The Crime: Criminal Mischief
The Victim: Haven Baima
Date: Monday, Dec. 24
Time: 2:40 p.m.
Location: 6100 block of Prospect
Road rage usually doesn’t amount to much.
Maybe some yelling, maybe some lewd hand gestures, maybe even some ominous, mildly threatening swerving and following. But rarely does road rage end with slashed tires, a mother taking the law into her own hands, and apology letters.
Haven Baima had nothing to do with provoking a man’s road rage, but her house held the man who did, a football buddy of her son’s who had “mouthed off to a guy,” as she describes it. And that was enough for the man, who clandestinely followed the her son’s friend all the way to Baima’s house and later slashed every tire on the three cars parked outside.
“One of my kid’s jock friends really ticked this guy off, because he road-raged his way all the way here,” Baima says. “We sort of caught him doing it, but he ran. He left a knife and glove in the alley.”
Using that visual identification, as well as a description of the man’s car, Baima asked around and discovered the man lives nearby. She decided to confront him personally, rather than get the law involved.
“In addition to finding him, I did a little detective work to make sure he wasn’t a menace to society,” Baima says. “I asked around to his neighbors. They told me he wasn’t a bad guy, usually. I mean, before I knocked on that door, I had to make sure I wasn’t going to (anger) a psycho, have him come back and kill my family.”
His reaction to her appearance at his front door was akin to “a deer in the headlights,” Baima says. She convinced him it was in his interest to pay for the tires she had to buy for her houseguests, as well as write an apology letter.
“I said, ‘Listen. You’re not that smart. You left a knife and glove in the alley. I don’t want to press charges, but I’ve got some evidence if I do.’ He didn’t seem like a bad guy. He was just a little drunk, and these jocks at my house had really (angered) him.”
Despite her success, Dallas Police Lt. Michael Woodberry said he wouldn’t recommend that people emulate Baima.
“That’s really not a smart move she made at all, going to talk to a guy who did something like that,” Woodberry says. “You never know what’s going to go through someone’s head. There are too many people out there with too many issues. Even if you don’t want to press charges, I’d still advise you to get the police involved before you go confronting someone.”
But to Baima’s mind, all ended perfectly. She didn’t create a potentially lifelong, unstable enemy by sending a guy to jail for a few months; she got her money back for the tires; and she was able to teach the guy an important lesson.
“Next time you go road-raging, don’t go after people with nothing to do with it.”
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