POLK CITY, Fla. (WFLA) — A beloved Florida librarian died, weeks after deputies said 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 in November 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 over. Deputies say 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 said upgraded charges are now pending.
According to deputies, the Nov. 9 incident stemmed from a “romantic entanglement” between people in the group of teenagers and Penton’s son. 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 said, Penton was hit.
“They purposely and intentionally ran her over and critically injured her,” Horstman said. “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 we spoke with earlier this month told us 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,” Polk City’s City Manager Patricia Jackson said.
Jackson also told us 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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