Cambridge driver in rage case had earlier run-ins

  • Article by: PAUL WALSH and KELLY SMITH , Star Tribune staff writers
  • Updated: October 2, 2012 - 11:24 PM

Man, 71, was involved in five other confrontations but was never charged. Witnesses say his car swerved at two speeding motorcycles.

Joseph D. Kadlec

Photo: Isanti County Sheriff’s Office,

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A 71-year-old man who has been involved in at least five other alleged road rage incidents in recent years was charged Tuesday with confronting two motorcyclists in the Isanti Police Department parking lot and shooting one of them in the chin.

Joseph D. Kadlec, 71, of Cambridge, Minn., was charged with three felonies: first-degree assault, second-degree assault with a dangerous weapon and first-degree attempted manslaughter. Kadlec was jailed following the shooting Saturday afternoon and was released on bail Tuesday night.

Kadlec has a permit to carry a gun, according to the Isanti County Sheriff's Office. He has been involved in five other road rage incidents in the past four years, according to the criminal complaint in this case.

Isanti County Sheriff Russ Monson didn't return phone calls asking about whether those incidents were considered when authorities approved Kadlec's application to carry a firearm.

The shooting victim, Kyle W. Ronning, 29, of Columbia Heights, was taken to Hennepin County Medical Center. He was in satisfactory condition.

A fellow motorcyclist and roommate, Matthew D. Larowe, 30, was at the scene but unharmed.

The bullet entered "directly into [Ronning's] chin just below his bottom lip," according to the complaint, filed in Isanti County District Court. The bullet broke several of Ronning's teeth, the complaint added, and was "protruding from the lower portion of his right ear."

In a brief telephone interview Tuesday, Larowe said he and Ronning were "out enjoying the weather" on their motorcycles and it was Kadlec who "was definitely out of line."

"Sweet," was Larowe's response when hearing that Kadlec had been charged.

Other incidents

In the earlier incidents, Kadlec was never charged or ticketed but was "certainly party to all five cases," said Isanti County Attorney Jeff Edblad.

In one case, Edblad said, Kadlec was involved in a motorcycle-car crash and officers called to the scene reported both drivers yelling obscenities. "I've worked with the best; you sure as [expletive] aren't one of them," Kadlec reportedly told officers.

In that September 2008 incident, Christopher Opdahl of Isanti said he was driving on County Road 5 when he passed Kadlec. But when they got to a stoplight and he turned left, Kadlec followed and accelerated, hitting the motorcycle and throwing Opdahl off his bike, Opdahl said.

"Obviously he's got a history of it," Opdahl said of Kadlec's road rage. He added that his bike was totaled, but that officers didn't have enough evidence to determine if Kadlec deliberately caused the wreck and no charges were filed.

In a March 2009 incident involving Kadlec, one vehicle was trying to pass another and the two later collided in what was alleged as intentional ramming, Edblad added.

While Saturday's incident remains under investigation, Edblad said he doesn't expect the two motorcyclists to be charged.

"Unfortunately, we do see road rage incidents that have been occurring more and more frequently over the years, but we never see something of this level," Edblad said. "We all see it out there [on roadways] every day - the lack of civility and courtesy."

According to the complaint against Kadlec:

Witnesses driving along Hwy. 65 told police that they saw Kadlec's car, his wife with him, and Ronning and Larowe speed by. The car swerved toward Ronning and Larowe, prompting the two men to speed up to Kadlec, and one of the motorcyclists then kicked Kadlec's car.

The motorcyclists attempted to pass the car "again and again." In response, Kadlec "jerked his car at the motorcycles."

At one point, one of the motorcyclists "gave [Kadlec] the finger," prompting Kadlec to swerve toward his rivals again.

From there, the motorcyclists ended up in the Police Department parking lot. Two officers leaving the headquarters heard a gunshot. One of them led the wounded man away from the car scene while the other yelled at Kadlec.

Kadlec told police about the confrontation on Hwy. 65 and said something about kicking, they said.

pwalsh@startribune.com 612-673-4482 kelly.smith@startribune.com 612-673-4141

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