as Babcook continued the pursuit, Kvam said. For unknown reasons, the woman turned into the parking lot of Hill-Murray
, which adjoins baseball diamonds and soccer fields at Maplewood's Nebraska Park, and stopped. The complaint said Babcook then rammed her car a couple more times
At that point, Kvam said, witnesses said the woman got out of her car and confronted Babcook, yelling at him and telling someone to call 911. She told a gathering crowd, "This guy is out of his mind."
Babcook then tried to hit the woman with his car, but missed.
"He then spun around, and she recognized that he was trying to hit her, and began running across the parking lot," Kvam said.
Babcook jumped the parking lot curb, drove across some grass and hit the woman from behind
, the complaint says, tossing her to the pavement, unconscious. Dozens of witnesses saw her get hit, according to the complaint.
The driver then fled the scene, Kvam said.
Along with spinal fractures and severe soft-tissue injuries, the woman had a scalp laceration that required stitches.
Maplewood police were trying to track down the driver through his license plate when they learned Babcook had turned himself in. His car was found in a parking lot at Hwy. 96 and Interstate 35E in White Bear Lake.
Both Babcook and the woman were tested for alcohol and drugs. Police said they detected an alcohol odor on the woman's breath.