Funding helps tire-slashing victims
About $1,800 has been paid from a GoFundMe account set up to help victims of a mid-July tire-slashing episode that damaged 56 vehicles in Phoenix.
Phoenix City Councilor Sarah Westover set up the effort after the spree, which took place in the late-night and early-morning hours of July 13 and 14.
“It cost us more than $500 total. GoFundMe paid about half of it,” said Maryann Morgan. “I kind of made a joke, ‘Oh, somebody should do GoFundMe.’ It was a great surprise. I’m really grateful.”
Passenger-side tires were slashed on both her car and that of her son, who had just gotten his driver’s license. Tires were slashed on one side of vehicles, so they all looked lopsided when discovered, Morgan said.
A resident in Morgan’s complex had the tires slashed on his car, his landscape work truck and a trailer. Morgan’s boss picked her up for work that morning at the post office, where a number of vehicles had suffered damage.
Travis W. Fullmer, who slashed the tires, was sentenced in Jackson County Circuit Court Tuesday after pleading guilty to criminal mischief. He was ordered to pay restitution in an amount yet to be determined by the state, and other requirements were imposed.
Seven victims have received money from the GoFundMe, which raised $1,831, said Westover. The largest payment was $800. The fund is still open for contributions, and payments will either be made if more victims request it, or it will be used to aid those who already have received assistance that didn’t cover their entire outlay.
Phoenix police said repairs and replacement costs totaled at least $10,743 as of July 17, but 22 victims hadn’t reported costs yet. Jackson County sheriff deputies estimated another $3,500 in damage to 10 cars outside city limits. The area hit was west of Highway 99, including Church Street and Bolz roads, and included two apartment complexes. In all, 113 tires on 56 vehicles were damaged.
“It was a working-class neighborhood. People were having a hard time getting to work, to school, to the doctors. For many people insurance didn’t help. The deductible was more than the damage,” said Westover. “It was the least I could do. Dozens and dozens of community members in Phoenix have helped. They deserve to be thanked.”
Phoenix cannabis business Top Shelf Wellness Center donated $1,000 to the GoFundMe effort. Arron’s Autowerks and community activist Carolina Marshall donated $100 each.
The wife of City Councilor Terry Baker had her tires slashed. One of Baker’s neighbors had tires that cost $900 each slashed on a work truck. Another victim was a 90-year-old woman, he said.
Baker attended the Tuesday court session and spoke. He asked Fullmer to apologize to the victims and offered to accompany him if he wished.
“I was pretty much down about what you did to my wife’s car and her sense of security in her home,” Baker said he told Fullmer in court. He asked Fullmer to use this incident to turn his life around and to add to society.
Judge David Orr sentenced Fullmer. Besides restitution for the tire damage, Fullmer was ordered to undergo drug and alcohol treatment, find and maintain full-time employment, possess no firearms, serve two years of supervised probation and to serve 30 days in jail.
Fullmer also pleaded guilty to unauthorized use of a motor vehicle, a class C felony, for stealing a car from a repair shop at the time of the tire slashing. He was ordered to spend 10 days in jail and pay restitution of $211, received 18 months probation, and had his driver’s license suspended for six months. Fullmer was given credit for time served since his arrest and will not serve the jail sentences for either crime.
Both Morgan and Baker said the incident has brought neighbors closer together. In the immediate aftermath there was concern for safety, but that has since broadened to more communication and connection, said Morgan.
“We all watch out for each other. We watch out for each other like we never did before,” said Baker.
Donations can be made at gofundme.com/support-for-phoenix-tire-slashing-victims. Westover can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Reach Ashland freelance writer Tony Boom at email@example.com.