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PICACHO — A Bisbee man is facing aggravated assault charges after he allegedly tried to use his vehicle to stop his ex-girlfriend’s car on Interstate 10 to get a gun back.

According to Pinal County Superior Court records, Nick A Mendez, 41, is charged with two counts of aggravated assault with a weapon.

At 8:06 a.m. on Aug. 17, an Arizona Department of Public Safety trooper was helping a motorist on I-10 near milepost 218 when he received an attempt to locate for a white SUV that was being driven by a man who was allegedly following his ex-girlfriend, possibly with a gun. The man was reported to have prevented his ex-girlfriend’s vehicle from exiting the freeway twice.

The trooper, who was driving an unmarked DPS vehicle, spotted the white SUV and a black Dodge sedan a mile away on the Picacho Peak exit ramp off of I-10. The driver of the black Dodge was trying to reverse up the exit ramp and the driver of the white SUV was following the Dodge.

As the trooper pulled onto the exit ramp behind the white SUV, the driver of the SUV blocked the black Dodge from leaving the ramp. The driver of the SUV, who was later identified as Mendez, allegedly got out of his vehicle and “aggressively” approached the black Dodge, gesturing with his hands. Mendez then allegedly reached toward his waistband after reaching the Dodge.

The trooper turned on his overhead lights and pointed his rifle at Mendez while ordering him to raise his hands. Mendez turned toward the trooper with his hand near his waistband before raising his hands. Mendez was handcuffed and searched and no gun was found on his body. The trooper reported he found a loaded handgun in the glovebox of Mendez’s vehicle.

Mendez told the trooper that he was trying to get his ex-girlfriend to stop because he wanted to get back a handgun that he had left at the home they once lived in.

He said he was trying to stop her from reversing up the exit ramp toward traffic because she allegedly had told him that she was going to kill herself.

The ex-girlfriend told the trooper that she and Mendez had recently broken up and she was afraid of him because she knew he owned several guns. She told the trooper that before the trooper had arrived, Mendez had prevented her from leaving the freeway at Picacho Peak Road by blocking her in with his vehicle. She said he approached her vehicle at that time and had reached for his waistband as if going for a gun.

She then attempted to reverse up the exit ramp to escape him when he blocked her again and the trooper arrived. She also told the trooper that Mendez had allegedly threatened to release an explicit video of her online.

Mendez was taken into custody and booked into the Pinal County jail.

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Suzanne Adams-Ockrassa is a reporter covering the city of Casa Grande and the surrounding area, as well as Central Arizona College. She can be reached at sadams@pinalcentral.com.