Lewis County Watch

A warrant has been issued for a man suspected of throwing an 18-year-old out of a car and hitting him with a hatchet during a test drive of the victim's vehicle.

The victim was found barely conscious and severely injured on a Graham road, still clutching the title for his 2002 Audi A4 Quattro.

The carjacking took place Dec. 29 and Pierce County sheriff's deputies arrested the 39-year-old suspect in late January but he was released.

On Wednesday, prosecutors charged the man with first-degree robbery and issued a warrant for his arrest.

His whereabouts are unknown.

Charging papers and investigators give this account:

The victim posted his Audi online in hopes of selling it for $4,000 and agreed to meet with the suspect, who said he was interested in buying the car.

The 18-year-old was wary of meeting a stranger so he brought along his grandfather and arranged to meet in a public parking lot.

When the suspect asked to test drive the Audi, the victim agreed and his grandfather stayed behind.

After 20 minutes, the victim's grandfather called 911.

It was about the same time a woman driving near 232nd Street East and 94th Avenue East found the victim sitting in the road.

He suffered head trauma, a skull fracture, contusions on both lungs, multiple facial fractures and several abrasions.

The teen must wear a helmet because he is missing part of his skull, records say.

Detectives found the stolen Audi Jan. 1 and determined the suspect was living on a trailer on the property at the time.

His girlfriend told deputies the suspect talked about going to meet someone to get a car.

"She further stated that the defendant was excited about the car and had installed a speaker and some other items," prosecutors wrote in charging papers.

At some point, the girlfriend said the Audi disappeared from the property and her boyfriend said police mentioned the car had been stolen.

By late January, the victim recovered enough to speak with detectives about what he remembered from the incident.

He recalled being in the passenger seat when the suspect said something was wrong with the Audi and they should stop to check it out.

"The victim reported that once both of his feet were on the ground, the suspect 'tried to take off,'" records say.

The teen tried to get back into the car and held on as the suspect sped off at 60 mph, dragging the lower half of the victim's body for at least 100 yards.

The suspect fishtailed in an attempt to make the victim let go, and eventually hit him with a hatchet to make him release his hold on the car.

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