Trucker Charged with Hate Crime Following Brutal Truck Stop Stabbing

Ontario, OR – A Colorado trucker is facing attempted murder and hate crime charges after he repeatedly stabbed an African-American man inside a truck stop last weekend.

According to the Ontario Police Department (OPD), the alleged crimes took place Saturday at approximately 9:40 a.m. inside an Arby’s restaurant within a Pilot Travel Center located at 653 E. Idaho Ave. along Interstate 84 near the Idaho border.

Investigators say trucker Nolan L. Strauss, 26, of Colorado Springs, CO, approached Ronnell Hughes, 48, who was seated inside the restaurant.

 

Hughes was there seeking employment when he was attacked “without provocation or communication,” OPD said in a statement.

According to court records, Strauss began stabbing Hughes in the neck with a knife.

Hughes attempted to fend off Strauss, investigators say surveillance video evidence shows.

Police say “several employees” intervened and stopped the attack without getting injured.

Authorities were immediately called to the scene and discovered Hughes “bleeding everywhere.”

He was taken to a nearby hospital for treatment of multiple stab wounds to the neck area.

Following an initial investigation, OPD said “the motive for the attack leans heavily towards a racially-motivated crime.”

 

Strauss, who is white, confessed he attacked Hughes because he was black and intended to kill him, court documents say.

On Monday, Strauss was arraigned in Malheur County court on charges of attempted second-degree murder, first-degree assault, first-degree bias crime and unlawful use of a weapon.

Oregon state law defines a bias crime as “intentionally, knowingly or recklessly causes physical injury to another person because of the person’s perception of the other person’s race, color, religion, gender identity, sexual orientation, disability or national origin.”

Prosecutors say Strauss, who drives for Salem, OR-based May Trucking Company, has a history of mental illness.

He was diagnosed with bipolar disorder in 2016 but admitted he hadn’t been taking his prescribed medication, according to court documents.

Transportation Nation Network will continue to monitor the case.

 


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