Victim Leigh Barham was buying Happy Meals for her two young boys at the Nambour McDonald’s when the violent rage attack began.
Her attacker, Troy Shane Kuskopf, 37, was yesterday sentenced to two years’ jail but did not even turn up to hear his fate in the Maroochydore Magistrates Court.
Outside court, a quietly spoken Ms Barham told The Courier-Mail the unprovoked assault on Australia Day 2011 had left her so terrified she now avoided fast food drive-thrus and always locked her car doors.
She said the car chase down Currie St had been just as terrifying as the physical punches to the face.
The family, including the children’s grandmother in the driver’s seat, had been placing an order when they saw the man behind them yelling abuse and calling names.
“It (the drive-thru) was all full so nobody could move anywhere, and he just, I guess, assumed that we were holding him up on purpose,” she said. “He started just yelling abuse at us, got out of his car and we could hear him being rude.
“And then he came up and spat at the window and kicked the tyre when we were just about to leave and I said to my mum, ‘Come on, let’s go.’ ”
Ms Barham said the family exited the driveway on to the main street of Nambour.
“We left and drove about 100m and my son just yelled out, ‘He’s coming,’ so he chased us all the way to the service station, about 600m.
“We had to pull up at the red light, we just didn’t want to drive through it and hurt somebody else.
“And he came up right behind us. I thought he was going to ram us, but he pulled up inside of us, just reefed my door open and pulled me out of the car, smashed me in the face a few times.
“My son was at the window and he punched my son’s window and just threw me on the ground.”
Police prosecutor Sgt Nick Nitschke told the court Ms Barham had needed dental work to the cost of $3000. She required a new plate in her upper jaw and false top teeth.
The court heard the children, aged four and eight at the time, were so shaken they suffered bed wetting and sleeping problems for months. They developed issues with driving in the car and would check doors and windows obsessively for about a year.
Depressed and stressed, Ms Barham had to quit her youth worker job – that had taken her three years of study – because she could no longer deal with the volatile teen environment.
The family visited psychiatrists and Ms Barham remains on antidepressant medication.
Sgt Nitschke sought the toughest sentence, pointing out that Kuskopf had fled the scene, evaded police, failed to attend court and not offered an early plea.
Magistrate Simon Young strongly condemned Kuskopf who he said had shown no remorse and had not even “deigned” to appear in court for his hearing or sentencing.
He described the road rage attack as “disturbing and serious”.
He ordered Kuskopf’s arrest, with eligibility for parole after eight months, and $1000 in restitution for the victim.