By Dave Russell
A dispute over money led to a pair of local residents being struck by a vehicle and thrown to the asphalt in the Ingles parking lot last week.
The call came in about 2:30 p.m. Monday, Sept. 12, about a hit-and-run incident involving a truck and two pedestrians.
“The two victims have a history with the suspect in the case, a bad business deal from several years ago,” Sylva Police Officer Cody Ruckart said.
Ruckart identified the alleged suspect in the case as Michael Thad Schrader, 52, address unknown. The victims were Eva Massingale, 66, and Ronald Wilson, 75, of Sylva, he said.
“While they were all inside the store, the suspect attempted to get some money he felt they owed him,” Ruckart said. “They refused and the suspect exited the store before they did. The two victims exited and he confronted them with his pickup truck, trying to block their path several times as they were trying to leave. As they walked around the back of his truck he reversed into them and threw them both to the ground.”
Schrader drove off, the victims’ shopping cart stuck to the truck, possibly to the rear bumper, Ruckart said.
“The victims’ shopping cart with all their groceries in it was actually pulled out of the parking lot to somewhere down the road,” he said. “We still haven’t recovered it yet. Per witnesses on the scene, the shopping cart went down the road with the truck.”
Authorities were able to link Schrader thanks to a witness on the scene getting his license plate information, Ruckart said.
The victims’ injuries were minor.
“Bumps and bruises, that kind of stuff, from striking the pavement there in the parking lot,” Ruckart said. “They were obviously checked out by EMS and given the all clear.”
SPD issued warrants for two counts of assault with a deadly weapon and one count of failure to stop and give information, all misdemeanors.
Schrader was arrested and admitted to the Jackson County Detention Center late Sunday night. He was held in lieu of a $10,000 bond as of Monday morning, but is no longer on the Detention Center roster.
Monday morning, instead of a failure to stop charge, he now faces felony hit and run and the two misdemeanor counts of assault with a deadly weapon, according to the Detention Center online roster.