A truck driver trainee accused of fatally stabbing his driver trainer is being held on $1 million bond on charges of first-degree murder.
The suspect, Stanley Polk, 46, of Las Vegas, Nev., was arraigned in Bell County, Texas. Polk is accused of fatally stabbing his driver trainer, Ronald Ruiz, 62, of South Bend, Ind., multiple times at a rest stop off Interstate 35 at 281 south of Salado.
Bell County Sheriff’s Department spokesman Lt. T.J. Cruz told Land Line that Ruiz was working as a driver instructor for Werner Enterprises. An argument between the instructor and driver trainee turned into a fight, and Ruiz was stabbed by trainee Polk.
Ruiz was airlifted to a hospital, but died overnight of multiple stab wounds.
Polk fled the scene but was later apprehended walking on a frontage road near the Holiday Inn in Salado just before 5 a.m. on Friday. Cruz said Polk cooperated with authorities upon his arrest.
Cruz said that a pocket knife was recovered from Polk upon his arrest; it was sent to a crime lab for testing.
A family representative of Ruiz said in a statement to Land Line that Ruiz had on at least two occasions reported problems with Polk to Werner. According to the representative, Ruiz was told to keep Polk on the truck until the two returned to South Bend.
In a statement sent out via email, Werner Enterprises President and COO Derek Leathers offered condolences to Ruiz’s family.
“On Thursday, Aug. 27, two Werner Enterprises associates were involved in an incident at a rest stop in Bell County, Texas, that resulted in the death of Ronald Ruiz, one of our valued professional drivers,” he said in the statement. “Our thoughts and sincere condolences go out to Mr. Ruiz’s family. Local law enforcement is conducting an active criminal investigation, and Werner Enterprises is cooperating fully with that investigation.”
A spokesman for Werner also said via email that the company does have “a plan in place” for when trainers provide feedback and that protocol was followed with respect to Ruiz and Polk, but the company has “found nothing that would indicate that Mr. Ruiz feared for his safety, and we have seen nothing that would indicate there had been any threats of violence.”
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