PORT ANGELES — A man who was shot in Joyce in October and his wife have been charged with misdemeanors for chasing after a man they believed was poaching on their property, ramming his vehicle off the road and assaulting him.
Garry Wayne Edwards, 47, is charged with disorderly conduct, reckless driving, two counts of reckless endangerment and fourth-degree assault. Melissa Anne Edwards, 44, is charged with fourth-degree assault.
Chief Criminal Deputy Prosecuting Attorney Michele Devlin announced the charges Thursday and said the Edwards will appear in Clallam County District Court at 9 a.m. Friday, May 24.
The Clallam County Sheriff’s Office recommended the charges last month after a several-months-long investigation into the shooting, which officials have described as self defense.
A report by Sheriff’s Detective Josh Ley said the incident started at about 4:45 p.m. Oct. 8 when Steve Thompson, then 62, and passenger Corey Bennett drove westbound past the Edwards’ home.
They were scouting for signs of elk and hunted the 35-acre Merrill and Ring parcel bordered by Whiskey Creek Beach Road and Schmitt Road, court records say.
It was muzzleloader elk season at the time and a black powder rifle and hunting equipment were found in Thompson’s vehicle.
The Edwards believed Thompson and Bennett trespassed on their property and that they were poachers, though officials have said GPS data shows the vehicle did not stop near their property.
The Edwards then got into a vehicle, with Garry Edwards driving, and pursued Thompson’s vehicle. Court papers say the pursuit made its way to Whiskey Creek Beach Road at speeds predominantly in the upper 20s, according to GPS data.
When they reached the 200 block of Whiskey Creek Beach Road, Garry Edwards drove into the oncoming lane in a no-passing zone at 35 mph to overtake Thompson, Ley’s report said.
Garry Edwards’ right rear tire and wheel well then hit Thompson’s front tire sidewall and forced Thompson off the west side of the road, into a mailbox and then into the brush.
After the wreck, Garry Edwards got out of his vehicle and opened Thompson’s door, the report said.
“Garry began punching Thompson in the face repeatedly while Thompson was seated in the driver’s seat,” the report said. “Thompson was in fear of sustaining serious bodily harm, so to defend himself, he drew a 9mm pistol from his right hip with his right hand and discharged a single shot into Garry. The round struck Garry in the upper left arm and entered his chest.”
Court papers say Garry Edwards is 6-feet tall and weighs 200 pounds, while Thompson is 5-feet-10-inches tall and weighs about 175 pounds.
When Garry Edwards went to the ground, Melissa Edwards punched Thompson, court papers say.
Garry Edwards was airlifted to Harborview Medical Center and was discharged Oct 13.
Reporter Jesse Major can be reached at 360-452-2345, ext. 56250, or at [email protected].