A.J. vice mayor could face felony assault charges - Ahwatukee Foothills News: Valley And State

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A.J. vice mayor could face felony assault charges

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Posted: Tuesday, October 6, 2009 11:00 pm

Investigators from the Pinal County Sheriff’s Office are recommending felony charges of aggravated assault with a deadly weapon be filed against Apache Junction Vice Mayor R.E. Eck, who was involved in a road rage incident last week.

The incident left Eck and his son, Robert Eck III, both beaten up by the man whose motorcycle Eck struck as it was stopped at the intersection of Old West Highway and Idaho Road in Apache Junction about 12:05 p.m. Friday, authorities said.

Eck, who was driving a pickup truck, had apparently cut off Eric Martinez’s motorcycle as he was traveling on the Old West Highway, which led to a verbal exchange, according to Lt. Tamatha Villar, spokeswoman for the Pinal County Sheriff’s Office.

As the two vehicles were stopped at the red light, Eck is accused of hitting the back of the motorcycle before Eck’s son, Robert Eck III, exited the truck with a pipe and approached Martinez.

Martinez then disarmed Eck III and punched him in the face twice with a closed fist before hitting Eck, who was sitting inside his truck, according to authorities.

Eck then threatened to run over Martinez’s wife, who was sitting on the motorcycle. Eck then struck the motorcycle a second time. The impact knocked Martinez’s wife off the motorcycle and onto the road, causing her to land underneath Eck’s truck, Villar said.

Authorities are recommending that Martinez be charged with two counts of misdemeanor assault. He will appear in the Apache Junction Justice Court at a later date, according to the Pinal County Sheriff’s Office.

However, no charges are being pursued against Eck’s son, Villar said.

Eck and the woman were taken to Scottsdale Healthcare Osborn hospital, and they were released later the same evening.

The woman had “relatively minor injuries,” according to the sheriff’s office.

Eck has not returned phone calls to the Tribune seeking comment.

Villar said blood samples were taken from each driver, but she would not comment on whether either showed signs of impairment.

The blood was sent to the Department of Public Safety lab in Phoenix.

Villar said independent witnesses gave various accounts of what occurred, and investigators are still trying to sort through the interviews.

Investigators will determine if additional charges need to be filed once the results of the blood tests are received, Villar said.

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