A mom and toddler in a minivan were shot at, rammed. Case of mistaken identity?

The chase tore through Pierce County with a middle-aged woman and her 3-year-old son taking corners at top speed in their minivan.

Behind them were two men in a Dodge Caravan and a woman who complained of being harassed, determined to stop the minivan for a confrontation.

During the Dec. 2 pursuit, the mother said the men shot at her and her son and rammed their van before deputies were able to intervene.

Now, a 40-year-old man is charged with second-degree assault and reckless driving. He pleaded not guilty Monday and was released on his own recognizance.

It all started when the man and his brother picked up a female friend and she told them she’d been harassed by two men in a van. She pointed toward a minivan parked nearby.

“The defendant decided that he was going to find out what was going on and why they were harassing” the woman, according to charging papers.

Almost immediately, the van pulled away and the man decided to follow it.

The middle-aged woman behind the wheel quickly realized she was being followed and called 911 for help.

A deputy who responded spotted the mother’s minivan speeding around a corner with the Dodge right behind her. The deputy was able to stop both vehicles and speak to the drivers.

The mother claimed her van had been shot at and rammed.

Deputies found damage to support those claims – a new dent and “strike marks” on the door next to where the toddler was sitting, which authorities believe might be from a BB gun.

The defendant and his passengers denied shooting at the minivan or ramming them and insisted they were only following the van to ask why the woman had been harassed.

Stacia Glenn: 253-597-8653