Assault suspect escapes |

Assault suspect escapes

William Ferchland, Tahoe Daily Tribune

A man used a lead pipe to injure another man in a motel room, then fled before authorities arrived, South Lake Tahoe police reported.

Matthew James, 43, possibly from the Silver Springs, Nev., area, was visiting his ex-girlfriend and her friend, 43-year-old Terry Thurman, at the Tahoe Tropicana Motel Monday night. Around 6 p.m., James took out a 2-foot long lead pipe and struck Thurman in the head and ribs, said Sgt. Alex Schumacher.

The woman began to scream for help. James tried to choke the woman and threw her on the bed, Schumacher said. The woman escaped the room and ran down a flight of stairs to the lobby where the front desk clerk called the police.

Maria Landa, the front desk manager at the Tahoe Tropicana, said she had earlier problems with James. Three days prior to the lead pipe incident she asked James to leave when he was threatening to kill the woman. But James returned Monday night.

Landa said she was afraid for Thurman, who was found on the lobby floor when police arrived.

“I thought he was going to die in here,” she said. “He was bleeding from the head to the shoulder. He looked like he had a broken rib because he was complaining of it and he couldn’t talk.”

Landa said there was blood on the lobby carpet as well as the corner of the bed and the room’s doorway. She found three bottles of vodka in the room: two empty and one half-empty.

The woman, who was bleeding from the mouth, and Thurman were taken to Barton Memorial Hospital for treatment, Schumacher said.

Police searched the room but did not find James. He is suspected of driving an early-model black Nissan pickup truck with a chrome tool box in the back. A Silver Springs, Nev., license plate frame outlines the license plate.

James is described as 5 feet 9 inches tall, 150 pounds, with long dark brown hair, a thick mustache and a short beard.

If you have any information regarding this case, please call the South Lake Tahoe Police Department at (530) 542-6100.

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