A Lynden driver was charged with first-degree assault after three hit-and-run incidents in Chehalis last week that left two people injured.
Bruce F. Haas, 67, allegedly hit two pedestrians near the Starbucks in the 1500 block of Northwest Louisiana Avenue and then crashed into a car parked at the nearby Mobil gas station just after 8 p.m. on Jan. 15.
The first victim, Riley Schreiter, told responding officers with the Chehalis Police Department that he was struck by a gray Nissan pickup and had watched the Nissan hit another pedestrian and drive off. The second pedestrian, Lucas Bryan, stated that he had been pushing his shopping cart when he heard a parked vehicle honk several times, and then the vehicle “drove straight at him” and struck the shopping cart he was pushing and it brushed against his body as he dove out of the way, according to Lewis County Superior Court documents. He sustained injuries to his right elbow, abdomen and knee; and Schreiter sustained abrasions to his hand and lower leg.
After hitting the two pedestrians, Haas reportedly drove to the nearby Mobil gas station and crashed into the side of a car parked at the gas pumps — causing one of the occupants, who was exiting the vehicle when he saw the Nissan “coming at them at what appeared to be over 20 mph,” to jump on top of the car to avoid being sandwiched between the two vehicles.
Haas then reportedly exited the Nissan “and walked aggressively towards the occupants of the car.” Officers were redirected to the scene on reports that citizens had restrained Haas, who “appeared confused and mumbled ‘the demons are here,’” according to Superior Court documents.
Haas was booked into the Lewis County Jail on two counts of first-degree assault, two counts of second-degree assault and two counts of hit and run causing injury. The most serious of these charges, first-degree assault, carries a maximum penalty of life imprisonment and up to $50,000 in fines.
While Haas was initially scheduled for his preliminary appearance in Lewis County Superior Court on Jan. 19, defense attorney Rachael Tiller informed the court that Haas had been taken to the hospital the previous night. Haas’ preliminary appearance was rescheduled to Jan. 20, after The Chronicle’s deadline.