EVERETT — Before the attack, the Lyft passenger was profane, handsy and apparently drunk when he was catching a ride one night in September 2017.
A 43-year-old man, from the North Creek area, was charged Friday with second-degree assault in that encounter.
On Sept. 16, 2017, the Toyota Prius was headed southbound on I-5 when the man suddenly wrapped a hand around the driver’s neck and began punching him in the head, prosecutors allege.
The driver hit the brakes, stopping near the 41st Street exit in Everett. The passenger allegedly kept attacking, choking the victim to the point that he couldn’t breathe.
The assault was interrupted when a Chrysler Pacifica rear-ended the Prius.
The suspect got out, reportedly punched a man from the minivan in the face, and took off running.
The attacker had apparently left his phone in the Prius. On the display screen was a photo of a man and woman. The Lyft driver told a Washington State Patrol trooper that the man was the suspect, according to charging papers.
The suspect was found lying on the ground about a hundred feet south. His breath smelled of alcohol. He was taken to a hospital.
There, he told a trooper that he had taken the Lyft after spending time with his girlfriend’s family. Initially, he denied attacking the driver, only saying that they had been arguing.
Then he said he couldn’t remember the car ride or the crash, but said the collision was his fault.
When the deputy explained that the driver had been hospitalized, the suspect reportedly cried, and asked how the victim was doing.
The man does not have any prior felony history. In 2016, he was cited for driving under the influence in King County.