A trucker accused of stabbing a black man in an unprovoked attack at an Oregon truck stop — saying he did so because he didn’t “like black people” — has been charged with a hate crime, federal prosecutors said.
Nolan Levi Strauss, 26, of Colorado, was indicted by a federal grand jury in Eugene in the December 2019 stabbing attack on a 48-year-old black man who was applying for a job at an Arby’s restaurant at the Pilot Travel Center truck in Ontario, Oregon, federal prosecutors said Thursday.
The victim, identified as Ronnell Tyrone Hughes, was sitting in the restaurant’s lobby waiting for a manager when Strauss approached him from behind without warning and stabbed him in the neck, prosecutors allege.
Hughes managed to break away from Strauss — who was detained by an Arby employee with a belt — but was cut twice on his neck and was “bleeding everywhere,” The Oregonian reported, citing a probable cause affidavit.
When asked by the Arby’s worker why he attacked Hughes, Strauss said it was because he was black and “I don’t like black people,” federal prosecutors said.
Strauss, who worked for May Trucking Company at the time, had been living in his commercial vehicle at the truck stop at the time of the stabbing, The Oregonian reported.
An affidavit shows Strauss told cops he intended to kill Hughes, who was flown to Boise for emergency surgery after the attack.
Strauss had a history of mental illness while previously living in Nebraska, where he was diagnosed with bipolar disorder in 2016 but had stopped taking his medication, police said in an affidavit.
Strauss, who is set to make his initial federal court appearance on Oct. 19, faces up to life in prison if convicted.