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Washington Man Suspected Of Driving Over Interpreter Has History Of Assaults, Drinking

The Washington man accused of deliberately driving his vehicle into an Afghan man on the Oregon Coast in March has a history of assaults and road rage, according to court records.

Last month, police say Perry Nicolopoulos intentionally struck Mohammad Fawad Mohammadi with his car. Mohammadi, a former translator for the U.S. military, was flown from Lincoln City by helicopter to a Portland hospital. Days later, doctors amputated his leg.

Mohammadi was with his wife and young child at the time of the attack.

Nicolopoulos was indicted in Lincoln County Circuit Court on 16 counts, including numerous assault charges, attempted murder and driving under the influence. The Lincoln County District Attorney has also said Nicolopoulos was motivated by bias, which could increase his sentence if he's found guilty.

History Of Assaults

Washington state court records show Nicolopoulos has assaulted others in the past, while under the influence of alcohol.

He was convicted of two assault charges in 1975. Details of that case weren't readily available.

On Nov. 2, 1995, Nicolopoulos backed his truck into the front of the Lonesome Saloon in Tacoma, Washington.

"I took my girlfriend to The Lonesome Saloon in Tacoma to cash a check," Nicolopoulos wrote in court papers dated May 23, 1996. "She stayed in to drink and I became jealous and angry and backed my pickup truck into the saloon causing about $1,800 damage . I have already paid for the repair to the building."

Nicolopoulos pleaded guilty to first-degree malicious mischief in that case.

"The defendant was jealous and angry because his lady friend made him wait in the truck while she went inside and began drinking," wrote then Pierce County deputy prosecuting attorney Carl Hultman.

Nicolopoulos was ordered to pay $510 in fines and attorney fees. But a decade later, records show he still owed $263.37.

Nicolopoulos' attorney didn't return a request for comment.

On May 31, 2001, Nicolopoulos ran a red light in Tacoma, nearly hitting a car driven by Joseph Stillings, according to court records. Stillings had a green light.

Stillings pulled into the parking lot of a Budget Inn and went over to use an outdoor payphone to call 911. Nicolopoulos also pulled over and went to the payphone.

"The defendant pulled down the wire connecting the booth to the telephone pole," court records state. So, Stillings then went into the hotel office to use the phone there.

"The defendant again pulled the phone cord out of the phone as Stillings tried to call 911," court records state.

Nicolopoulos then pulled out a 3.5-inch folding knife, opened it and pointed it toward Stillings, who turned and ran. Nicolopoulos followed, knife in hand.

Stillings, a security guard, pulled a gun and ordered the man to drop the knife. The police arrived and arrested Nicolopoulos.

"The defendant told police, after being advised of his rights, that he became angry with Stillings over the traffic incident," Pierce County deputy prosecuting attorney Edmund Murphy wrote in court documents. "The defendant had been drinking."

Nicolopoulos pleaded guilty.

"I am accused of assaulting Joseph Stillings by negligently causing harm to him by means of a weapon in Pierce County of May 31, 2001," Nicolopoulos wrote in court documents. "Although I deny that I intended to cause him harm when I displayed a knife, I am pleading guilty in order to take advantage of the state's offer. After reviewing the evidence with my attorney, I believe I could be found guilty ... of a more serious offense."

Brutal Attack In Lincoln City

Last month on the Oregon Coast, Mohammadi — the Afghan translator — was driving with his wife and young son when he was in a minor traffic incident in a Walgreens parking lot at about 11:45 p.m., according to Lincoln City Police.

After the incident, Mohammadi got out of his car, police said. Nicolopoulos allegedly reversed and accelerated his Honda Fit towards Mohammadi twice, hitting and injuring him badly.

The Portland Tribune reported Mohammadi was released from Legacy Emanuel Medical Center on Thursday.

Nicolopoulos was arraigned March 8. After the crash, police said he fled the scene and was arrested about 3 miles outside of town.

Nicolopoulos is expected to appear in court later this month.

<p>Mohammad Fawad Mohammadi is wheeled out of Legacy Emanuel Medical Center on Thursday after five weeks in recovery from a brutal attack that claimed his right leg.&nbsp;&nbsp;</p>

Sam Stites

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Mohammad Fawad Mohammadi is wheeled out of Legacy Emanuel Medical Center on Thursday after five weeks in recovery from a brutal attack that claimed his right leg.  

Copyright 2018 Oregon Public Broadcasting

Conrad Wilson is a reporter and producer covering criminal justice and legal affairs for OPB.