EVANSTON — What seemed to be friendly interaction among a few individuals spending time at a local bar one December evening became a dangerous and frightening situation when one man attacked another from behind, cutting his throat with a knife. According to a police report, John Hanley of South Carolina was arrested at Lincoln Highway Tavern very early on the morning of Dec. 11 after allegedly slitting the throat of Patrick Grieff while Grieff sat at the bar.
Evanston Police Department officers responded to the tavern following a 911 call about a male patron stabbing another man. When Officer Zach Marler and Officer Eric Solie arrived on scene, they found a female bartender restraining Hanley and Grieff lying on the floor bleeding and grasping his throat with both hands.
Hanley was handcuffed and officers attended to Grieff until an ambulance transported the man to Evanston Regional Hospital. According to bartender Andrea White, Grieff and Hanley, both long-haul truckers, had both been at the tavern for several hours that evening. At times, White said, they were playing dice, and chatting with bar owner Michael Kindler. She reportedly did not observe any type of conflict between the men; however, after last call Hanley allegedly approached Grieff from behind while he sat at the bar, put his arm around his neck and cut his throat. White then reportedly ran from behind the bar and pulled Hanley away from Grieff and away from the knife that had been thrown to the ground.
White, Kindler and Grieff all reported the attack occurred suddenly and without any apparent provocation, with Grieff stating he had even bought Hanley a drink earlier in the evening. Kindler reportedly told officers some people had been teasing Hanley about his hat — described as striped, similar to a train conductor’s hat — earlier in the night and that he and Hanley had been discussing something political prior to the incident, but Grieff had not been part of that conversation.
Grieff suffered lacerations to his neck and his lip that were treated in the emergency room at ERH. Hanley was booked into the Uinta County Detention Center on a charge of aggravated assault and battery to await official charges and a court appearance.