By Janice Morse
The Cincinnati Enquirer
MASON - As other children eagerly awaited Santa Claus on Christmas Eve, two little girls were trying to stop a near-fatal attack on their mother, police say.
"The girls said they tried to pull their daddy back and they tried to pull their mom away," Mason Police Detective Scott Doughman said Thursday, hours after taking the girls' father, Alvin Tucker, to the Warren County jail.
Officers arrested Mr. Tucker in Fayette County, about 50 miles away. Police allege he hit Virginia Gilbert, 42, with a foot-long steel rod and stabbed her with an ice pick. Her condition was upgraded from critical to serious on Thursday at Bethesda North Hospital.
Mr. Tucker, 50, faces charges of aggravated felonious assault, domestic violence and two child endangering counts Tuesday in Mason Municipal Court. He was jailed Thursday at the Warren County Justice Center on $230,000 bond.
A fund for medical and family expenses for Virginia Gilbert has been established at the Fifth Third Bank in Mason. Donations can be made at any area Fifth Third branch.
The couple called Mason police to their home at 5012 Birchwood Farms Drive five times in early 2001, police records show. Ms. Gilbert alleged violation of a protection order and menacing. The couple has been divorced about a year.
Violence erupted Tuesday after Ms. Gilbert arrived to pick up the girls, ages 4 and 7, from visitation, Detective Doughman said. After attempting to intervene, the 7-year-old ran to a nearby house. At 8:32 p.m., the neighbors called police. Dispatchers logged the call: "Priority 1, a domestic in progress with assault and weapons involved."
A report says the first-arriving officers found Ms. Gilbert semi-conscious, face-down in a yard, her head covered in blood.
The first responders "thought her injuries were severe enough that she might not make it," Detective Doughman said.
About 20 police from Mason, Deerfield Township, West Chester and the Warren County Sheriff's Office worked the scene, along with about eight medics. Detective Doughman said their jobs were harder because two little girls endured such trauma on a night that was supposed to be joyous. "I think that made it difficult for every officer, every firefighter, every emergency personnel there," he said.
Mr. Tucker fled in a vehicle that Ms. Gilbert had driven to his home, police say. He twice telephoned Warren County dispatchers, but reneged on a promise to surrender, Mason police said. Fayette County deputies spotted him around 2 a.m. Thursday on Interstate 71 near Washington Court House.
Sheila McLaughlin contributed. E-mail firstname.lastname@example.org.
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