Man jailed in road rage case |

Man jailed in road rage case

William Ferchland

A road rage incident sent a 40-year-old South Lake Tahoe man to jail after a fight involving a tree branch and a hammer ended on Lake Tahoe Boulevard, a South Lake Tahoe police officer said.

The man was crossing the highway near Ski Run Avenue on Wednesday. A 23-year-old driver traveling west thought the man was walking too slow and reportedly got out of his car to confront him.

The 40-year-old picked up a branch and hit the driver in the neck, the officer said. In turn, the 23-year-old retrieved a hammer from his car and used it to hit the man in the stomach, the officer said. The 40-year-old man was held at El Dorado County Jail on suspicion of assault with a deadly weapon at $105,000 bail.

In other news:

* Tracy Rippetoe, a former foreman at RW Plumbing who was involved in an car accident that killed a Bay Area woman, has several prior convictions, including driving under the influence in Trinity County in 1995, court records revealed.

Rippetoe, who has an appearance scheduled for Thursday at El Dorado County Superior Court to iron out details before a preliminary hearing, was arrested for suspicion of vehicle manslaughter while intoxicated, possession of methamphetamine for sale and other charges.

Special circumstances of causing great bodily injury were included in the criminal complaint.

One past conviction in 1997 is considered a strike against the 42-year-old. Rippetoe was sentenced to 20 days in jail with three years of probation for making threats with the intent to terrorize, records show.

Last month Rippetoe was in a truck that crashed into a Mercedes driven by 41-year-old Kimberly White while traveling along Highway 89 at Emerald Bay. White died at the scene and her sister, the lone passenger, was sent to a hospital with internal injuries.

Rippetoe was sent to the hospital with minor injuries. He is being held at El Dorado County Jail at $250,000 bail.

* A 43-year-old San Jose man was arrested Thursday for reportedly using a faulty gambling machine at Harveys Resort Casino that would give more credits than money put in, an official from the Nevada Gaming Control Board.

The man, Jon Steffens, would either gamble or cash out, said Ed Yenick, Northern Nevada’s deputy chief of enforcement for NGCB.

Although the amount of money Steffens allegedly took is unknown, Yenick said authorities are searching for two men who took a total of $8,000 from the machine.

Steffens was booked into Douglas County Jail on suspicion of a fraudulent gaming act and held at $25,000 bail. The machine was booked for evidence.

* A small handgun left by an off-duty deputy from Pennsylvania was found last week at Quality Inn and Suites at 3838 Lake Tahoe Blvd., a South Lake Tahoe police officer said.

The gun, a small Walther PPK used for backup, was placed in a safe, the officer said.

* A blue and black Kona bike valued at $1,500 was reported stolen Monday night from an open garage along the 800 block of Tahoe Keys Boulevard.

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