An 18-year-old man facing a murder allegation for running over a skateboarder in a central Vancouver parking lot told police he didn’t mean to hit the man. He said he had intended to “scare him,” court records say.
The victim, identified as 45-year-old William Miller, died of his injuries shortly after the Wednesday incident.
Joshua Lamont Jones of Vancouver appeared Thursday morning via video in Clark County Superior Court on suspicion of second-degree murder.
The prosecution asked that bail be set at $1 million, based on the “grave nature of the allegations.” However, Jones’ court-appointed attorney, Sean Downs, argued that his client is facing an incorrect charge. He said court records indicate that Jones was driving recklessly through the parking lot and accidentally hit the skateboarder. Downs added that Jones has no prior criminal history, in asking for “reasonable bail” to be set.
Judge Jennifer Snider set Jones’ bail at $100,000. He will be arraigned May 11.
Vancouver police were dispatched shortly after 1 p.m. to a shopping center parking lot at 5000 E. Fourth Plain Blvd., for a crash involving a vehicle and a pedestrian.
Dispatch notes indicated that the pedestrian had thrown an object at a passing car in the parking lot. The vehicle drove around the parking lot a second time, before making a U-turn and striking the pedestrian, according to an affidavit of probable cause.
Witnesses reported that the car was driving aggressively through the parking lot and appeared to have intentionally struck the pedestrian, the affidavit says.
Arriving officers found Miller pinned underneath a maroon 2013 Hyundai Sonata. A citizen had used a car jack to try to free him but was unsuccessful, according to court records and first responders.
Vancouver firefighters stabilized and lifted the car off of the man, who was unconscious and unresponsive. He was taken by ambulance to a local hospital, where he was pronounced dead, court documents state.
Police identified the driver as Jones. He told officers he was driving east through the parking lot from General Anderson to avoid traffic lights on Fourth Plain. As he drove past Miller, who was on a skateboard, the man punched his driver’s-side window, he said.
“Joshua admitted that he was not in fear of being hurt or assaulted by William. Joshua instead stated that he felt angry that William struck his window,” the affidavit reads.
Jones allegedly told police that he turned his car around and accelerated toward Miller, intending to “scare him.” But when Jones swerved away, Miller jumped in the same direction, he said. The Hyundai struck Miller, dragging him beneath it, according to the affidavit.