Man accused of intentionally causing a crash in Centralia, breaking other driver’s leg, charged with vehicular assault


A man accused of intentionally side-swiping a vehicle, causing it to crash into a power pole and breaking the driver’s leg, in Centralia on Friday is facing multiple felony charges in Lewis County Superior Court. 

The crash was reported in the 3300 block of Fords Prairie Avenue at 9:45 p.m. on March 29, according to the Centralia Police Department. 

A witness report and a separate home security video of the incident both confirmed a white vehicle struck a gold vehicle, causing it to run into a power pole. The white vehicle then fled the scene. 

The driver of the gold vehicle was at the scene with his vehicle when officers with the Centralia Police Department arrived at the scene. He told officers he had a broken leg and was transported to Providence Centralia Hospital for medical treatment. 

The witness reportedly told investigators “it appeared the driver of the white vehicle hit the gold vehicle on purpose,” according to court documents. 

A search of the white vehicle’s license plate found that it is registered to Antonio Rivera, 30, of Centralia. A Centralia officer reportedly confirmed the injured driver of the gold vehicle “was involved in a civil issue over buying/selling a vehicle with Antonio Rivera,” according to court documents.
When interviewed by investigators at the hospital, the injured driver reported he and Rivera saw each other while driving and “flipped each other off” before Rivera allegedly “began chasing him at high speeds” and “‘sideswiped him,’ causing him to lose control and crash,” according to court documents. 

Officers with the Centralia Police Department responded to Rivera’s residence on Galvin Road on Friday and reportedly found the white vehicle that was involved in the crash parked on the property. 

The vehicle reportedly “had fresh damage to the front end, consistent with the recorded footage” as well as “paint transfer that matched (the gold) vehicle.” One of the vehicle’s lights was also missing from the vehicle and matched a light found at the scene. 

When questioned, Rivera allegedly told officers “nothing happened with his vehicle” and said “nobody had been driving the vehicle, even though the engine was still warm to the touch,” according to court documents. 

Rivera allegedly “claimed that the paint transfer observed by law enforcement was caused by his lawnmower running into the vehicle, even though the lawnmower was too small to have caused the damage and there was no indication the lawnmower had run into anything,” according to court documents. 

Rivera was ultimately arrested and booked into the Lewis County Jail. En route to the jail, Rivera is accused of threatening an officer, allegedly telling the officer “he would ‘f*** him up’ and his ‘kids wouldn’t sleep tonight,’” according to court documents.

Rivera posted $10,000 bail over the weekend and was out of custody for his preliminary hearing in Lewis County Superior Court on Monday, April 1, where he was charged with one count each of vehicular assault, second-degree assault, felony hit-and-run and making a false or misleading statement to a public servant. 

While the prosecution asked Judge James Lawler to increase Rivera’s bail to $25,000 due to the severity of the allegations and reports that Rivera was taking part in “harassing behavior” against the victim, Lawler opted to keep bail at the $10,000 Rivera already posted. 

“The $10,000 that he posted got him here, and that’s what it was supposed to do,” Lawler said Monday. 

Rivera’s conditions of release do include a provision prohibiting him from having any contact with witnesses, including the victim, which means Rivera will be remanded into custody if the court receives proof Rivera contacted the victim. 

Citing that condition, Lawler told Rivera he would be arrested if the reported “harassing behavior” continues. 

“Whatever’s happening stops here,” Lawler said. 

Arraignment is scheduled for Thursday, April 4.