SPRINGFIELD, Ore. — A felony hate crime charge has been filed against a Eugene man accused along with three teenagers of shouting racial slurs from a pickup truck flying a Confederate flag and chasing a biracial teenager in a downtown Springfield parking lot.
The suspect, 22-year-old Matthew Robert Dean Booster, was arrested last week after the incident on Memorial Day, the Eugene Register-Guard reported Tuesday.
The felony intimidation charge was filed Monday, the district attorney's office said.
All four suspects are white.
Police said the youth reported that he was waiting on street corner for his mother about 8:30 p.m. when the yellow pickup drove by and circled the block, the flag flying from a pole behind the cab.
When the truck returned, police said, the people inside yelled slurs and threatened the teenager, who tried to walk away. The truck pursued him into a gravel parking lot, and the four got out and began running after him.
He was able to hide in a bush until his mother arrived and took him to the police station, police said.
"I can't imagine going through something like this, especially as a 15-year-old," Springfield police Capt. Rich Harrison said Monday.He said police identified Booster's 1993 Ford pickup as the vehicle and arrested two boys, ages 16 and 17, on Thursday, and Booster and a 17-year-old girl on Saturday.
The youths were charged with a lesser count, second-degree intimidation, and released to their parents. They are to be prosecuted in juvenile court.Booster appeared in court Monday on the felony count but didn't enter a plea. He's due back in court next week. A call to his lawyer Tuesday was not returned immediately.
Mayor Christine Lundberg called it an "ugly and offensive crime."
"We will continue to make life difficult for people who commit crimes of hatred in Springfield," she said in a statement.
Information from: The Register-Guard, http://www.registerguard.com
Sources: AP and The Eugene Register-Guard