Charges dropped against man who drove truck into Delaware pride parade

Charges dropped against man who drove truck into Delaware pride parade

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Delaware state prosecutors are dropping all charges against a man who drove his truck into an LGBT Pride Parade in Dover in June, injuring one of the organizers. According to an agreement signed by the state Attorney General’s Office on Dec. 10, Reuben Salters paid $1,080 in restitution to the victim, whose name is being withheld.

The money covers the man’s current medical expenses, who was 43 at the time of the incident. The Dec. 10 agreement goes on to state that “Mr. Salters further agrees to pay any outstanding balance of medical expenses and/or lost wages not covered by Mr. Salters’ auto insurance policy. The state will provide the final restitution amount to [Salters’ attorney].”

The incident at issue occurred at 8:14 a.m. on June 1 at the intersection of West Street and Forest Street in Dover, which had been blocked off for an LGBT Pride Parade and Festival. Dover police released the following narrative of the incident:

“The Dover Police Department has arrested 90-year-old Reuben Salters of Dover for 3rd Degree Vehicular Assault following an incident [on June 1]. The area of West Street and Forest Street had been blocked off by a series of barrel barricades and cones for the [LGBT Pride Parade and Festival]. Salters, operating a red Ford Ranger, approached and disregarded the barrels that had the streets closed for the upcoming parade. Salters then approached a series of cones that were blocking the street where a large crowd of parade-goers and participants had gathered. Salters exited his vehicle and moved several cones when a 43-year-old white male who was an organizer for the event stopped Salters and advised him that he could not pass through due to the event, crowd, and the cones that were closing the street. Salters entered his vehicle and proceeded to accelerate, striking the man, and causing injuries to his legs, knocking him to the ground. Salters then proceeded to drive through a large crowd of gatherers until he stopped.”

Salters was arrested at the scene but subsequently released on his own recognizance; thus, he didn’t have to pay any bail. He faced up to six months in jail if convicted, according to court records.

“Mr. Salters’ driving privileges are currently under review by the Department of Motor Vehicles,” the agreement states. “Regardless of the status of Mr. Salters’ driving privileges, he shall maintain automobile insurance at his own expense, at the current policy limits, for two years from the date of the incident which resulted in Mr. Salters’ arrest, June 1, 2019.”

If Salters or his insurer fails to pay any additional restitution incurred as the victim continues to recover — including medical bills and lost wages — charges against him can be refiled, according to the agreement.

“In the event that Mr. Salters fails to comply with these terms, the state retains the right in its sole discretion to refile these charges,” the agreement states.

In a Dec. 12 email, Carl Kanefsy, a spokesperson for the Delaware Department of Justice, said the victim approved of the agreement. “The resolution was consistent with the wishes of the victim,” Kanefsky said.

The victim’s name hasn’t been released to the public, and he couldn’t be reached for comment. In June, Dover police told the media that the incident appeared to be “road rage” on the part of Salters. Thus, he wasn’t charged with an anti-LGBT hate crime.

“There was no evidence that the victim was targeted based on a protected characteristic, which is the standard for charging a hate crime,” Kanefsky added. “Rather, as has been publicly stated by Dover Police, the incident can be characterized as ‘road rage’ based on [Salters’] frustration of streets being blocked off in his neighborhood. The victim, in this case, told prosecutors he did not wish to criminally prosecute Mr. Salters and supported this resolution with the conditions applied.”

Salters, a former member of the Dover City Council, stepped down in 2011 after 22 years on the body. Only four council members had ever served longer. In addition to his time as a council member, he is the founder of the Inner City Cultural League, according to press reports.

Salters couldn’t be reached for comment.

Steve Newman Jr., president of Delaware Pride, issued the following statement: “[T]his is not the expected outcome we were looking for. We had hoped for removal of [Salters’] license, at the very least. We are glad to put it behind us and move forward, focusing on our next Parade and Festival being held on June 5, 2020, in Dover. With any luck, we won’t have the same outcome next year.” 


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