Bipolar Trucker Pleads Guilty to Hate Crime After Knife Attack at Truck Stop
Eugene, OR – A trucker who savagely attacked a man in a truck stop nearly two years ago has now been sentenced to prison.
On Thursday, 27-year-old Nolan Levi Strauss pleaded guilty to to a federal hate crime involving an attempt to kill and was subsequently sentenced to serve 16 years in prison for the offense.
Transportation Nation Network (TNN) first reported the heinous incident which occurred at an Oregon truck stop in 2019.
According to authorities, the crime took place on the morning of Saturday, December 21, 2019, at approximately 9:40 a.m. inside an Arby’s restaurant within a Pilot Travel Center located at 653 E. Idaho Ave. along Interstate 84 near the Idaho border.
Seated in the lobby of the Arby’s restaurant was a 48-year-old African-America man identified as Ronnell Hughes.
Hughes was there that day to provide final documentation for a pending job application at the Arby’s.
Prosecutors said that unprovoked and without warning, Strauss approached Hughes from behind and stabbed him in the neck multiple times.
Following a struggle for the knife, Hughes was able to free himself and Strauss was subdued and detained by store employees.
The Ontario Police Department (OPD) was immediately called to the scene where investigators said they discovered Hughes “bleeding everywhere.”
Following an initial investigation, OPD said “the motive for the attack leans heavily towards a racially-motivated crime.”
According to court documents, when asked by a store employee why he attacked the man, Strauss stated he did so because the man “was black, and I don’t like black people.”
The stabbing resulted in two lacerations to the victim’s neck.
Hughes was life-flighted to Boise, ID for emergency surgery and thankfully survived.
Strauss was subsequently charged in Malheur County court with attempted second-degree murder, first-degree assault, first-degree bias crime and unlawful use of a weapon.
“I’m extremely sorry for what I did,” he said in court this week. “I wouldn’t do that in my right state of mind. I’m happy that he survived.”
Strauss was driving for Salem, OR-based May Trucking Company at the time of the incident and has a history of mental illness.
Court documents in that case show Strauss was diagnosed with bipolar disorder in 2016 and admitted he hadn’t been taking his prescribed medication in the days leading up to the attack.