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Police: Man tries to ditch bill, hits manager with car

GASTONIA, N.C. -- A 49-year-old Lake Wylie man was in jail Tuesday after police said he left a North Carolina restaurant earlier this month without paying his bill and then hit the manager with his car.

Authorities charged Richard Thomas Priest of 215 Valley View Drive, Lake Wylie, with assault with a deadly weapon with intent to kill and defrauding an innkeeper in connection with an incident at Olive Garden in Gastonia, according to arrest warrants.

Around 2:30 p.m. Aug. 2, after a waitress walked off to fill a dessert order for Priest and a female, Priest left the restaurant and got into a 1999 Ford Taurus, according to arrest warrants.

About 30 seconds later, the female left the business, the report notes. The two consumed $122.60 worth of food and drinks, documents show.

When the 31-year-old manager approached Priest in the parking lot, he drove into the manager with his car.

The manager then went up onto the hood of the car, where he hung on to the windshield wipers, the reports states. He was able to hold on for several hundred feet before falling, according to the report. He suffered several scrapes and bruises during the ordeal, according to arrest warrants.

York County sheriff's deputies arrested Priest on Thursday, according to the State Law Enforcement Division, and turned him over to Gastonia authorities. The arrest marks the second time in recent years that Priest has faced a defrauding charge.

In October 2007, Priest was charged with defrauding an innkeeper on Pineville-Matthews Road in North Carolina, said Julia Rush of the Mecklenburg County Sheriff's Office. Priest posted a $500 bond and was released, Rush said.

No other details were available in that case, she said.

In the most recent incident, bond for Priest was set Tuesday at $10,000. He remained in custody at Gaston County Detention Center.

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