It’s painful to even look at photos of Amos Phillips after he was beaten to a bloody pulp last month at a Fort Hall truck stop.
Information about the brutal attack that left the Camdenton, Missouri, trucker hospitalized with several broken facial bones was never released to the public until he recently told his story to the media.
A $1,000 reward for information leading to the arrest and conviction of his attacker is being offered in the case.
Phillips, who for the last 25 years has worked for the Missouri-based JWE Inc. trucking company, had been on the road for six hours when he parked his tractor-trailer in the parking lot of the TP Truck Stop off of Interstate 15 in Fort Hall on Sept. 2.
After spending a few hours playing blackjack in the nearby casino, Phillips retired to the sleeper cab of his semi, locked the doors and listened to the radio for a few hours before dozing off.
Around 2:30 a.m. on Sept. 3, Labor Day, Phillips was suddenly stirred awake by what he described as a large Native American man standing over him demanding money.
“The man said he wanted money or he was going to mess me up real bad,” Phillips said. “I told him I didn’t have any and that’s when he started pounding on me.”
After pushing Phillips back onto the mattress inside the sleeper cab, Phillips said the man proceeded to throw hammer-punches to his face.
“He started pounding on me with his fists,” Phillips said. “He had a rock in each hand that he was pummeling me with.”
Phillips fought back and said that he wrapped his legs around his attacker’s head.
“I took my fingers and tried to get to his eyes, but I don’t know if I did or not. It was dark,” Phillips said. “Then I took both feet and shoved him backwards and he fell out of the truck and took off running into the darkness.”
Bloodied and confused, Phillips dialed 911 and woke up a nearby truck driver to provide the emergency dispatcher on the phone with his location.
Fort Hall tribal police and emergency medical services responded to the truck stop.
Fort Hall police are still investigating the incident, according to Randy’L Teton, spokeswoman for the Shoshone-Bannock Tribes.
Phillips was transported by ambulance to Portneuf Medical Center in Pocatello, where he received treatment for a broken nose, broken cheek bones and a blood clot on his brain. His injuries were severe enough that he remained at the hospital for three days.
A family member picked him up at PMC and drove him home to Camdenton.
Since the attack, Phillips has experienced convulsions and seizures and has trouble standing up. After he returned home he had to spend an additional four days in a hospital in Osage Beach, Missouri, because of complications stemming from the attack.
Phillips’ boss, John Williams, the owner of JWE Inc., said he is not sure when the severely injured trucker will be cleared to return to work.
“Externally I look fine, internally not so much,” Phillips said. “I’m wobbly and I don’t stand up like I used to. I do get headaches but not very often.”
Williams said that when he had another driver take a bus to Fort Hall to retrieve the truck, the driver told him that the entire sleeper cab of the semi was covered in blood. There was so much blood on the mattress in the sleeper that the driver disposed of it before driving the truck back to Camdenton.
TP Truck Stop security camera footage captured the attacker approaching the semi from the passenger rear side but the angle of the camera was unable to produce a clear enough picture to determine the attacker’s identity, Williams said.
It didn’t matter that the doors of the truck were locked because the attacker completely tore off the door handle before stepping inside, Williams added.
”He must have used some type of tool or was big enough to just rip the handle off,” Williams said.
Phillips said that the man didn’t take anything valuable from him, and in fact, the attacker left behind what could be a crucial piece of evidence that could help police learn his identity: a baseball cap.
The cap has been sent to a forensics lab for further testing, Teton said.
Williams told the Journal on Tuesday that he is skeptical about how serious Fort Hall police are taking the incident.
“Personally, I don’t think they ever fingerprinted the truck,” Williams said.
Anyone with information about this incident is encouraged to contact Fort Hall police at (208) 238-4000.
Williams said that he is offering a $1,000 cash reward to anyone who provides information that leads to the arrest and conviction of the man responsible for the attack. Since Phillips was ambushed, Williams has helped him out financially because he remains unable to return to work.
“He’s an excellent man,” Phillips said about Williams. “I’ve known him for years. He is probably one of the best guys I’ve ever worked for, if not the best.”
Phillips said his biggest concern is that the man who attacked him remains on the loose and could assault others.
In the future, Phillips said he plans to carry a firearm inside his truck for protection.
“And I’m not afraid to pull the trigger,” Phillips added.