Gas Station Brawl

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A gas station brawl ended with a trail of blood leading officers through a local gas station to a woman beaten with brass knuckles. In all, half a dozen Payson residents ended up in jail after the fight at the Giant gas station on Highway 260 May 30.

Initially, police got a call that someone had been stabbed in the gas station’s parking lot.

Police found Ashley Arellano, 20, of Payson, badly injured after being beaten in the head, said Police Chief Don Engler.

Two juvenile males had stayed on scene, but three others had fled.

Paramedics rushed Arellano to the hospital and later arrested her on charges of aggravated DUI and use of a dangerous drug.

Detectives believe the fight centered on illegal drugs due to the number of drugs and paraphernalia found later in one or more vehicles, but Engler said they could likely not prove if the fight started because of drugs.

Around 8 p.m., Arellano met Tiffany Villanueva, 31, of Payson near the car wash stalls. Both women had other people in their vehicles, Engler said.

It is unclear why, but the two women began fighting and Jay Landry, 29, of Payson joined in.

Villanueva allegedly had a set of brass knuckles and hit Arellano with them, Engler said. The fight moved across the parking lot to near the convenience store.

Landry and Kendal Smith, 18, of Payson fled the scene on foot and Villanueva left in her vehicle. Two male juveniles remained on scene with Arellano.

Officers eventually found Villanueva at home and Landry and Smith walking near South Oak Street.

The investigation, conducted by Det. Mike McAnerny, resulted in the following arrests: Villanueva, aggravated assault, possession of drug paraphernalia and possession of a dangerous drug; Landry, assault; Smith, possession of marijuana, possession of drug paraphernalia, tampering with evidence and false information to law enforcement; male juvenile, 17, minor consumption of alcohol and male juvenile, 14, false information to law enforcement.

“We have suspicions that the fight involved illegal drugs, but we don’t know if we can prove that,” Engler said.

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