No charges for driver who hit protester with car

The Grand Jury returned a “no true bill” meaning it did not find enough evidence to charge Travis Waleri with a crime.

Posted: Aug 5, 2020 12:46 PM
Updated: Aug 5, 2020 7:02 PM

EUGENE, Ore. -- A driver who hit a demonstrator with his car during a protest march in June will not be charged with a crime, according to the Lane County District Attorney's office.

A Grand Jury deliberated and returned a "no true bill" in the case, meaning no charges will be filed.

Isiah Wagoner, 29, was hit by a car during a Black Unity children's march on June 28, at the corner of N. Adams and Clark streets. He said when he saw the car speed up toward the intersection, his main concern was protecting the children who were walking through. Wagnoer said he thought there would be at least enough evidence to indict the driver.

"I said how about next time I stand there, will that get me justice?" Wagoner said. "If I just stand there and take the hit, is that enough? Is that what I should’ve done? On that day? I have to loose my life in order for us to even be taken seriously?"

The driver, Travis Paul Waleri, 34, was detained and questioned by Eugene police following the incident.

Grand Jury proceedings began July 24, and Lane County District Attorney Patty Perlow announced the Grand Jury's decision in a news release on Wednesday. The DA said that during the Grand Jury proceedings, the state called 13 civilian witnesses, including Wagoner and five police officers. The civilian witnesses also included adults who were at the demonstration and saw what happened. Several witnesses had leadership roles within Black Unity.

In addition, the state presented medical records, photographs, time/distance analysis, airbag control module evidence from Waleri's vehicle, 911 calls made at the time of the incident, Facebook Live video and recorded statements from Waleri.

The Grand Jury was asked to consider the charges of attempted murder in the second degree, assault in the second degree, assault in the third degree, assault in the fourth degree, failure to perform the duties of a driver, reckless driving and recklessly endangering another person.

After deliberations the Grand Jury decided they did not find enough evidence to charge Waleri with a crime. The “no true bill” will be filed in court Wednesday afternoon. Wagoner was notified of the Grand Jury’s decision.

"What was going through my mind was seeing babies laying on the ground," Wagoner said after the incident on June 28. "I wanted to make sure I was doing the right thing because I have my family out there and there were so many other families out there."

Other members of the protest chased down and found Waleri after the incident. 

"It’s a beautiful thing to see that people want to stand up in the face of something so wrong," Wagoner said. "That’s what we’re striving to do and what we’re marching to do here.​"

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