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Driver runs over man 3 times, police say

(ran North, East editions)

Abel Robinson didn't just run over the victim, authorities said.

He backed over the victim, too. Twice.

That's why the 19-year-old Zephyrhills man didn't show up for work Tuesday as a Wesley Chapel High School teacher's assistant.

He was in the Pasco County jail, charged with aggravated battery with a deadly weapon - a 1996 Jeep Cherokee, Zephyrhills police said.

School district director of employee relations Terry Rhum said sanctions could start with Robinson being suspended without pay.

"It's too early to say with the information we have, or the lack of information we have," Rhum said. "If it's serious enough, there will certainly be some dire effects on his employment."

A police report says the crash took place Monday morning after a physical fight between Robinson and the victim, who was not identified. Robinson and two others got in his vehicle and left the area, spinning the tires.

The victim was running northwest to 18th Street and Ninth Avenue, the report says, where Robinson struck the victim at 7:02 a.m. Witnesses said the victim was in plain view of the driver.

Robinson also struck a utility pole and backed the vehicle up over the victim, the report says, then did it again.

Robinson's passengers said the victim ran toward the vehicle. Robinson told police the victim was 5 feet in front of him when he accelerated, striking him. Robinson drove off when he heard the crowd talking about a gun.

He was arrested at 4:15 a.m. Tuesday and released that afternoon.

Information about the victim's condition was unavailable Tuesday. The Zephyrhills Police Department did not return calls for comment.

Robinson started as a teacher's assistant Aug. 4, working with special needs students.

Times researcher Angie Drobnic Holan contributed to this report.

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