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Two teens accused of attacking an elderly driver while stuck in traffic

TAMPA — It started with angry words volleyed between two teens and an elderly man as they sat stuck in traffic late one night last week.

It quickly escalated into a charge of aggravated battery with a deadly weapon.

Eighteen-year-old Penny Nicole Laun and 19-year-old Brett Allen Lear were arrested today at their home, accused of attacking a man who is older than 65, according to a Hillsborough County Sheriff's arrest report.

Deputies say the argument started at about 9 p.m. Thursday as drivers were caught in backed up traffic leaving the Florida State Fairgrounds. First, deputies say, Laun got out of the red 2000 Ford Explorer she was driving and walked up to the elderly man, hitting him about the face and arms.

The Sheriff's office identified the victim as Jesse Lowe, 67, of Tampa. He could not be reached for comment. State law enforcement records show that Lowe, who is listed as disabled, has a lengthy arrest record, including convictions on a felony cocaine charge, misdemeanor child abuse and misdemeanor larceny.

Deputies said Laun got back inside her SUV after striking Lowe, and deliberately backed into his vehicle.

Lear also got out and pummeled him, deputies said. All this was witnessed by a passenger riding with Lowe.

The teens then drove away, deputies said. They were arrested Monday.

Laun, of 5618 S 16th Ave., Tampa was charged with aggravated battery with a deadly weapon (motor vehicle) and battery on an elderly person, according to jail records.

Lear, of the same address, was charged with battery on an elderly person.

Both remained in jail Monday, with bail set at $9,500 for Laun and $2,000 for Lear. Records list both as unemployed.

The arrest records indicate that Lear and Laun admitted that some kind of incident took place, but denied wrongdoing.

Two teens accused of attacking an elderly driver while stuck in traffic 06/08/09 [Last modified: Tuesday, June 9, 2009 6:16pm]
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