Her use of pepper spray, Taser and baton prompted civil lawsuit, counter-claims
BEND, Ore. (KTVZ) – A Deschutes County judge went beyond both sides’ recommendations Thursday and imposed a 10-day jail term, along with community service and alcohol treatment, for a Bend man who attacked an Uber driver last year while intoxicated, prompting her use of a Taser, pepper spray and a collapsible baton.
Mark Mastalir, 53, apologized for his role in the March 2020 incident during the sentencing by Circuit Judge Raymond Crutchley, but a civil pending civil lawsuit he filed early this year against the female driver over the injuries he sustained, seeking nearly $1 million, and a counter-claim by the driver seeking about half that amount, meant some of what happened that night is in dispute, according to his attorney, Todd Grover.
The lawsuit also played a role in the driver not speaking at Thursday's sentencing, conducted online.
The driver told Deschutes County sheriff’s deputies she was transporting Mastalir to a home on Skyline Ranch Road and that he attacked her by pulling her hair and grabbing her right arm. She told deputies when they both got out, Mastalir began to slam her head off the road, but she successfully fought him off.
Mastalir faced eight charges, including felony charges of third-degree assault, coercion and aggravated harassment. In a plea deal, he pleaded no contest Tuesday to a misdemeanor fourth-degree assault charge and the others were dismissed.
The prosecution and defense attorneys had agreed to jointly recommend a year of unsupervised (bench) probation, no contact with the victim, 40 hours of community service for a nonprofit and alcohol evaluation and completing any recommended treatment. Mastalir has been on an alcohol monitoring ankle bracelet.
Chief Deputy District Attorney Mary Anderson outlined what happened around midnight that night, saying the intoxicated passenger grabbed the woman’s arm, became aggressive and she used a stun gun and pepper spray, which were ineffective.
She was able to stop the car and get out in a secluded area, then eventually he got out and “grabs her again, won’t let go,” at which point she struck him on the head and elsewhere with the baton, eventually able to get away and call police.
“It’s clearly a very traumatic situation for her,” Anderson said.
Grover said all of what Anderson outlined is not agreed upon and that the Uber driver “dented his head” with the baton, requiring staples and leaving “concussive-like symptoms,” with limited memory of the incident. She said he was fired from a management position with a Bay Area tech firm and has had trouble finding work, and is “essentially broke.”
Mastalir told the judge he was “grateful to resolve the matter” without a trial..
“I deeply regret my role in these events,” he said, and “apologize for the anxiety, embarrassment and hurt I’ve caused.”
Crutchley said, “This has to be one of the more egregious things I’ve heard could happen to someone in the transportation service industry. How scary and traumatic an event that would be for someone in that position.”
“I’m just trying to figure out how one would impose 40 hours for assaulting a transportation service provider in the middle of the night, where she had to get out of the vehicle and defend herself with a baton and pepper spray,” the judge said. “I do not know how I get there.”
But Grover, Mastalir’s attorney, said the driver “went to the back door, pulled him out and began to beat his head with a metal baton.” Anderson said that the “civil matter creates complexity” in a “very difficult case.”
Crutchley then imposed a 10-day jail term, to begin no later than Feb. 14, with credit for time served.