Florida librarian dies weeks after teens ran her over with vehicle, deputies say


POLK CITY, Fla. (WFLA) — A beloved librarian from Polk City, Florida has died, weeks after deputies say a group of teenagers intentionally ran over her with a van.

A spokesperson for the Polk County Sheriff’s Office said Suzette Penton died last week. Penton was rushed to the hospital earlier this month in “severely critical condition” after being run over.

According to an arrest affidavit, Penton suffered a traumatic brain injury and several broken bones on Nov. 9 when a group of teenagers ran her down. Deputies said the group included 18-year-old Elijah Stansell and three other teens aged 14, 15 and 16.

The teenagers were charged with attempted murder, but deputies say upgraded charges are now pending.

According to deputies, the Nov. 9 incident stemmed from a dispute between people in the group of teenagers and Penton’s son over a “romantic entanglement.” Polk County Sheriff’s Office Public Information Officer Carrie Horstman said the group showed up at their home and attacked the boy who lived there.

Penton then went outside to confront them and take pictures of the van, according to Horstman. That’s when Horstman says Penton was hit.

“They purposely and intentionally ran her over and critically injured her,” said Horstman. “They had ample opportunity and space to get out of that area as she stood there in the street to take pictures of them to give to law enforcement. Instead, they ran her down in the road.”

Coworkers said earlier this month that Penton was a “mama bear” who was fiercely protective of her kids.

“I can understand her putting herself in harm’s way to protect her children,” said Patricia Jackson, city manager of Polk City.

Jackson said Penton was passionate about the library and would stop at nothing to get kids in Polk City to pick up a new book.


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