Oregon City stabbing victims remain in hospital

Oregon City stabbing victims remain in hospital
The scene Tuesday night.

OREGON CITY, Ore. -- Three of the four people who were stabbed while on a TriMet bus this week aren't likely to be released from the hospital until possibly this weekend.

Leonard James, Richard Dickson Jr. and Jeremy Thompson are still in local hospitals after and Oct. 2 incident when a man riding on a TriMet bus yelled racist slurs, fought with passengers and the driver and stabbed three people and bit another, Oregon City Police said.

James is at OHSU being treated for a stab wound to his stomach; Dickson is also at OHSU and being treated for stab wounds to his chest, back and leg; Thompson is at Emanuel and being treated for multiple stab wounds to his back and and one stab wound to his arm. Andrew Crombie, who was bit in the shoulder during the incident, was treated at the scene and released.

The man police said is responsible for the injuries -- Oregon's City's Austin Vanhagen, 19 -- is in custody at the Clackamas County Jail and is initially charged with three counts of second-degree assault, three counts of unlawful use of a weapon, one count of Intimidation and one count of fourth-degree assault. A grand jury will convene Friday regarding the case.

The incident began at a bus stop for Line 33 near Molalla Avenue and Clairmont Way just before 11 p.m. Oct. 2. Police said Vanhagen was yelling racial slurs on the bus but it was unclear who they were directed at. Police said the bus driver is an African-American and there were other "bi-racial passengers" on the bus at the time.

Passenger John Olechea said Vanhagen appeared to be intoxicated when he got on the bus but was calm and appeared to be talking to his girlfriend on his cell phone.

Then, Olechea, who is Caucasian, said Vanhagen uttered a racial slur at him and punched him in the head near his right eye. "He was getting off (the bus) and he punched me for no reason," he said. He was not seriously hurt.

Once off the bus at the bus stop, police said Vanhagen got in a fight with a man who had been on the bus. Police said Vanhagen then got back onto the bus and that was when another passenger and the driver got involved.

The two men who tangled with Vanhagen were each stabbed five times, police said. A third person -- Crombie -- was bitten in the scuffle and the driver was stabbed once in the stomach.

Police eventually arrived and twice fired stun weapons at Vanhagen to subdue him.

Olechea said the attack on himself and others was unprovoked. "I think he was way wasted," he said. Olechea said Vanhagen wasn't able to walk when he got on the bus.

Olechea also said the lone person on the bus who did not get hurt was a female passenger. He also said he was friends with the driver -- who has not yet been named -- and was worried about him.

Vanhagen's aunt, Cheryl Jordan, said Wednesday Vanhagen's family tried to get him  mental help to prevent an attack like this from happening. She said the family is frustrated because they tried to warn authorities he was becoming dangerous and unpredictable.

"I think this could have been prevented," Jordan said. "I feel bad for these people and I'm also praying for them. I'm just horrified, as my sister is as well."