By Maxwell C. Myrhum
WOODLAND – A Woodland man was allegedly struck in the face by another man after entering a gas station parking lot and attempting to park in a parking space.
In a preliminary hearing on Tuesday, David Lyles was accused of felony battery causing serious bodily injury after allegedly punching the other man in the face in the parking lot of a Quick Stop gas station in Woodland. The incident appeared to be unprovoked, but resulted in the complaining witness bleeding in excess and losing three teeth.
The complaining witness, “AZ,” was called to the stand by the prosecution.
AZ testified that, on the afternoon of Sept. 29, 2019, he was making a stop at the gas station to get a soda on his way home from work. As he pulled into the parking lot of the gas station, he noticed a car backing out of a parking spot and then turning completely around, blocking his entrance. The complaining witness drew a display of the parking lot to clarify the cardinal directions and general layout of the parking lot for the court.
Upon further observation, an occupant of the blocking car appeared to be upset or angry, allegedly spouting vulgar language at AZ as he attempted to pass the car and park. Through this interaction, AZ and the animated individual in the car made eye contact, which AZ said prompted the individual to attempt an exit of his vehicle. The individual was held back by the other occupant of the vehicle; it is unclear whether this other occupant was a male or female, driver or passenger.
After the other vehicle failed to pull out of the parking lot, AZ decided to pull past the other car and was then heckled by the animated individual of the other car. AZ, with admitted vulgarity, delivered a response along the lines of “what is wrong with you?”
As a response to this question, the individual in the car exited and approached AZ’s truck.
The two engaged in a very short interaction that prompted the individual to throw a fake punch into the truck of AZ that missed, before punching AZ in the face. AZ was punched around his mouth and, as a result, began to bleed excessively due to his aspirin use for diabetes.
Still bleeding from his mouth area, the complaining witness stated to the individual, “Oh, now you’re in trouble” before getting into his truck and calling the police. AZ then got out of his truck and took pictures of the animated individual’s license plates once the individual had gone back into his car.
The extent of injuries suffered by AZ was not limited to the excessive bleeding from his lip and chin, but also included the loosening, and subsequent loss, of three teeth. AZ obtained a retainer to fill the gaps of absent teeth and described to the court how this affects his everyday eating activity.
The next witness called was Officer Nolan McManus of the Woodland Police Department.
Officer McManus described how he was dispatched to the gas station that day, and came into contact with AZ. The officer was able to communicate with AZ, but did note that he was “visibly shaken” after being punched in the face and still bleeding 45 minutes after the incident occurred.
McManus then displayed the defendant’s picture to the complaining witness and received a positive identification of Lyles as the alleged perpetrator of the crime.
However, the officer’s testimony did expose some discrepancies between the witness’ testimony and the police report recorded that day. The main conflict exposed was mainly related to the defendant’s position in the car, that of any passenger in the car, and the positioning of AZ’s car in the conflict.
Judge David Reed has found that this case has shown sufficient evidence to hold the defendant, David Lyles, answerable for the charge of felony battery resulting in serious bodily injury.
An arraignment has been set for Wednesday, March 4, 2020, at 10 a.m. in Department 14.
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