A Tacoma convenience store employee is in critical condition after being run down by a man who apparently suffers from mental illness, records show.
The woman was struck Tuesday while working at a gas station in the 3600 block of Center Street. She was outside, changing a sign, when she noticed a man pull up and begin acting bizarrely.
Pierce County prosecutors on Wednesday charged the 39-year-old man with first-degree assault and failure to remain at the scene of an injury accident.
He is being held without bail and a competency hearing has been set for Dec. 7.
Charging papers give this account:
The man turned up his music, slipped on a camouflage hoodie and picked up a piece of paper. He threw it at the woman before saying, “Let me see how you get out of this one.”
He then got back into his truck and drove straight at the woman.
The clerk sought protection between two poles, which the man drove into so hard that he bent one of them.
Next he pulled out of the parking lot, ran a red light and drove back into the parking lot. The woman tried to run into the store but didn’t make it before he returned.
She tried hiding behind a car but the man struck her and the vehicle.
“After striking the victim and fleeing, the defendant returned to the scene,” according to charging papers. “The defendant drove erratically in the parking lot. A witness noted that it appeared that the defendant was attempting to hit people with his vehicle.”
The man fled when police arrived.
Officers found him sitting in a vehicle nearby and took him into custody.
Police spokeswoman Loretta Cool said the man and clerk did not know each other.
Court records indicate the man might suffer mental problems and might have been under the influence of drugs. Blood tests results are pending.
Stacia Glenn: 253-597-8653