Police say 71-year-old William Zesbaugh was upset Monday afternoon when he felt a car had cut him off on Pearl Street in Tacoma.
Zesbaugh began tailgating the car while honking his horn, and when the driver -- Lu-Ann Branch -- pulled up to a stop sign near the ferry terminal, police say Zesbaugh rammed her car.
Branch got out and approached Zesbaugh to exchange insurance information, at which point police say he opened his trunk and grabbed a weapon.
"He got out of his car went to trunk and took out this instrument called the 'Club,'" Branch said.
Police say he viciously hit Branch with Club two times and only stopped the attack when a ferry worker stepped in to intervene.
After putting the Club back in his trunk, Zesbaugh walked over to Branch and her passenger, Kelli Nichols, and said, "I can tell you're lesbians. I should beat the crap out of you," according to prosecutors.
While Branch suffered the physical wounds in the attack, Nichols said the driver's verbal attack left her traumatized.
"This was road rage morphed into a hate crime," she said.
She said as a lesbian, she's never felt so threatened and frightened.
"It was shocking and scary that this could happen here," she said.
After the attack, Zesbaugh got back into his car and drove off before police arrived, telling the women, "I'm gonna get you for this" as he drove by their car, prosecutors say.
Officers soon spotted Zesbaugh at a red light and blocked him in. As he was being taken to a patrol car, police say Zesbaugh told the arresting officer, "I should have hit her a lot harder if I'm going to get in trouble for it."
Branch was taken to a local hospital to be treated for a deep gash on her forearm that required 11 stitches.
Zesbaugh was arraigned on Tuesday and his bail was set at $10,000.