Armed carjacker who held three teens at gunpoint in Mt. Pleasant collared after fleeing county
By Robert Stevens
MT. PLEASANT—An 18-year-old Mt. Pleasant man is in custody after a seemingly casual encounter between three teenagers and the man turned into a harrowing experience for the teens.
Debi Fowles of Mt. Pleasant said her son and a couple of friends were driving a car she owned, a 2004 Dodge Durango, when the suspect allegedly held them at gunpoint and stole their vehicle, only to fill it with bullet holes and dump it later.
Alex Hernandez was arrested Tuesday afternoon by Provo City police, who were monitoring a place they thought he was occupying. The Provo officers had a SWAT team on standby, but after they talked with Hernandez by phone, he gave up with no resistance.
“I am super mad that this whole thing happened,” said Fowles, who is a teacher at North Sanpete Middle School. “It makes me mad that my whole family is watching their backs. My daughter was afraid to go to school today. We just didn’t know where he was and what could happen. We didn’t feel safe.”
Fowles’ son called her about 2 p.m. on Monday, she says, frantically telling her she needed to lock the doors and get somewhere safe. He told her an acquaintance, Alex Hernandez, had held him and two friends at gunpoint and taken the Dodge Durango, telling him and his friends, “Don’t call the cops. I know where you live.”
Fowles’ son was driving the blue Durango with the friends on Monday when they noticed Hernandez and pulled over at 505 N. State St. in Mt. Pleasant to say “Hi,” since they had not seen him in more than a year. When they got out, Hernandez reportedly pulled out a gun and told the teens to “get back in the car and drive.”
Hernandez had a female minor with dyed red or purple hair with him, who is reported to be his girl friend.
According to Fowles and information released by Mt. Pleasant Police, Hernandez ordered the three victims to drive west on 500 South for about a half mile before kicking them out of the car, firing a round from his pistol into the ground at their feet, and delivering his threat not to call the authorities.
Fowles’ son and the other two victims walked back into town, found a place they felt safe, and contacted their parents.
A statement released by police said the car was found east of town toward the end of Parley’s Lane. Someone had fired live rounds from a handgun into the vehicle and taken a sledgehammer to it.
“From what the police told us, I don’t think I will see my car in one piece again, but that can be replaced, and my son cannot,” Fowles says. “This could have gone so much worse.”
She said her family stayed locked in their house for the entire day Tuesday, not knowing if the suspect would return to make good on his threat.
Police say they were able to locate others who were involved in transporting Hernandez and his girlfriend to and from the crime scene. One was a male juvenile who was released to his parents. The other was an adult male who was arrested on aggravated robbery charges. The Messenger was unable to learn the identity of the arrested man by press time.
“I love kids, and I hate to see them get into trouble and go down that road,” Fowles said. “I hate to see this happening to him. I would not wish this on anybody, or their parent to have a kid like this. We moved here to get away from stuff like this, but you can bet I will never go without locking my door again.”