Apparent road rage incident in Augusta

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News 12 at 6 o'clock, Sept. 11, 2007

AUGUSTA, Ga.---A car was allegedly forced into a ditch and a woman says she was slapped across the face in a road rage incident on Mike Padgett Highway.

"I was like, oh my gosh! He just slapped her," says witness Teleen Stephens.

April Smith was driving her six-year-old daughter home from school on Mike Padgett Highway near Tobacco Road. Stephens was in the front seat.

"The car in front of April slammed on the brakes. So April slammed on her brakes, and he probably thought we were messing with him," Stephens said.

Witnesses say the man, who was driving a white dual extended cab with a white enclosed trailer, got in front of Smith in the right turn lane at Old Waynesboro Road.

"We were right here. His trailer was right here. I had to be that far from him. I almost smacked him. He got out, stomped over to me screaming profanities and then he open handed slapped me in the face," Smith said.

Teleen says witnesses couldn't believe what they saw.

"One guy got out of the car and said, 'Did he just hit you?'"

The whole time, according to Smith and Stephens, Smith's daughter was sitting in the backseat screaming, "Mama! I don't want to die, I'm scared." They say it was three hours until she calmed down.

Amanda Howe says she also was involved in the incident. She says her car was forced off the road...and that's not all: "I did see April get slapped and my jaw immediately dropped," Howe told us by phone. "The man walked off, got back in his truck and left the scene."

News 12 contacted the driver. He said he did not slap Smith, but he refused to comment further. Smith says a bruise on her face came from the slap.

"I had no idea when he stopped whether he had a knife or if he had a gun," Smith said.

News 12 talked to Richmond County deputies, who said an incident report would not be available until late this afternoon.

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