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Road rage? Insanity? Local couple survives harrowing attack

Aggressive driver knocks Judy and Dan Wallace off highway in Idaho incident

COURTESY PHOTO - Ken and Judy Wallace look over their wrecked car after the incident.Judy and Ken Wallace didn't suspect anything out of the ordinary when they saw one of the cars ahead of them swerving back and forth.

It was 7 a.m. The retired Gales Creek couple thought maybe the driver had been up all night and was tired.

Twenty minutes later, they thought differently. That's when Marco Antonio Garcia-Garcia deliberately rammed the Wallace's car off the road and down an embankment, then drove down after them to hit them again.

"He was trying to kill us," said Ken.

Thursday, April 20, the Wallaces — both active parishioners in Forest Grove's Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints — were driving back from visiting their daughter in Utah. They had just crossed the border into Idaho when they spotted the Toyota Camry they will never forget.

As Garcia-Garcia's strange swerving behavior continued, the couple got worried and decided to get away from him. They passed the driver and were at a rest stop when they saw Garcia-Garcia blow past in his car on I-84. They thought they had seen the last of him. Instead, they met him later on down the highway and he cut them off a few times before getting behind them.COURTESY PHOTO - The Wallaces' son-in-law drove to the scene of the crash to help them.

Wherever the Wallaces went, Garcia-Garcia followed.

At one point, the Wallaces said Garcia-Garcia even passed them, stopped in front of them on the highway and reversed and came toward them.

Frightened, they tried to escape him, driving 80 miles per hour in an effort to shake him off. But Garcia-Garcia was close behind, almost touching their back bumper. "He was trying to run us off the road," said Ken, who describes having tunnel vision while trying to elude the madman. "I was only thinking about where he was, where I was and just trying to get away," he said. "I didn't understand why he was doing this to us."

Judy called 911 and spent 18 minutes on the phone describing the attack, but no law officers showed up as it was occurring.

The man's wheels were smoking as he sped up and darted around.

Ken, who usually doesn't drive because of problems with fatigue, considers being behind the wheel that day a miracle because his wife said she wouldn't have been able to handle the situation as well.

He thought getting off the highway and heading to a gas station where they could find people to help might be the best option. But as the Wallaces exited, the driver followed them and hit the back of their car, which went spinning sideways.

Then he hit them again, sending their car off the roadway and down an embankment, rolling three times in the process but landing right side up.

The driver of the other car followed them down the embankment and hit their car again, this time in the front. Marco Antonio Garcia-Garcia

Nearly all of their windows had shattered, Ken said. The air bags — which had deployed — "looked like curtains."

And then, through the curtains and shattered glass reached the man's hands. He grabbed Ken's hands and threw them off the steering wheel, trying to stop Ken from honking the horn to draw attention.

The man kept saying, "Cell phone."

Ken didn't understand. "I don't know if he wanted our cell phones or what," he said.

Police reports state Garcia-Garcia was yelling at the Wallaces' car.

Then he got back into his own car and tried to drive away but the vehicle was stuck on the front of the Wallaces' car and in the mud. So he simply sat in his car and waited. Finally, police arrived and handcuffed him.

Ken said the man later told police Ken and Judy had been following him and that made him mad.

According to a Kassia County police report witness Gerald VonRuden said he saw Garcia-Garcia's car trying to run a Toyota Highlander off the road. Then he said he saw the Highlander pull off the road and the "Corolla" do the same. VonRuden said when the Highlander started traveling again, the Corolla started backing up on the highway "trying to hit the Highlander."COURTESY PHOTO - Ken and Judy Wallace before the accident in April.

VanRuden said he came upon the crash 10 or 15 miles up the road.?

The Wallaces both went off to a hospital in an ambulance but were released only a few hours later. Judy thought she might have broken her arm, but it turned out to be simply strained.

Ken is suffering from neck pain and worsened fatigue. He's also been having dizzy spells. Even after visiting the doctor, "I'm still trying to figure out why I'm not my normal self."

Garcia-Garcia has been charged with two counts of aggravated battery and is still in custody, held on a $500,000 bond.

The man denied hitting the Wallaces but stated that he was "mad because vehicles were following him," according to court records.