(Update: Adding video, comments from woman who was struck)
Allegedly struck woman pushing child in baby stroller
BEND, Ore. (KTVZ) -- Bend police have cited a Bend driver on assault and recklessly endangering charges for allegedly striking a woman pushing a baby stroller in a crosswalk during last Saturday's "Walk for Justice," Deschutes County District Attorney John Hummel said Friday.
The marchers were proceeding from the Old Mill District to downtown Bend. Along the route, the marchers walked across Northwest Lava Road, in a crosswalk, at the intersection of Lava and Southwest Industrial Way.
The driver, David William Hart, 52, was driving a Jeep heading southbound on Lava Road, Hummel said. When Hart reached the intersection with SW Industrial Way, he had to wait for the marchers who were in the crosswalk.
"After waiting for a few minutes, Mr. Hart did not want to wait any more, so he edged his car slowly into the crowd in the crosswalk," Hummel said. "When he did so, he struck one woman and one baby stroller."
Hart was charged with four counts of recklessly endangering another person and one count of fourth-degree assault.
"He was using his vehicle to disperse," the woman who was struck, Karen Spears Zacharias, told NewsChannel 21 on Friday. "He wanted us out of the drive. He had been yelling even prior to us getting to the drive.
"We were on the sidewalk. So I had seen him engaging or yelling at the marchers in front of me. Everyone was doing a good job of trying to social distance.
"But when I got dead center in front of the Jeep, it was right about that time -- what I remember clearly is that my grandson's stroller was aligned with the tire of the Jeep," she said.
Neither Zacharias nor her grandson needed medical treatment. She said she'd like to see the Jeep's driver give a large donation to Black Lives Matter.
While fourth-degree assault can be charged as a felony or misdemeanor, depending on certain factors, Hummel told NewsChannel 21 the charge against Hart is a misdemeanor, as state law dictates, because the alleged victim is not the parent of children who witnessed the alleged crime, nor does she live with the children who were there.
"The statute is specific, as to what qualifies as a felony -- no discretion for me here," he said.
Bend police had said Wednesday they were seeking any witnesses to the reported collision they said occurred around 3:15 p.m. Saturday involving a vehicle that might have hit someone pushing a child in a stroller during the march, which drew more than 1,000 participants.
Hummel said in a statement, “Thank you to the community members who came forward to report what they observed and to the Bend Police Department, who conducted a thorough investigation."
"In our community, people are free to express their beliefs in lawful and peaceful assemblies," the DA continued. "I will not stand idly by when someone endangers other people exercising their constitutional rights to seek redress of their grievances.
"That having been said, this case will not be about the merits of the beliefs of the marchers," Hummel added. "This case will be about whether David William Hart committed the crimes for which he is charged. He will carry the presumption of innocence throughout the process and will be afforded due process of law.”