A Conway man was arrested late Tuesday afternoon after allegedly using a gas pump squeegee to bludgeon a man in his mid-60s after an altercation over who was first in line for gas.
According to a Conway Police Department incident report, the victim reported that he had been waiting in line at a gas pump at the Murphy USA fuel station at 2164 Harkrider St. when a man identified in the report as 21-year-old Hector Chavez of 475 East Robins St. "cut in front of him."
An officer working off-duty security at the nearby Walmart store was the first to arrive, finding Chavez pointing to the man and saying "he hit me!" and that he didn’t know why, according to this officer’s account. This officer then spoke to the man, who said that after Chavez "whipped into the space" he had been waiting on, the man "got out of his vehicle and told Chavez that he had been waiting in line ... and that Chavez should move."
The man told the officer that Chavez began to yell and curse, and at one point pushed him and continued to walk towards him, at which point the man grabbed the squeegee "and swung it towards Chavez ... not close enough to hit Chavez, but (he) had just wanted him to stay back," according to the report.
The man said that swinging the squeegee caused window washing liquid to spray onto Chavez’s shirt, according to the officer’s report, which goes on to state that "(the man) said Chavez became enraged and then came at him and took the squeegee from him and began to beat him with it."
Chavez later admitted to this officer that the man had not hit him when he swung the squeegee, but only sprayed window cleaning fluid on him.
The man sustained injuries to the back of his head and his forearm, both of which were "bleeding quite heavily for being caused by the window cleaning tool," according to the officer’s account.
During the beating the squeegee broke, according to the report. The part containing the cleaning surface was photographed and collected as evidence, according to the report, as "several pieces of hair and bits of skin were lodged in the squeegee end."
Chavez was arrested on suspicion of aggravated assault, but later charged with second-degree battery, as an injury had occurred whereas an assault charge can be filed as a result of "conduct that is very likely to produce an injury," according to deputy prosecutor Charles Finkenbinder. The charge is classified as a class-D felony, as the injured party was "very obviously over the age of 60 (over which any injury can be grounds for a felony battery charge) from his appearance."
Chavez appeared on Wednesday at Faulkner County Circuit Court and was set a $4,000 bond. He will be arraigned on the charge on Friday with the assistance of a court interpreter.