California man drives stolen car into semi, stabs trucker multiple times

By Greg Grisolano, Land Line staff writer | Tuesday, August 26, 2014

A California man is in custody in Oregon on a host of charges, including attempted murder and first-degree assault.

Oregon State Police say 28-year-old Dustin Leroy Rotter, of Modesto, Calif., has been charged with attempted murder in a bizarre incident that resulted in a tractor-trailer being run off the interstate and the truck driver being stabbed multiple times.

The stabbing incident occurred at 12:09 p.m. Monday on Interstate 84 in Malheur County, approximately 15 miles west of Ontario, when a trucker hauling two tankers of milk was run off the road by a Buick LaCrosse.

Oregon State Police spokesman Lt. Gregg Hastings said the attack, which involved the Buick being rammed into the tractor-trailer’s diesel fuel tanks, appears to be unprovoked.

Once both vehicles were pulled off to the side of the road, Hastings said the truck driver, 63-year-old Charles VanZante, of Jerome, Idaho, was unable to lock the doors to his cab before the suspect entered and began stabbing him multiple times.

Hastings said the suspect initially fled up a hill but returned moments later and engaged in another “very brief” scuffle with VanZante, which was broken up by passersby who stopped to help. Rotter was arrested at the scene.

“They definitely were influential in keeping (Rotter) there,” Hastings said in a phone interview with “Land Line Now.” “We’re grateful that the driver survived. He did suffer multiple stab wounds. It’s very fortunate this didn’t end up as a fatality.”

Hastings said the Buick was reported stolen in a reported carjacking in Pasco, Wash., on Aug. 24.

VanZante was transported by air ambulance to a nearby hospital, where the stab wounds to his chest and stomach were determined to be non-life threatening. 

In addition to the attempted murder charge, Rotter faces one count each of first-degree assault, reckless driving, recklessly endangering another person, and second-degree criminal mischief. Additional charges may be pending.
 
“Land Line Now” news anchor Reed Black contributed to this report.

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