A Bend man has been charged with assault after police say he struck a woman and a baby stroller in a crosswalk during the Walk for Justice protest June 6th.
Deschutes County District Attorney John Hummel announced Friday 52-year-old David William Hart had been charged with four counts of recklessly endangering another person and one count of fourth-degree assault.
More than 1,000 people participated in the event, marching from Farewell Bend Park to the county courthouse downtown.
As marchers walked toward downtown, the group reached NW Lava Road. Hart was in his Jeep heading south on Lava when the group reached the intersection of SW Industrial Way, forcing him to wait for them to clear the crosswalk, Hummel said in a release.
“After waiting for a few minutes, Mr. Hart did not want to wait anymore, so he edged his car slowly into the crowd in the crosswalk,” Hummel said. “When he did so, he struck one woman and one baby stroller.”
The alleged victim, Karen Spears Zacharias, wrote about the incident in a lengthy blog post on her website.
In the post, Zacharias said she was pushing her grandson in a BOB stroller when “another angry motorist in a green jeep began yelling directly at us: “This is ridiculous! GET OUTTA MY WAY!” He began to inch his jeep forward, but the marchers continued walking across the crosswalk,” she wrote.
“The driver yelled. We walked. Nobody interacted with the driver. As Sawyer and I reached the very front center of the jeep, the driver stepped on the gas. Not hard, but just enough to try and hurt somebody,” she wrote. “He struck me, the front bar on the jeep knocking my right forearm. The stroller – if you know what a Bob is, you know it’s not a flimsy thing – began to tip out to the main road.”
When reached on Friday, Zacharias thanked the DA’s office for bringing charges “appropriately and quickly” against Hart.
Hart declined to comment until he’s talked to an attorney.
Bend Police earlier this week issued a call to the community for information about the alleged incident.
Hummel said the case won’t have anything to do with the beliefs of the marchers, but “whether Hart committed the crime for which he is charged.”
“In our community, people are free to express their beliefs in lawful and peaceful assemblies,” he said. “I will not stand idly by when someone endangers other people exercising their constitutional rights to seek redress of their grievances.”
This is a developing story.