WINTER HAVEN — A Polk County mother was struck and seriously injured by a van being driven by four teenagers who had targeted her son, the Polk County Sheriff’s Office said.
Detectives with the sheriff’s office said the four teens had gone to the Polk City home of another teen and physically attacked him, then fled when the boy’s mother showed up. But when the mother followed those teens to their van and began taking photos of the vehicle, 18-year-old Elijah Stansell drove into her, detectives say.
“This was a coordinated, planned attack, carried out by a group of teens who beat up a teen then ran over his mother, leaving her for dead,” Polk County Sheriff Grady Judd said. “I can’t even fathom teenagers doing something so heinous. Our prayers are with this family.”
All four teens are now in custody, and all four have been charged with attempted murder.
What Led To This Violent Hit-And-Run Case?
The case started on Monday when deputies responded to the home of the teenage victim, where they found his mother critically injured after she got run over by a van. A Be On The Look Out (BOLO) alert was quickly issued for the van, which was located by responding deputies and Auburndale police officers.
According to Carrie Horstman, public information officer for the Polk County Sheriff’s Office, deputies learned that Stansell had brought three friends – 16-year-old Raven Sutton, 15-year-old Kimberly Stone, and 14-year-old Hannah Eubank – to the victim’s home to ” ‘handle’ an ongoing dispute,” which Horstman noted was “romantic in nature.”
After the four suspects banged on the victim’s front door, the victim came to the side door leading into the carport to see who it was.
“The group of suspects ran to the carport, where Stansell physically attacked him,” Horstman noted. “The victim retreated into his home, followed by Stansell and Sutton. At that time, the victim’s mom came home, and the suspects ran off.”
The victim’s mother followed the teens, and watched them get into a van that was parked across the street, and began taking photos of them with her cell phone. “Though there was enough room for the van to maneuver around her as she stood in the roadway, Stansell intentionally ran into her, then over her, before fleeing the scene,” Horstman noted, adding that there were several eyewitnesses to the assault and home surveillance videos backed up the evidence.
“The video footage shows the suspect approaching the front door, the group of suspects going around to the side and attacking the victim, the attack inside the home, the suspects fleeing, and the suspects running over the victim’s mother,” Horstman reported.
She noted that the victim’s mother remains in very critical condition in the hospital.
What Charges Are The Suspects Now Facing?
Stansell was booked into the Polk County Jail and is facing two felony charges, including:
• Attempted felony murder, a Class 2 felony;
• Burglary with assault, a Class 1 felony;
• and three counts of Contributing to the delinquency of a minor, a misdemeanor.
He would later face additional charges of lewd and lascivious battery on a 15-year-old victim, which Horstman noted was “a crime that was discovered after his arrest on Monday.”
Sutton, Eubank, and Stone were arrested and charged with attempted felony murder and burglary with assault. Detectives say all four admitted to going to the Polk City home to confront the teenage victim.
“Stone showed the suspect where the victim lived, and she remained in the van while the other three suspects went to ‘handle’ it,” Horstman noted. “They all admitted to fleeing the scene on foot, being in the van when Stansell intentionally ran over the victim’s mother, and then fleeing in the van after critically injuring her.”
Michael Freeman is an Orlando journalist, playwright, and author of the book When I Woke Up, You Were All Dead. Contact him at Freelineorlando@gmail.com.