Bob Matthews on the Capricorn Highway where his car was rammed by a 4WD in what appears to have been a road rage incident.
Bob Matthews on the Capricorn Highway where his car was rammed by a 4WD in what appears to have been a road rage incident. CI

Florist rammed in hwy road rage

AS a four-wheel-drive deliberately rammed Bob Matthews’ car from behind, his terrified wife in the passenger seat was calling police on her mobile phone.

It was like a scene out of a Hollywood movie but the drama unfolded on a 100kmh stretch of the Capricorn Highway between Rockhampton and Gracemere.

The Gracemere couple’s ordeal, in which they say their vehicle was rammed another two times at speed before being sideswiped, is now under police investigation.

The encounter has left Alison Matthews too terrified to get behind the wheel and frustrated that no one has been brought to justice more than a month after the incident.

The nightmare began when Bob, 65, and Alison were on the way home from their Rockhampton florist business on December 9.

After overtaking a Nissan Patrol 4WD, they say their 2006 Holden Viva station-wagon was rammed from behind, despite them travelling at the speed limit.

Confused, the Matthews continued along the stretch before their vehicle was rammed a second time.

“I thought that the other driver may have been having a medical emergency and needed assistance,” Bob said yesterday.

“I pulled over to the side of the highway to help the guy out.”

It was only after the dark-blue 4WD with heavy-duty bullbar, sped up and passed the Matthews’ car that Bob said he realised the other driver was not in trouble, but using his vehicle as a weapon.

Bob told The Morning Bulletin that he thought it was necessary to get the offending vehicle’s details, so while his terrified wife dialled triple 0, he passed the 4WD in the next overtaking lane.

It was at this point, Bob said, they were rammed for the third time.

“My wife was hysterical and the police were on the phone trying to ascertain our position.”

Nearing the Gracemere exit, the 4WD, towing a trailer, once again sped up, mounted a traffic island and drove his vehicle into the rear driver’s side door of the Matthews’ car.

“I thought he was trying to flip us.”

Due to the force of the collision, the Matthews’ car veered to the left and the 4WD then took the Gracemere turnoff.

After negotiating his car back onto the highway, Bob said he decided to follow the offending vehicle.

Bob was under the impression that the other driver was not sure where he was going as he tried to elude the Matthews in residential backstreets.

He said the 4WD turned into a dead-end and became trapped in a cul-de-sac where Bob manoeuvred his vehicle across the road, preventing the 4WD from escaping.

“I thought police would be there any second,” he said.

The Matthews got out of the car and Bob explained that as he started walking towards the heavily tinted 4WD, it accelerated toward him.

He said he was forced to jump out of the way of the oncoming vehicle before it mounted the footpath and escaped.

Terrified, the Matthews went straight to the Gracemere police station to file an incident report.

Upon arriving, Bob said they were made aware of an independent witness who had come forward and while outlining what had happened to the constable-in-charge, a second independent witness presented.

With an estimated $7000 worth of damage done, Bob said as the sole company vehicle used for his Allenstown florist business, he couldn’t afford the forecast 14 days to fix it.

Bob said soon after the incident he rang the Gracemere station for an update on the case only to be told the investigating officer had gone on leave.

Bob remains frustrated that charges have yet to be laid.

He said they were eventually contacted by police a month after the incident but they were yet to be formally interviewed.

“To the best of my knowledge, this maniac is still behind the wheel, which means he is on the same roads as you and your family…no care, no responsibility.”

When contacted by The Morning Bulletin the constable assigned to the case declined to comment, saying the investigation was pending.

Central Region police traffic Inspector Mike Curtin said that Gracemere police were taking the incident very seriously.

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