Road rage attack leaves Winnipeg woman injured and traumatized

Alysa Raposo says she can't sleep and had to quit her job after she was beaten and her life threatened in a road rage attack on July 2.

Man, 44, facing several charges after woman assaulted

Alysa Raposo says she was repeatedly hit, choked, and had her head smashed on the concrete in a road rage incident on July 2. (Courtesy Alysa Raposo)

Alysa Raposo says she can't sleep and had to quit her job after she was beaten and her life threatened in a road rage attack on July 2.

Raposo was on her way home from a family Canada Day barbecue with her 16-year-old brother when she noticed a vehicle parked in the middle of the road on Grassie Boulevard in Winnipeg. She was the designated driver and was worried the driver in front of her may have been impaired.
Alysa Raposo says she can't sleep and had to quit her job after she was beaten and her life threatened in a road rage attack on July 2. 1:15

"The guy would start the car, go 10 kilometres and then kept slamming on the brakes. So I figured he was either drunk or texting and I didn't want to be near him," said Raposo, 21, adding she passed the driver and went to get gas at the Mac's on Plessis. The driver followed them.

"My brother got out to fill up the tank. That's when the guy pulled up, screaming at my brother and said he was going to rip my brother's face off, kill him and kill me," Raposo said.

'I couldn't breathe'

She said the man was yelling profanities and calling her names. When he charged at her brother, Raposo said she punched him first and screamed at her brother to get in the car.
Alysa Raposo, shown here before she was assaulted, had to quit her job as a result. A 44-year-old man has been charged with assault causing bodily harm and two counts of uttering threats. (Courtesy Alysa Raposo)

"That's when he choked me to the point where I couldn't breathe any more. He lifted me off the ground with two hands and said to me while looking me in the eyes that this was the last breath I was going to take. And that I am dying. And then he slammed me onto the ground and proceeded to smash my face onto the cement about five times."

In shock, Raposo thought it was the end.

"I was convinced mentally that I was going to die at this point, because I couldn't get a single gasp of air in my lungs and in my head I was saying goodbye to people," she said.

Raposo said her brother and a friend who was in the back seat tried to get the man off her by hitting him with a backpack. The gas station attendant stayed inside the store and called police who dispatched an ambulance.

Raposo said she managed to get inside the store and asked the attendant if she could stay there. He said yes, but didn't lock the doors.

"The guy kept coming in and out in a rage and asking if the security cameras were working," she said.

Had to quit job

Raposo said the man finally left just before police arrived.

She was taken to Concordia Hospital where she had a CT scan, an MRI on her skull and neck and an X-ray on her trachea. She was diagnosed with a concussion, and strain and muscle tearing on her trachea.

Her voice is raspy and shaky. Her body is covered with scratches. She feels dizzy if she gets up too quickly, and her body aches.

Raposo, who's a gender and women's studies student, said she has had to quit her job because she just can't function.

She was working in clinical research with patients with heart failure at St. Boniface Hospital. She hasn't been going to school and she can't sleep because she has visions of the man screaming at her and beating her.

She is hoping to access counselling through victim services.

"This is destroying me, especially because I am a woman in gender studies. I learn about this stuff every day, that these things happen and women just don't want to talk about it. I am talking out about it. I want people to know what happened. It is just traumatizing."

Road rage advice

The Winnipeg Police Service's Pat.-Sgt. Andree Huberdeau said if drivers feel threatened by another motorist, the best thing to do is stay in their vehicles and call for help. 

Whether they cut you off or they follow too close, don't feel like they are targeting you for anything.- Pat.-Sgt. Andree Huberdeau

"If you find yourself in a position where you feel like your safety is in danger, we recommend that you drive yourself to and park in a public parking lot, such as a restaurant or a grocery store, and stay in the car, lock your doors and contact the police," said Huberdeau.

As for drivers who are prone to bouts of road rage, Huberdeau added that it's important to not hold grudges over the mistakes of other drivers.

"We're all humans. We all make errors and when other drivers make those errors, whether they cut you off or they follow too close, don't feel like they are targeting you for anything," he said. "These things happen, and it's better to forgive and forget."

Huberdeau said police don't keep statistics on road rage because the vast majority of incidents go unreported.

Raposo reported her incident and was able to identify a suspect in a police photo lineup. A 44-year-old man has been charged with assault causing bodily harm and two counts of uttering threats.