A 73-year-old Thurston County man has been released from jail after being involved in an alleged road rage incident that left another man seriously injured.
Richard Ramirez attended his preliminary appearance in Thurston County Superior Court on Tuesday. Deputies arrested him on Sunday for his role in a crash on Pacific Avenue near Lacey.
The collision occurred before 4 p.m. on Pacific Avenue at David Street, west of Union Mills Road. Deputies responding to the scene allegedly found a motorcyclist who had been run over by Ramirez's vehicle, according to court documents.
First responders had the motorcyclist airlifted to Tacoma General Hospital where he was treated for multiple hip fractures and at least one bone dislocation as well as numerous scrapes and contusions.
On Tuesday, Judge Mary Sue Wilson found probable cause for the charge of first-degree assault while armed with a deadly weapon and set bail at $5,000.
"The allegations are quite serious," Wilson said. "The court considers the allegations and the violence that occurred here and finds that bail is appropriate."
Ramirez was released on bond after the hearing, according to his custody status. Court documents indicate he is a veteran with no prior criminal history. His arraignment has been scheduled for June 13.
A probable cause statement describes the investigation into the crash from the perspective of law enforcement.
The incident allegedly began near Martin Way East and Galaxy Drive Northeast. Ramirez reportedly told police the motorcyclist split the lane and almost caused an accident by driving recklessly.
A "verbal altercation" ensued, and the motorcyclist allegedly started following Ramirez's vehicle until the intersection of Marvin Road and Martin Way.
At that point, the statement says Ramirez heard a loud bang from his back window and saw it was broken. The motorcyclist then reportedly sped around Ramirez's vehicle and drove south on Marvin Road.
Ramirez believed the motorcyclist shot at his window with a firearm, according to the statement. Ramirez reportedly performed a U-turn in the middle of the street and sped to follow the motorcyclist, the statement says.
They eventually reached the 7000 block of Pacific Avenue where the collision occurred. The motorcyclist told deputies at the scene that Ramirez's vehicle struck his motorcycle from behind, almost causing him to crash, according to the statement.
A moment later, the motorcyclist began to slow down for traffic and Ramirez allegedly ran over the motorcycle.
Witnesses told deputies that Ramirez's vehicle appeared to speed up before striking the motorcyclist. The statement indicates the motorcycle crumpled under the front of Ramirez's vehicle and was dragged a "significant distance."
Other witnesses said the motorcyclist was traveling at about 60 miles per hour and weaving in and out of traffic to evade Ramirez. When the collision occurred, witnesses saw the motorcyclist get thrown off the motorcycle and land in a turn lane, the statement says.
Investigators did not find a firearm on the motorcyclist or along the chase route, according to the statement, and there were no bullet holes in Ramirez's vehicle.
However, the statement says a deputy found a bullet casing on the roadway at Pacific Avenue and Ranger Drive. It's unclear if this casing is related to the incident.
While interviewing witnesses, one deputy reportedly saw rocks on the street that could have caused the damage to Ramirez's window.
One witness told police Ramirez appeared proud to have struck the motorcyclist and he told nearby people that the motorcyclist was armed.
A detective interviewed Ramirez near the scene of the collision. Ramirez said the motorcyclist had threatened to kill him in Spanish and said he was armed with a gun, according to the court document. However, Ramirez also reportedly admitted he did not know Spanish.
When asked how he knew his vehicle was shot at, Ramirez reportedly said he knew what gunshots were and believed the motorcyclist had a gun. When asked if he was afraid, Ramirez reportedly said he grew up in "Nam" and wasn't scared of anybody.
The statement says Ramirez admitted to being mad but said he wasn't out of control. His wife rode in the vehicle with him. She reportedly told the detective that the motorcyclist spoke entirely in English, but she didn't remember hearing any threats.
The detective later interviewed the motorcyclist at Tacoma General Hospital. He reportedly said the incident started when Ramirez swerved in front of him after he split the lane between two vehicles. He said Ramirez threatened to kill him and said something about a gun.
The motorcyclist admitted to throwing rocks at Ramirez's vehicle and said he did not have a firearm, according to the statement.
The statement notes the motorcyclist was sobbing and gasping as he described his version of events. The detective believed this indicated the motorcyclist feared for his life.