Columbia man arrested in baton road rage

The incident happened in north Columbia.

A Columbia man was arrested on suspicion of ramming another car Thursday after it reportedly cut him off in traffic in the northern part of the city.

Leslie W. Morrow, 55, of Columbia was arrested on a single count of second-degree assault after he allegedly chased another car repeatedly and slammed on his brakes in front of them, CPD spokeswoman Jessie Haden said.

"He said he passed the vehicle on the right side, and he said he didn't try to collide with their car but wanted to hit it with a collapsible baton while driving,” she said. “He did swerve into their car."

Haden said the drivers had travelled some distance on U.S. 63 with Morrow passing them before he finally passed them on the right and collided. When the other drivers reached Stadium Boulevard, they waited for law enforcement and medical personnel, because one of their passengers was pregnant. Several Boone County sheriff’s deputies and Columbia police officers responded.

Haden said she doesn’t think Columbia has a higher frequency of road rage than other cities, despite its population and congestion in some areas.

“I think Columbia is no different than a city of the same size, but it has increased over time,” she said. “At some point, it became recognizable enough for somebody to coin a phrase.”

Instead, Haden thinks the intensity of the road rage incidents happening in the city is increasing.

“Another thing that becomes concerning as a police officer and surely, as a citizen, is that it’s stepped up a notch,” she said. “We used to see people being annoyed but certainly not at this level of agitation.”

Haden said the case was unusual given Morrow’s choice of weapon in the alleged attack.

"It was a pretty clear incident of road rage, and it was pretty concerning,” she said. “Why are you carrying around a collapsible bat in your car anyway?"

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