4/19/2014

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Video shows minivan driver running over skateboarder

Video shows minivan driver running over skateboarder
SEATTLE -- Newly-obtained video from a Metro bus shows the moment a shouting match between a minivan driver and skateboarder took a terrible turn.

The video could end up being the evidence police need to finally piece together what happened last month.

According to police, the minivan driver was stopped on 15th Avenue Northeast at Northwest 80th Street on October 20 when a skateboarder blocked his path.

The driver, 60-year-old Otis Harris, said what happened that afternoon was like slow motion. He said the skateboarder was blocking his path and yelling racial slurs at him.

"So when I pulled up on him, he wouldn't move. So I hit the horn. He wouldn't move," Harris said.

Harris said he inched forward and may have tapped the skateboarder.

"He turned around and told me (expletive) yourself, you know," he said.

That's when Harris said he saw the skateboard coming.

"When he came around there, I thought he was going to hit me, that's when you'll see I took off," he said. "When I thought I was in danger, I hit the gas."

The front tire rolled right over the skateboarder, barely missing his head. He was dragged 15 feet with his jacket pinned under the van's back wheel, and he remained trapped there until witnesses rushed to his aid.

Harris doesn't believe he did anything wrong and welcomes any police scrutiny.

"No, I did the right thing. As far as I'm concerned, my conscience is clean," he said.

Janet Palmer lives at the corner of the intersection. She heard the commotion last month and ran outside to help.

"Even after they pulled him out from under the car, they were still yelling at each other," Palmer said.

Police are investigating the incident as a possible aggravated assault. The skateboarder suffered a broken pelvis.
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