BROOKSVILLE — Embattled Hernando County middle school teacher Jesse Mockler was arrested Wednesday night after authorities say he rammed his ex-girlfriend's SUV and then reached inside of it to grab and shake her.
Mockler, a social studies teacher at Powell Middle School, is currently suspended without pay from the Hernando County School District as he appeals its earlier decision to fire him.
In August, the superintendent recommended that Mockler, 36, be fired after a district investigation found he falsified an application to renew his teaching certificate and failed to promptly report a July conviction for driving under the influence.
The matter is now being handled by the Florida Division of Administrative Hearings.
On Wednesday evening, Mockler's ex-girlfriend, Lisa Crooks, was sitting in her 2003 Chevrolet Trailblazer in the driveway of her Spring Hill residence, according to the Hernando Sheriff's Office.
Mockler drove up and rammed the rear driver's side of Crooks' vehicle, damaging the bumper. He then squealed his tires.
Mockler got out of his vehicle, a 2003 Chevrolet Cavalier, and walked up to the driver's side of the other vehicle, striking Crooks' exterior rear-view mirror while she dialed 911.
Mockler then opened the driver's side door, grabbed Crooks by the head, and pushed her back and forth, scratching her neck. He took her cellphone, only to return it minutes later. He then reached into the vehicle and broke off the interior rear view mirror.
The incident was seen by three witnesses, according to the Sheriff's Office.
Mockler faces charges of aggravated assault with a deadly weapon, two counts of burglary, obstructing justice and criminal mischief. He was being held Thursday evening at the Hernando County Detention Center .
Contact Danny Valentine at email@example.com or (352) 848-1432. On Twitter: @HernandoTimes.