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A West Valley City police vehicle is pictured on
Monday, Feb. 24, 2020.

Steve Griffin, Deseret News, File

Cutting in line at In-N-Out drive-thru leads to assault with hatchet, charges say

By Kyle Dunphey, Deseret News | Posted - Jan. 27, 2021 at 8:58 a.m.

WEST VALLEY CITY — A simple outing for a cheeseburger turned violent last week after police say a West Valley man, apparently angry that patrons at an In-N-Out Burger drive-thru honked at his girlfriend, threatened two men with a hatchet, injuring himself in the process.

Damien Lee Hallett, 38, was charged Tuesday in 3rd District Court with two counts of aggravated assault, a third-degree felony, and criminal mischief, a class B misdemeanor.

On Jan. 17, two men were sitting at an In-N-Out Burger drive-thru, 3715 S. Constitution Blvd. in West Valley City, when a woman driving a BMW cut the line in front of their vehicle, according to charging documents. Despite the driver honking and flashing his lights, they said the woman ignored them.

A short time later, a truck pulled up next to the men. Hallett got out of the truck and while "aggressively holding a hatchet," began yelling at the driver and banging on the window, the charges state.

Hallett then allegedly broke the passenger window of the car with his hatchet, causing his hand to bleed. Before leaving the area, he pointed the hatchet at the driver and said, "It'll be your blood next," according to the charging documents.

The passenger filmed the incident on his cellphone and contacted police shortly after. With help from a witness who provided officers with the license plate, police said they were able to locate the truck at a nearby Costco parking lot. No one was inside the truck, but an officer "observed a bloody hatchet on the passenger seat," the charges state, in addition to "blood outside the driver's side door."

Hallett stated that on the night in question, his girlfriend called him to report people in the drive-thru were yelling at her.

–Charging documents

Hallett was wearing gloves when police met with him a few days later, the court documents state. "Hallett stated that on the night in question, his girlfriend called him to report people in the drive-thru were yelling at her," according to the charges.

Hallett told police he gave his keys to a man named Bob so that Bob could escort his girlfriend home. "Hallett could not provide Bob's last name or contact information," the officer wrote in the charging documents.

Kyle Dunphey


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