Chesterfield County police said a Chester man has been charged with a racially motivated attack on a woman in which the defendant pulled the victim from her car after purposely striking the vehicle.
According to police, the incident unfolded Thursday in the 500 block of East Hundred Road when Matthew R. Ellis, 27, pulled alongside the woman’s car as she was waiting to turn from Rivers Bend Boulevard onto westbound East Hundred Road.
Ellis, who is white, then began to shout at the woman, who is black, prompting the woman to change course and turn onto eastbound East Hundred Road in an effort to avoid him, police said.
The suspect followed the woman and eventually struck the rear of her car with his vehicle, police said. He then got out and opened the driver’s side door of the woman’s car and pulled her out, police said.
With the help of two men nearby who tried to restrain Ellis, the woman was able to break free and run to a nearby building, where employees locked the door. The suspect then tried to force his way inside, but the men who helped the woman, along with a third man, restrained the suspect until officers arrived, police said.
Ellis spit on two Chesterfield police officers while being arrested, police said.
“The investigation indicates that Ellis assaulted the victim because she is black,” Chesterfield police spokeswoman Liz Caroon wrote in an email.
Because the case is pending trial, Caroon declined to provide what the suspect may have said or done that led police to believe the attack was racially motivated. Caroon indicated that Ellis and the woman were not acquainted. But court and online directory records indicate that Ellis and the woman live in the same Rivers Bend apartment community.
Ellis, of the 12000 block of Stonebridge Lane, was charged with five felonies and two driving offenses. They include a hate-crime assault of the woman, abduction, attempted breaking and entering, two counts of assaulting a law enforcement officer, reckless driving and disregarding a traffic signal.
He was convicted of drunken driving in Chesterfield last year and sentenced to serve five days in jail and pay a $250 fine. His driver’s license was only recently reinstated after being suspended for a year; the suspension ended March 10.
Ellis is being held without bail at Riverside Regional Jail pending a June 5 appearance in Chesterfield General District Court.