A family out for a dinner at Outback Steakhouse is accusing a man of trying to hit them with his car, according to a criminal complaint filed in Santa Fe County Magistrate Court. 

Earlier this month, Ernest Kavanaugh Sr. was heading out for dinner with his son and granddaughter at the Outback on Cerrillos Road.

As they entered the restaurant, Kavanaugh said a man, later identified as Ruben James, was "being belligerent and cussing at him and his family" while walking out of the door, according to the complaint. 

Kavanaugh got into a verbal argument with James before James allegedly said, "I'm going to get you." James then got into a car and drove directly at the family, the complaint stated. 

While no one was hit, Kavanaugh said the car came 1 to 2 feet from hitting him, and he had to push his son out of the way, who later said he thought James was trying to "kill him" with the car. 

Witnesses also told police they saw the family argue with a man who tried to hit them with his car.

James has been charged with three counts of aggravated assault with a deadly weapon, according to the complaint. 

(10) comments

Lynn k Allen

Bully with a gas pedal, bully with a gun. Same thing. Same mentality.

Russell Scanlon

Legal weed can’t get here fast enough.

Seriously people—slow down, be nice, and get over yourselves.

Lee Vigil


Stephen Rubin

Cars are absolutely deadly weapons when the texting teen aggressively zooms up my rear on tiny little streets as I'm driving a gramma home then she almsot goes around casuing a head on collision that would be accidental major damage caused by negliecne etc... So to this incident yes waking away from the too many angry people on the edge is best response however not letting a stranger curse you and your family out for no reason can be understandable.. Saying I'm going get you is a threat and possibly criminal action and using a car to intentionally harm a family is Def an assault.. It just worked in Boston where another racist white man killed people with his cars.. This needs to be re established and people need consequences and many people need reminders how dangerous driving is.. Not just drunk.. Always.. Its insanely dangerous..

And yes I had the thought don't eat at oiutback but that's another topic.. Bad taste shouldn't lead to having to push it kid aside to not be hit by an angrily driven car

Chris Mechels

I have noticed that evading a car is quite easy, as I'm more mobile than the car.

Assault with a deadly weapon seems a bit over the top in this case.

John Martinez

Seems a bit over the top according to Chris....ok but when it happens to you and your family, I'm sure you would be ok with the charges? If someone tries to run over my children, I would hope that they be prosecuted to the FULL extent of the law.

Chris Mechels

Coming within 2 feet is NOT hitting someone. I don't condone the behavior, but assault with a deadly weapon seems a heavy charge. We can't put everyone in jail... and in fact we don't. Those charged are the poor and people of color.

Khal Spencer

People need to learn to walk away from this stuff. If you up the ante on one of these belligerent people, chances are the ante will up you.

Prince Michael Jauregui

I can concur with you, Mr. Spencer to a degree. I pick my battles - all of them.

Besides, I knew Outback was over-priced and mediocre, but, this is loco.

Khal Spencer

It depends, of course. If the guy is railing and cussing but not being a credible threat, my reaction would be to go inside and get away from him since someone cussing and railing could be disturbed or looking for a fight that makes no sense to engage in.

As you say, if the person is a credible threat, its a battle one has to deal with, either by defusing the situation or applying appropriate measures to end the threat.

As far as Mr. Mechel's statement, I think there is well established law on this.

What Defines a "Deadly Weapon"?

“Deadly weapon” generally refers to a wide range of objects that can inflict mortal or great bodily harm—for example a car or a golf club. Some states consider knives and guns as "deadly weapons per se," which means that the prosecutor need not present evidence of their ability to cause mortal or serious injury. And some instruments, such as pocketknives, shoes, canes, walking sticks, and stones, while not deadly by design, can become "deadly weapons" depending on how the defendant has used them.

Even parts of the human body can be deadly weapons, such as feet, knees, arms, and teeth (people that are aware of their HIV+ status, who use their teeth to bite someone else or have unprotected sex with another person, may be charged with ADW or aggravated sexual assault).


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