A Whatcom County man has been charged with threatening to kill five men as he allegedly attacked them with a machete on the Lummi Reservation.
A man, 43, confronted Charles Dean Crawford around 9 p.m. Saturday, because he’d been speeding through the Sandy Point Heights neighborhood in a Chevy Colorado pickup, according to charging papers. Crawford, 41, lives in the neighborhood north of Lummi Bay with his parents.
At first Crawford seemed to apologize, the charges say. But things grew heated, and he got angry at the man and four other men who saw and heard the conversation. Crawford left the area. The men stayed outside talking on Decatur Drive.
“Suddenly,” the charges say, “Crawford came out of the woods from an empty lot holding a machete. He started to chase after the 5 males swinging the machete as people ran away.”
The wife of one man witnessed the incident. She told sheriff’s deputies if her husband hadn’t jumped out of the way, the machete would have struck him.
Once Crawford stopped chasing the men, he pointed at each of them, saying: “You are dead,” according to the charges.
Sheriff’s deputies arrested Crawford on suspicion of first- and second-degree assault with a deadly weapon, and five counts of felony harassment while armed with a deadly weapon. Two miles into the ride to jail, Crawford kicked out a rear window of the patrol car, according to the charges. Deputies tied him down in four-point restraints for the rest of the trip.
The patrol car was out of commission until it could be repaired. An eighth felony count – first-degree malicious mischief – was filed in formal charges Wednesday.
At a bail hearing, a public defender asked Superior Court Commissioner David Thorn to be patient with Crawford, because he’d suffered brain damage from being hit by a drunk driver. Thorn set bail this week at $20,000, as requested by the deputy prosecutor.
Crawford served 2 ½ years in prison for beating up a friend with a shotgun. The men had been arguing at a home on Kelly Road in December 2009, when they got into a fistfight. The man ushered Crawford outside, but he returned armed with a shotgun. Crawford attacked him with the gun, swinging it as if it were a baseball bat. Crawford struck the man’s head and hand, and kept beating him when he fell to the floor, according to the charges.
Early the next morning deputies found Crawford holding a bottle of wine on the porch of a family home north of Bellingham. He refused to cooperate with officers, charging papers say, so they shot him with a Taser and a beanbag round. He was arrested. Crawford had 12-gauge shotgun shells in his pocket, and the gun still had a round in the chamber. Crawford pleaded guilty in April 2010 to second-degree assault and first-degree burglary. Before that he had no felony record.
This week his public defender told the court that Crawford has been seeing a counselor in recent months. He remained in jail Wednesday.