BROOKSVILLE — A 22-year-old man is accused of trying to kidnap a woman on Tuesday by ramming her car and then trying to carry her into his truck, deputies said.
The attempt failed when bystanders yelled at the man to let her go. He dropped her and then drove off, deputies said, but was later captured in Pasco County.
Kenneth Michael Lengel Stage was arrested on charges of attempted kidnapping and aggravated assault, according to the Hernando County Sheriff’s Office.
The incident started just after 7 a.m. when a red flatbed truck headed north on N Broad Street suddenly made a U-turn by Mt. Fair Drive, near Faith Evangelical Presbyterian Church, according to witnesses. The red truck then headed south to the intersection of N Broad Street and E Jefferson Street.
Then it struck a small silver sedan, witnesses told deputies, and pushed the car for several feet. The woman driving the car got out, witnesses said, and appeared to be in “obvious fear.” Then she ran away.
The driver of the red truck caught up to her, grabbed her in a bear hug from behind, lifted her off the ground and started carrying her back to the truck, according to the Sheriff’s Office.
Then several bystanders started yelling at the man to “put her down,” deputies said. After 20 feet, the man let her go, got into the truck and drove off.
When the woman was able to talk, deputies said she confirmed the witnesses’ account and told them she knew the man. Deputies quickly obtained an arrest warrant for Stage.
The red truck was spotted about 1 p.m. at the Quality Inn at 30307 Cortez Blvd., near Interstate 75. Stage drove off when he saw law enforcement, according to the Sheriff’s Office. The Florida Highway Patrol arrested Stage a few miles away in Pasco County. The Sheriff’s Office did not release the name of the woman or explain what Stage planned to do with her.
Stage was being held without bail Wednesday in the Hernando County jail. The Sheriff’s Office said Florida Highway Patrol also plans to add charges.