Racist remark sparks fight that led to crash, but driver claims it was an accident

A Multnomah County grand jury on Friday, Feb. 1, indicted a Gresham man on three counts of attempted murder one week after he drove his Mercedes into a group of people standing outside a restaurant, injuring four men.

Brad Everett Eason, 30, of Gresham also was indicted on one count of first-degree assault, two counts of second-degree assault, driving under the influence of intoxicants and criminal mischief. He is being held on $2 million bail at the Multnomah County Detention Center.

Early on Friday, Jan. 25, Eason and a large group of people went to a few bars before going to Shari's Restaurant in the 800 block of Southwest Highland Drive,

He got into an argument with a woman in the group after Eason allegedly made racist comments about another woman's Middle Eastern descent, according to court documents. When a man in the group identified as Najee Newman, 21, of Portland came to their defense, the two men got into a brief fight. Eason then made a threatening remark to Newman — something to the effect of "I'm going to kill you the next time I see you" — before getting into his car, a 2009 Mercedes C30, and driving it into a cluster of people standing near the restaurant's entryway at about 3:45 a.m.

Newman and two other men from the group were injured, as was a bystander.

Witnesses told police that after the crash, Eason got out of his car, jumped over the back and aggressively approached the victims as if to keep fighting. Those witnesses stopped Eason from reaching the victims and restrained him until police arrested Eason without further incident.

Newman — the man Eason briefly got into the fight with — was treated for a bruised left leg and arm at Oregon Health & Science University and released. Detectives also noted that Newman had blood pooled in the whites of his eyes at the scene.

The two other men from his group suffered even more serious injuries.

Kennyth Estoy, 23, of Troutdale received a compound fracture to his right leg. He will require surgery plus a year of rehabilitation. It's unknown whether he will ever regain full use of his injured leg.

Rob Polanco, 23, of Gresham suffered a non life-threatening head injury. Polanco was directly in front of Eason’s car when the Mercedes hit him. He hit the windshield, breaking it, before being thrown into a large window behind him. Although his body did not break the glass, it did tear the window frame from the wall. His whole body was sore, particularly his neck.

A fourth man who was not with the group also was injured after going outside for a cigarette.

Dan Daugherty, 32, of Boring had been eating breakfast and was standing outside smoking when the car hit him. He suffered a minor injury to his left leg.

Easton told police the crash was an accident. He said he intended to scare the crowd by accelerating toward them and stopping before impact.

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