A Thief River Falls man has been charged after he allegedly intentionally hit a motorcyclist with his pickup truck Monday night in rural Thief River Falls. The incident occurred after Paul Gregory Piche allegedly followed the motorcyclist’s wife. The couple doesn’t know Piche.
Piche, 35, has been charged with felony second-degree attempted murder – intentional, felony first-degree assault, and gross misdemeanor harassment. Piche was arrested three hours later in Crookston, according to the complaint. He had just been released from the Pennington County Jail on an unrelated case.
In this case, Piche is accused of following a woman from Border Bank to Seven Clans Casino, Hotel, and Water Park. Two of her children were in the vehicle at the time. After realizing she was being followed, the woman contacted her husband who confronted Piche at the casino.
Piche is accused of intentionally rear-ending the man’s motorcycle with his pickup truck. After the man bailed from the motorcycle, Piche allegedly struck the man with his pickup truck, causing his body to fly into a ditch.
The complaint indicated that the 36-year-old Thief River Falls man suffered a fractured arm and severely bruised ribs. He was taken to Sanford Medical Center in Thief River Falls.
Piche allegedly told law enforcement that he had struck a deer near the casino and “fur” was still on the vehicle. His Ford Ranger had sustained front-end damage, but there was no fur or hair on it.
After seeing pictures, the couple positively identified Piche as the man involved in the assault. Surveillance video and Piche’s own tattoo also linked him to the crime. The sheriff’s office determined that Piche was the registered owner of the Ford Ranger captured on surveillance video as it was used to assault the man.
The man said the motorist had a distinctive tattoo with letters on his right arm. The complaint indicated that Piche has a large forearm tattoo containing the words “Live to Ride Ride to Live.”
The incident occurred Monday night. At about 8:23 p.m., the sheriff’s office was dispatched to the casino regarding what was believed to be an intentional car versus motorcycle accident.
Before speaking to the couple, the sheriff’s investigator observed surveillance footage from the casino. He determined that a Ford Ranger was involved in the assault. Law enforcement found that the vehicle was registered to Piche. Given the risk to public safety, the investigator conducted a GPS location ping on Piche’s cell phone. At different points, the cell phone was listed as being near St. Hilaire, Red Lake Falls and Euclid. The latter ping had a poor certainty factor.
Nearly three hours after the call to the sheriff’s office, the investigator observed Piche’s pickup truck traveling on Highway 2 in Crookston. A short time later, the investigator, a Polk County sheriff’s sergeant, a Polk County sheriff’s deputy and a Crookston police officer stopped the vehicle with their guns drawn.
Piche’s Ford Ranger had front-end damage. Without being questioned, Piche allegedly yelled something along the lines that he had struck a deer near the casino and there was “fur” still on his vehicle. Law enforcement saw no fur or hair on the vehicle. Piche’s cell phone was seized, and his pickup truck was towed from the scene.
The investigator later spoke to the couple. The woman said she and two of her children had gone to the Border Bank drive-thru ATM at about 8:07 p.m. a night earlier. Prior to entering the drive-thru, she noticed a vehicle was making the same turns that she had been making. The woman thought the motorist was also traveling to the ATM. However, the motorist drove past the ATM, so the woman decided to park in the bank parking lot to be safe. Piche allegedly parked next to her. She asked him why he had been following her, and he asked if she were a nurse. She told him she wasn’t a nurse. The woman recalled Piche was constantly fidgeting and grabbing his shoulder and arms.
The woman thought Piche was going to leave her alone, so she drove away from the bank. However, he continued following her out of the city limits, keeping up with her speed. As she traveled closer to the turn for the casino, she called her husband and informed him that she was being followed. He instructed her to drive to the casino, where there would be surveillance cameras. He said he would meet her there. The woman then drove to the casino. When she attempted to talk to the security guard, Piche parked behind her.
Her husband then arrived and confronted Piche, saying that Piche was “literally 10 feet behind her at 60 miles an hour. You don’t do that unless you’re following or trying to intimidate.” The man said he also told Piche to leave his wife alone or he would become mad and do things that he didn’t want to do. In the meantime, his wife and kids drove away.
Piche allegedly told the man that he “wasn’t trying to do anything,” according to the complaint. The man then mounted his motorcycle, but he noticed that Piche was closely following him. Piche then allegedly hit the man’s motorcycle with his pickup truck on the casino frontage road, leading the man to slam on his brakes and bail from the motorcycle. He attempted to grab his phone to take a picture. Piche allegedly accelerated, and the man tried to get out of the way. Piche swerved, hitting the man while driving over a curb. The impact of the crash caused the man to fly into a ditch. Piche then sped away.
The man said the front of the vehicle made contact with his body. Neither his wife nor kids saw the assault, but his wife had turned around and saw her husband lying on the ground afterward.