Exclusive: Possible road rage victim still suffers memory loss

Published: Dec. 17, 2010 at 11:32 PM EST|Updated: Dec. 18, 2010 at 12:05 AM EST
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By Elizabeth Donatelli - bio | email

JEFFERSONVILLE, IN (WAVE) - Heather Cullum said it was the scariest Halloween season of her life. Her husband, Matthew, was beaten unconscious in front of her eyes and put into a medically induced coma for six days.  She blames road rage. Cullum speaks exclusive to WAVE 3 about the experience.

"It was terrifying," said Heather. "I mean absolutely the scariest thing I think I ever went through."

On November 1st Heather was driving her husband home from Jewish hospital where he was checking on his mother when their car overheated.

"I kind of slowed down as a precautionary and the next thing I know, I have somebody on my rear end just pretty much eating my bumper," said Heather. "I asked my husband, I'm like, 'Do you know who that is? Is it someone we know?' and he was like 'No. No.' And so after that I was like 'Ok.' I tapped my breaks and I was like, 'Just get off my rear end. I'm trying to get off the road.'"

She said the driver flashed its lights, and honked the horn, so she pulled over into a well lit parking lot, but the car followed.

"My husband got out of the car, the passenger got out of the car," said Heather. "(He) hit him in the face. The driver got out came from behind, hit him in the back of the head, knocked him unconscious and then they continued to just kick and beat him while he was down on the ground unconscious."

Heather called 911 and an ambulance took her husband to the hospital.

"He had several fractures on his face," said Heather. "His nose was broken. He had subdural bleeding on both sides of his brain."

Matthew is still suffering short term memory loss.

"He gets upset very easily," said Heather. "His whole demeanor has changed from the brain injury."

Heather memorized the license plate and police arrested Michael Shelby. He was charged with aggravated battery. A juvenile was also arrested and could be charged as an adult.

According to the probable cause affidavit Shelby told police Heather made him mad after she braked hard in front of him, so he gave her an obscene gesture and cussed at her. Shelby said her husband yelled he "wanted to fight." When Matthew got out of the car Shelby thought he had a knife. They exchanged words and Shelby knocked him out calling him a "one hitter quitter" with his "deadly weapons" being his fists.

Heather said simply words were exchanged, it escalated far too quickly, but that her husband didn't have a knife.

"What they did was just ridiculous," said Heather. "To beat someone after already knocking them unconscious and then just continue to beat them. It wasn't until I got out of the car and they seen me with a cell phone in my hand they hurried up ran and got in their vehicle locked the doors and rolled their windows up."

Both Shelby and the juvenile are scheduled to be back in court on this case the week of December 20th.

As for Matthew he lost both of his jobs and is getting ready to start cognitive therapy to try and improve his memory. They do not have health insurance. He and his wife lost their home and are worried how they are going to pay for Christmas presents for his kids.

Copyright 2010 WAVE News. All rights reserved.