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FARMINGTON – A 24-year-old Farmington man was accused last week of attempting to strangle a man who offered him a ride on U.S. Highway 550.

Jerrod Lee was charged Friday in Farmington Magistrate Court with aggravated battery and petty misdemeanor shoplifting. He is being held on a $10,000 bond and has not yet retained legal representation, according to court records.

A New Mexico State Police officer was dispatched at 6:31 p.m. on Nov. 18 after receiving reports that a man in a tank top was chasing another man with a crowbar outside the Giant gas station at 17401 U.S. Highway 550, according to the arrest warrant affidavit.

The officer learned at the scene the man in the tank top, Andres Palmer, was actually armed with a windshield wiper, the affidavit states. The other man, Lee, was handcuffed by an FBI agent who happened to be at the scene.

The officer notes in the affidavit Lee was highly intoxicated and was unable to coherently answer questions about what occurred at the gas station.

Palmer, 20, told the officer he was driving south on U.S. Highway 550 when he saw Lee get hit by a passing vehicle. He said Lee was staggering in and out of traffic along the highway when he was struck.

Palmer said he pulled up to Lee to make sure he was OK and to offer him a ride, the affidavit states. Lee got into Palmer's vehicle, and Palmer said the trip was fine at first, but then Lee started motioning like he was going to hit him, according to the affidavit.

Palmer told Lee he was going to drop him off at the next gas station, and Lee allegedly climbed into the backseat of the vehicle, the affidavit states. Lee then pulled out a seat belt and allegedly tried to strangle Palmer with it, the affidavit states.

Palmer told the officer he managed to defend himself, but Lee struck him in the jaw and scratched his head before he was able to pull over at the Giant gas station, according to the affidavit.

Palmer said he was eventually able to force Lee out of his vehicle, and he chased Lee into the gas station, the affidavit states. The gas station attendant then broke up a fight between the two men, the affidavit states.

Lee then allegedly cracked a beer, and offered a beer to the gas station attendant and Palmer, according to the affidavit.

Lee is expected to appear at a preliminary examination hearing on Dec. 2.

Steve Garrison covers crime and courts for The Daily Times. He can be reached at 505-564-4644. 

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