A truck driver has been sentenced to 16 years in federal prison for attacking a man at a truck stop in Oregon almost two years ago.
The attack happened on December 21st, 2019 at the Arby’s next to the Pilot Travel Center along Interstate 84 near the Idaho border in Ontario, Oregon.
According to NBC News, 27-year-old trucker Nolan Levi Strauss was off his meds when he walked into the Arby’s and stabbed Ronnell Hughes in the neck. Hughes then fought for control of the knife and was eventually able to free himself from Strauss, who was then restrained by truck stop workers.
As Strauss was being restrained, a worker questioned why he had attacked Hughes, to which he responded “because he was Black and I don’t like Black people.”
Hughes was transported to a nearby hospital and was then flown to Boise for emergency surgery. The knife wound to the neck cut his jugular vein and injured his thyroid cartilage, which required months of physical therapy in order to regain his voice and motion in his neck and arm.
“I don’t have any enemies and for someone to just sneak up on me and try to take my life from me … I’m angry, somebody I don’t even know,” Hughes said in court.
After his arrest, Strauss was recorded during a police interview during which he reconfirmed his dislike for black people and repeated that his reason for attacking Hughes was because he was black.
During his court appearance, Strauss acknowledged the race-based nature of his attack. “I’m extremely sorry for what I did,” he said. “I wouldn’t do that in my right state of mind. I’m happy that he survived.” Strauss also stated that he has since learned that he must “take his meds at all times.”
Strauss pleaded guilty to a federal hate crime involving an attempt to kill on Thursday, September 9th.