A Loon Lake man pleaded guilty Friday in Colville to a road-rage shooting in March that nearly killed a Spokane man.
Matthew T. Richmond, 27, pleaded guilty to a reduced charge of second-degree assault. Superior Court Judge Al Nielson then sentenced Richmond to 45 months in prison.
The incident began on the evening of March 23 when Josh Pickens, who was 26 at the time, was driving northbound on U.S. 395 south of Loon Lake when he noticed another northbound vehicle extremely close as they drove side by side.
The driver, later identified as Richmond, tapped his brakes, indicating he wanted Pickens to stop. Both vehicles turned on Maple Street, and Richmond approached Pickens on foot. As Pickens drove away, Richmond fired at least four bullets. One struck Pickens in the neck, Stevens County Deputy Prosecutor Matt Enzler said.
“One of those bullets struck Mr. Pickens in the neck, severing his carotid artery,” Enzler said. Pickens was able to drive to the Loon Lake Saloon, where emergency responders transported him via helicopter to Providence Sacred Heart Medical Center.
Enzler said investigators discovered that Richmond had been involved in three prior road-rage incidents.
The shooting caused Pickens to suffer strokelike symptoms, and he continues to recover.
“He’s a very strong guy,” Enzler said of Pickens. “I’m hoping he has a full recovery.”