Skip the Dishes driver says his leg was amputated because of road rage incident

A Skip the Dishes driver from Red Deer says he had his leg amputated because a man with road rage followed him into a parking lot and ran over him. 

Warning: This story contains a graphic image

Matthew Ekstrom, a Skip the Dishes driver, says he was on his way to pick up a food order on Jan. 26 — when a road rage incident got out of control. (Matthew Ekstrom)

A Skip the Dishes driver from Red Deer says he had his leg amputated because a man with road rage deliberately ran over him in a parking lot.

RCMP have since charged a 32-year-old man with dangerous operation of a motor vehicle causing bodily harm, failure to stop after an accident causing bodily harm and assault with a weapon.

Matthew Ekstrom says he was driving west on 67th Street on Jan. 26 to pick up a food order from a Red Deer Fatburger restaurant.

Ekstrom, 26, said he needed to change into the right lane, so he cut in front of an SUV. The SUV changed lanes, sped up and cut in front of him.

"He sped up at the same time to not let me in on purpose," Ekstrom said, adding he nearly hit the SUV. 

He said both vehicles came to a stop in the middle of 67th Street, near Golden West Avenue. It was around 4 p.m.   

"He got out of his vehicle," Ekstrom said. "He comes to my vehicle. He tried to open my door. Once he realized he couldn't get to me because my door was locked, he started punching my window." 

Ekstrom said he was on the phone with Bluetooth at the time, talking to a friend who also heard the banging on the window. He said the other driver got back into his car and stayed there. 

Ekstrom waited a couple of minutes, but the man didn't leave.

Ekstrom says doctors told him he'd have lifelong pain in his right leg, so he chose to get it amputated and get a prosthetic leg. (Matthew Ekstrom)

"I figured I'd just get moving," he said. "I had a delivery to make."

When he began driving, the other driver followed him into a parking lot. 

"I was trying to get away from him. I did a doughnut around some vehicles that were parked … and he was right behind the entire time. He wouldn't leave me alone."

Ekstrom said his friend finally arrived to help, so he pulled up next to him. They got out of their vehicles. He said he wanted to scare the other driver away, so he threw a coffee cup at his car, which prompted the man to drive around them in "circles." 

He said his friend climbed back inside his truck to call the police. That's when the SUV drove toward Ekstrom. 

"He came right for me. When I turned my head, that's when he must've cut it toward me. At that point, it was just too late. He hit me and I had no time to move out of the way." 

Broken elbow, mangled ankle 

Ekstrom said he fell and landed on the right side of his body, breaking his elbow. 

"When I was laying on the ground, I felt his bumper on top, on the left side of my body," said Ekstrom. "I think he ran over my foot and it mangled my ankle, the bottom part of my leg.

"It just happened so damn fast … once I was laying on the ground, screaming in pain, I knew what happened."

Ekstrom said the SUV driver fled the scene. By then, his friend was already on the phone with the police. 

Choosing between pain and prosthetic 

Ekstrom said doctors told him if his leg wasn't amputated he would face a lifetime of pain.

"I'm too young ... I would barely be able to walk, I wouldn't be able to run, I wouldn't be able to play sports — nothing like that. So I figured if I could get an amputation I'd have a prosthetic and I can live my life again."

He has been at the Red Deer Regional Hospital and has follow-up appointments at the Skyway Medical Centre.

Ekstrom said it will take about six weeks for his fractured elbow to heal. His amputation wound could take anywhere from four to eight weeks. 

He said he understands there are things he could've done differently — such as calling police earlier and slowing down to get behind the SUV instead. 

"But here we are now," he said. "I can't change what happened, right?"

The man who was charged is set to appear in Red Deer Provincial Court on March 10.