Rampage at Turrell Travel Centre
Attack leaves store damaged, employee assaulted
By JOHN RECH
Watch out for those hurt feelings. A man zoomed up on meth and alcohol crashed through the Turrell Travel Centre, Friday night, destroying the store and assaulting the clerk. William Stapler, age 52 of Patterson, threatened his 41-year-old girlfriend Ethel Cobb, before she went to work.
Crittenden County Chief Investigator Todd Grooms provided details.
“She said he was ‘getting screwed up meth and alcohol’ all day,” said Grooms. “She had to go to work and he made the threat that he was going to drive his truck through the building and kill them all.”
Stapler did his best to act out the threat. Surveillance video revealed he drove through the glass front toward the north end coming to a stop at the opposite wall. He punched the accelerator several times eventually turning around.
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Surveillance video caught William Stapler smash into the Turrell truck stop on the right and back out of the store on the left. The Crittenden County Sheriff Office said Stapler had threatened to kill everyone in the store earlier in the day. Cameras showed Stapler wrecking the store and assaulting his girlfriend who worked there as a clerk.
William Stapler rammed through the Turrell Truck Centre with his work truck. His rampage caught on camera destroyed the inside of the store. Investigators charged home with attempted capital murder at the head of a long list of charges in the incident.
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He got out of his pickup and pummeled Cobb. A handful of customers in the store did their best to avoid the vehicle rampage inside the store.
“He kept goosing it and moving it around inside the store,” said Grooms. “Then he got out of the vehicle and assaulted her. He backed out; he backed up through more glass on the same side.”
Deputies found him in a farm field where he left his truck.
“We found him incoherent,” said Grooms. “He could not stand up or walk. We had to wheel him to the patrol car in a wheel chair.”
Why the rampage? The answer had to wait overnight until Stapler had sobered.
“The next morning he said his feelings were hurt,” said Grooms.
Sheriff Mike Allen reviewed the video from multiple angles. “I don’t know how somebody in that store did not get killed,” said Allen. “There were six people up in that store. When he first crashed into the place glass flew everywhere. Then he drove across the store. Got out hit her and then backed out through another window and drove away.”
Deputies wrote a litany of charges against Stapler in the incident including attempted capital murder, aggravated assault, first degree criminal mischief with damages in excess of $25,000, leaving the scene of an accident, with personal injury, leaving accident scene with property damage, terroristic threatening first degree, commercial burglary, and driving while license cancelled, suspended or revoked.
The store, closed temporarily for repair, served as a slap to the town of Turrell as the travel stop provided the main source of sales tax revenue to the town.
The convenience store owners had spread goodwill in the community supplying first responders in the county with masks, gloves and hand sanitizer on April 24. The ransacked store proved a bitter return. It stood boarded up Monday awaiting repair.