Woman dies weeks after being run over while defending son

Posted at 12:23 PM, December 1, 2020 and last updated 4:18 PM, July 21, 2023

POLK CITY, Fla. (AP) — A Florida woman has died weeks after a group of teenagers intentionally ran over her as she defended her son, who had been assaulted by the teens, deputies said.

Suzette Penton, a librarian in Polk City, died last week from injuries suffered in the Nov. 9 crash, according to the Polk County Sheriff’s Office.

An arrest affidavit said the crash left Penton with a traumatic brain injury and several broken bones.

Investigators said she was run over by a van carrying 18-year-old Elijah Stansell and three other teens, ages 14, 15 and 16. They were initially charged with attempted murder and deputies said upgraded charges are pending following Penton’s death, news outlets reported.

According to investigators, the teens went to the woman’s home because of a “romantic entanglement” between the teens and Penton’s son.

Polk County Sheriff’s spokeswoman Carrie Horstman told WFLA that the teens attacked the woman’s son. Penton then went outside to confront them, and to take pictures of their van to show to police.

“They purposely and intentionally ran her over and critically injured her,” said Horstman. “They had ample opportunity and space to get out of that area as she stood there in the street to take pictures of them to give to law enforcement. Instead, they ran her down in the road.”

A lawyer for Stansell wasn’t listed on court records.

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