PORT RICHEY, Fla. - By the time Amanda Moore reached the corner of Rohrman Road and Cathy Drive on Monday night, all she could do was listen to the children scream.
The Pineland Park resident spotted a small bicycle on the ground, crushed by a car that had suddenly lost control and plowed into a group of kids. A young boy had been riding that bike.
"It was heart-wrenching," Moore said. "It would bring tears to anybody's eyes who would see that bike," she said.
Dave Duncan's front yard was where the Ford Explorer came to a stop, but not before smashing into his silver sedan that he had backed into the driveway. The driver's side of the vehicle looked like crumpled tin foil. His son tried to get out of the way, but the vehicle was too fast.
"The force of the car pushed my son and threw him out to the center of the road," Duncan said.
Three children and an 18-year-old were hospitalized, two of them with serious injuries.
The Florida Highway Patrol said Rayshaun Bennett, 10, and Beau Potter, 15, were airlifted to All Children's Hospital in St. Petersburg with broken bones and internal injuries. Brandon Smith, 12, and Sebastian Chapman, 18, were treated at Bayonet Pointe Medical Center in Hudson.
Clarice Todd, 12, heard the commotion and came running down the street.
"It was scary. It was the worst thing I've seen in my life," Todd said.
With bodies on the grass and blood on the pavement, it was an unsightly scene for children.
"There was a little boy on the ground there. The tires flung him up, because he went completely under the car," Todd said, as composed as one could be recalling such a graphic memory.
Pasco County Sheriff's deputies said the driver, 26-year old Misael Ochoa-Garcia, had been drinking before he got behind the wheel. But investigators said perhaps even more dangerous than his intoxication were the circumstances moments before he lost control of the SUV.
Witnesses said that several men assaulted Ochoa-Garcia as he was driving through Pineland Park.
"Two big guys came out and started to beat the guy up in his vehicle," Duncan said, pointing to the 50-feet from his yard where the fight broke out. Other residents said one of the attackers grabbed Ochoa-Garcia's long curly hair through the Explorer's sunroof, causing him to veer off the road.
Deputies arrested Brian Sisk, 22, and Bobby Willis, 25, and charged them with battery. Investigators said the assault was retaliation for Ochoa-Garcia trying to date an underage girl.
"Misael came over here looking for me," said Megan Palmer, a young mother in the neighborhood. "I told him I want nothing to do with him. Because he's 26. I'm 14," Palmer said.
Ochoa-Garcia, a Mexican national, was taken to the Land O' Lakes jail and held on $16,500 bond.
The Sheriff's office said while Ochoa-Garcia's behavior towards a minor may have been inappropriate, that didn't justify residents from engaging in vigilante justice.
"That's why we get involved," said Kevin Doll, a sheriff's spokesman.
"So they don't have to take the law into their own hands and subsequently have more people get hurt."
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