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'He could've killed us': Woman says man who allegedly yelled homophobic slurs and tried to hit her with his car has effects on the LGBTQ community

Vegas Shegrud said that Matthew Lehigh almost killed her after he rammed his car into hers. He was ordered to be committed to a facility on Wednesday.

BOISE, Idaho — Vegas Shegrud said she could have been killed on October 12 -- she claims Matthew Lehigh, charged with assault, injury to property and arson -- tried to run her over with his car on Oct. 12 after screaming homophobic slurs at her from across the parking lot at Kathryn Albertson Park.

Lehigh appeared in court on Wednesday, where Lehigh's lawyer said he got a report back from a doctor which said he may not be competent to stand trial in this case. Court records show Lehigh was ordered to be committed to a facility.

His case is currently listed as inactive, but pending.

"He could've killed us," Shegrud said. "It could get so much worse. I'm grateful it didn't."

Shegrud and her friend were having a photoshoot in the park that day with their hair school class at Paul Mitchell -- a Halloween themed shoot, with all the costumes and makeup. 

Nothing was off.

After an hour, the girls started to filter out of the park, Shegrud said, and she and her friends were the last two behind.

Shegrud began walking to her car parked up against a curb. She went to manually unlock the door, she said.

That's when Shegrud heard the yelling.

"He said, 'I'm gonna run you over, you F-ing F-'...slur," Shegrud said. "He gripped the steering wheel... When I turned around, he backed out of his parking spot. And at some point, I decided he was really going to run me over."

Shegrud said the man, who police identified as Lehigh, sped up to what seemed like 30 miles per hour, hit the side of her car, backed up -- hit it again, then sped away.

Shegrud was standing right beside her car, where she said Lehigh hit -- nearly missing her, she said. Her friend was on the other side of the car, where it almost tipped over onto her from the impact.

"I was trying to communicate to (friend) but my mouth just wasn't working," Shegrud said.

Shegrud said a witness called the police, and she immediately wrote down the car's license plate number -- something she was surprised to have done, since she was so shaken up, she said.

Shegrud waited -- but no one showed up -- so she and her friend called over a park ranger to wait with them, she said.

"We genuinely thought he was going to come back and try to kill us," Shegrud said. "He was very much using his car as a weapon and a car is the deadliest weapon available."

When the police arrived, Shegrud said it was almost two hours later. She said they told her they had been looking for Lehigh already, and they knew that he drove a car with an Oregon plate.

Lehigh was formerly charged in Oregon with assault for trespassing on an off-duty officer's lawn and then attacking the couple that lived there, Lane County police reports said.

After the incident with Shegrud, Boise Police came out with a statement that Lehigh was involved in something similar on Oct. 8 --  Lehigh hit a victim on the arm and used the same homophobic slur, BPD said, and then attempted to run over a security guard.

Police believe he is associated with other crimes against the community -- like burning LGBTQ+ flags in the North End of Boise.

Lehigh's YouTube channel, confirmed by BPD, also shows him using threatening language towards the LGBTQ+ community and threatening to kill transgender people.

Shegrud says she is pansexual and apart of the LGBTQ+ community, but there's no way Lehigh could have known that at the time. It has a lasting effect for people who belong to that community, she said, because sometimes people don't understand.

"Here, it's hard. Because sometimes, a lot of people aren't very accepting. Don't hide it, but don't showcase it," Shegrud said. "Honestly, I just hope that one day, even even if something like this has to happen to me, it makes everyone more accepting in the long run so that my children or my grandchildren don't have to deal with it. Because like I said, it's completely random. And it would be nice if it just didn't happen at all."

Shegrud said that she thought that October day was going to be great, and it turned into something that traumatized her. She flinches in the car now.

"You never know. Don't hide who you are. Be careful," Shegrud said. "People aren't very accepting, and we're getting there. But we're not there yet."

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