A Florida teenager is accused of assaulting a classmate over a romantic dispute and then running over the boy’s mother with a van as she tried to intercede, authorities said.
Elijah Paul Stansell, 18, allegedly mowed down a high school classmate’s mother following the assault of her son after vowing to “handle” a romantic grudge, according to an affidavit obtained by Oxygen.com.
Polk County Sheriff's Office deputies were dispatched to a Polk City residence after reports of an attempted murder shortly before 3 p.m. on Monday.
A teenager there told law enforcement he heard banging on his door that afternoon. The unidentified teen looked outside to see who it was and observed his ex-girlfriend’s new boyfriend, whom he identified as Stansell. He claimed that Stansell and another classmate began assaulting him in the home’s carport and later inside the home.
“Stansell quickly approached him, entered into the attached carport area, and began battering him,” authorities alleged in the affidavit. “During that physical attack, [the victim] attempted to flee back into his residence.”
The teens later scattered and fled on foot after the child’s mother arrived home in her vehicle, authorities said. Stansell, who got behind the wheel of a van parked near the home, then allegedly accelerated toward the women, who was attempting to take a cell phone picture of her son’s alleged assailant, striking her.
“Though there was enough room between the vehicle and [the victim] to maneuver around her, the driver intentionally ran into and over her before fleeing,” the probable cause statement states.
The woman sustained significant injuries, including a skull fracture, broken leg and bleeding from the brain. She also suffered torn ligaments in her left knee and damage to her lungs. She was described as unresponsive and listed in severely critical condition after being admitted to Lakeland Health Regional Medical Center, according to the affidavit.
One of the teenage suspects filmed the encounter, detectives said. The incident was also captured by surveillance cameras and witnessed by several neighbors.
Stansell and three other suspects were charged with attempted murder, burglary, and battery. The names of the other juvenile suspects have been withheld. Oxygen.com does not identify minors unless they are officially charged as adults.
Stansell was also arrested on three counts of suspicion of contributing to the delinquency of a minor.
"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 in a statement, according to the Tampa Bay Times. “I can't even fathom teenagers doing something so heinous. Our prayers are with this family."
Stansell, when questioned by authorities, insisted he had somehow “fell into the residence” prior to a fight breaking out between him and the victim, according to the affidavit. He allegedly acknowledged his vehicle had struck his classmate’s mother.
Investigators also learned that the unidentified teen victim had recently broken up with Stansell’s new girlfriend. The former high school couple had engaged in “ongoing verbal disputes” on social media following the end of their romance, according to the affidavit.
“She threatened to have her new boyfriend ‘handle it,’” authorities wrote.
Stansell was also charged with lewd and lascivious battery related to allegations of a sexual relationship with a 15-year-old girl, according to a separate affidavit obtained by Oxygen.com. It's not immediately clear if the victim in that case was involved in the alleged assault.
Stansell made his first court appearance via teleconference at a Polk County courthouse on Tuesday. It’s unclear if he’s retained legal representation.
A spokesperson for Polk County Sheriff’s Office didn’t immediately respond to Oxygen.com’s request for comment on Wednesday
Crime Time is your destination for true crime stories from around the world, breaking crime news, and information about Oxygen's original true crime shows and documentaries. Sign up for our Crime Time Newsletter and subscribe to our true crime podcast Martinis & Murder for all the best true crime content.