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Updyke Alleges Assault After Court Appearance

This one occurred yesterday afternoon, but we left it for the AM just to see if anything developed over night.  Here’s the gist:

Alleged Toomer’s Corner tree-poisoner Harvey Updyke appeared in court yesterday.  After waiving his right to a preliminary hearing, the Bama fan left the courtroom and stopped into a gas station called the Tiger Express in Opelika, just down the road from Auburn.

Updyke claims he was “assaulted by one or more people.”  His attorney told radio host Paul Finebaum: “Before he could get out of the car, it went black.  He woke up on the ground next to the gas pump at the gas station.  The clerk had called the Opelika police and the Opelika police responded.”

Okay, so someone spotted Updyke pulling in, recognized him immediately and clocked him before he could even get out of his car.  Fishy, but let’s play along.

Updyke told police that he hadn’t seen his assailants.  A police captain on the scene said Updyke “Has not really been too cooperative.”

The girl working the register said that she saw nothing out of the ordinary.  She has a clear view of the pumps, but noticed nothing odd.  “It’s been a regular day except for all the reporters.  He never came in here and said anything to me about it.  He never came in the store.  The only way I know about it is news folks (who showed up to ask questions).”

Ah, but here’s what Updyke’s attorney told Finebaum: “He woke up on the ground.  He had been hit in the head with something.  He wandered into the gas station in pain, and they directed him to a local emergency room.”

Not according to the girl working at the store with a full view of the parking lot, he didn’t.

Updyke did go to a nearby hospital and was treated for a four-inch cut over his right eye and a one-inch scratch between the eyes.  Police said, “the extent of his injuries does not equate to an assault charge.”

Jay G. Tate of The Montgomery Advertiser has an excellent wrap of the story — with photos of the gas station — right here.  He also points out that Updyke might benefit from a change of venue in his criminal case.

Updyke might also become a more sympathetic figure if he were attacked.  As his lawyer suggested on Finebaum’s show, it’s one thing to allegedly attack a tree, but to attack a human being is so much worse.

Perhaps Updyke really did get clocked without anyone spying it.  But there are an awful lot of holes in the story.  And surely I’m not the only person who thinks he might have crushed a beer can into his forehead and placed a phony call to police.

Either way, this episode just brings more spotlight — and more shame — on the Iron Bowl rivalry.  A rivalry that is now better known nationally for allegations of cheating, an attack on trees (!), and fringe-element fans who seem to think football is a pretty reason to truly hate their fellow man.


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