EVANSTON — A Florida man was taken into custody on the night of Sunday, July 14, following an altercation at the Pilot Travel Center. Evanston Police Department officers were advised a male subject had attempted to hit another person with a hammer and had then left the scene. Deputy Clay Myers with the Uinta County Sheriff’s Office located the vehicle described in the call on I-80 westbound, and EPD Officers Ty Asay and Nikoli Knezovich joined Myers and the suspect, identified as Alma Lapaix of Immokalee, Florida.
The alleged victim, Edward Ward, told EPD Sgt. Chad Liechty that he was parked at the Pilot when he noticed another semi-truck coming to park in the spot next to the one his truck occupied. He then noticed another truck coming around attempting to take the same spot, so he got out and stood in the spot to prevent the second truck from “stealing” the parking spot from the first truck.
Ward said the driver of the second truck exited his vehicle holding a hammer in a threatening manner and making verbal threats. According to the police report, Ward said he wrapped the man in a “bear hug” and got the hammer away from him. At that point the truck driver allegedly returned to his truck and came back out with a small tire punch, which he also held in a threatening manner.
A witness at the Pilot, Michael Jordan, said he saw everything happen and attempted to break up the altercation. Jordan also said the truck driver made threatening comments toward him as well.
When Ward began to call 911, the driver went back to his truck and left the area. Both Ward and Jordan later identified Lapaix as that driver when shown a photograph.
When interviewed by police officers, Lapaix allegedly admitted he had been in an altercation at the Pilot. Lapaix reportedly gave officers a similar story to Ward’s about the parking spots; however, he said Ward initially yelled at him in a threatening manner, so he grabbed the hammer for his own protection. Lapaix said he kept the hammer at his side and never used it to threaten Ward.
Officer Asay located both the hammer and the tire punch in Lapaix’s truck and seized them. Lapaix was booked into the Uinta County Detention Center.