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Youths charged in attack on car

Police on Monday arrested three teens on charges that they attacked a family in a car as it passed near Copeland Park this weekend, a department spokeswoman said. The youths, part of a group of at least 10 young men, are accused of shattering the car's windshield and back and side windows with a golf club, glass bottles and stones, Crystal River police spokeswoman Martha Langston said.

Police and the victims say they don't know what motivated the attack.

"This sounds like something that happens in Miami or New York," said Angela Thacker, who was in the car with her husband, Gary, their 10-year-old son, their 12-year-old daughter and the girl's 13-year-old friend.

The attack occurred about 10:45 p.m. at NE Fourth Street and NE Ninth Avenue, Langston said.

Mrs. Thacker said Monday that the Crystal River family had just picked up their son at a costume party near the park when they drove their Chevrolet Celebrity toward State Road 44.

When they stopped at a stop sign, a group of youths surrounded the car and "beat out all the windows," she said. "They were on top of the car. I thought we were going to die."

After a few minutes, during which the Thackers could not move their car without hitting someone, Gary Thacker spun the car around in a circle and drove to the police station, Mrs. Thacker said.

Mrs. Thacker said her daughter threw her brother to the floor of the car to shield him from flying glass. Gary Thacker suffered cuts on his hands.

Crystal River Cpl. Kat Liotta arrested Clifford Lamont Franklin, 18, early Monday, Langston said.

Franklin of 8280 Balloon St. in Crystal River is charged with throwing a projectile into an occupied vehicle and criminal mischief, arrest papers show. He is accused of using stones and the golf club to attack the car, Langston said.

A 17-year-old youth was arrested on the same charges, Langston said. A third youth, who is 16, was arrested and charged with criminal mischief in connection with the attack.

The names of the two youths were not released because of their ages.

Franklin remained in the Citrus County Jail on Monday in lieu of $5,500 bail. The juveniles were released to state Department of Health and Rehabilitative Services workers.

Mrs. Thacker said she had no idea what provoked the attack and said she feared especially for the children.

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