CCTV:BRADENTON,Florida Zack Bell was hit from behind and tossed into the street as his shoes flew off. He got up, momentarily looked at the car's headlights and ran off, barefoot and bleeding.
The teenager ran to a neighbor's house for help, but he got no answer. He sprinted to a convenience store and called his mother, who drove him to a hospital.
That Bell survived, state prosecutors say, is incredible. That the crash was caught on video is extraordinary. A homeowner's surveillance camera recorded the wreck that night in September.
The crash, authorities said, was not an accident but an intentional, violent act stemming from an argument. There were no witnesses. The video, central to the prosecution's criminal case, showed it all.
"This was a hideous crime. This was attempted murder," Bell's mother, Barbara Shaffer, said Saturday. "This girl didn't punch my son in the face. She tried to kill him."
Katelyn Horne, 17, the girl who intentionally rammed her car into Bell, pleaded guilty last week to aggravated battery and will be sentenced to a year in the Manatee County jail next month. But one question remains: should Horne become a convicted felon?
Horne's mother does not think so, saying the jail sentence is enough punishment. She said her daughter is not a violent person.
"It's going to be a hard thing for her," Tammy Jo Horne said. "This has been a very sad thing for everyone."
Horne's attorney, Joe Campoli, said he will push for leniency. Horne had no record before this case. Now, she will spend a year locked up. College is on hold. When she gets out, Horne must serve 18 months of probation and 50 hours of community service. Campoli called the crime an isolated incident.
Making Horne a felon will have a greater negative impact on her life than the year in jail, Campoli said. Getting a job as a felon is not easy. Felons are often shunned in the community as untrustworthy.
Campoli thought Horne should have been prosecuted in juvenile court. For serious, egregious felony crimes, prosecutors routinely put teenagers into the adult criminal arena — exposing boys and girls to harsher punishments than in juvenile court.
Shaffer, the victim's mother, said she was disappointed Horne will not serve a longer stint of probation. Shaffer said Horne deserves to be a convicted felon.
Ultimately, the decision whether to make Horne a felon is in the hands of Circuit Judge Diana L. Moreland.
Bell, 19, is recovering from his injuries, which included a cracked vertebrae, his mother said. He still has back pain.
Authorities said Bell was cut up badly after being down the night of Sept. 14 in the 5000 block of Third Avenue West in Bradenton.
Authorities said Horne, who lives in the neighborhood, pulled up to Bell, who was walking in the street, according to sheriff's reports. Bell, his mother said, was walking home from the football game at Manatee High School.
Horne stopped and exchanged words about Bell's younger sister. Bell said Horne drove past him and then turned around.
The Buick that Horne was driving went onto the sidewalk and struck Bell from behind, throwing him about four feet into the road. The car slammed into a utility pole after striking the teenager.
Bell told investigators he thought he was about to be hit a second time.
A neighbor, Joseph Scott, 42, has cameras trained on the front of his house. The cameras, he said, were installed to capture thieves. Scott heard the crash, which temporarily knocked out power to his home.
He said Bell took off into the night. "He was running full-blast," Scott recalled.
Horne returned to the crash scene with her mother, Scott said. The girl said she swerved to miss a person who had walked in front of her car.
Sheriff's deputies confronted Horne at her home, but her parents told her not to talk to the investigators.
"I only wanted to go to Manatee to watch the game," Horne said, according to sheriff's reports.
That Friday night, Manatee High School's football squad defeated visiting rivals from Southeast High School in front of some 7,000 fans on the home turf in Bradenton.
Horne was jailed that night, and a video of the crime was placed into an evidence locker at the Manatee County Sheriff's Office.
Tags: Teenager, Driver's, Attack, With, Car, Caught, On, Video
Location: Bradenton, Florida, United States (load item map)
Marked as: approved, featured
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