Daily Dispatch (Henderson, North Carolina), March 24, 2011
Vance County Sheriff Peter White wasted no time rounding up six men Wednesday who he said bore responsibility in the beating of a motorist Saturday night following an accident on Raleigh Road.
Further arrests are pending the outcomes of an ongoing investigation.
The beating incident occurred at the scene of an accident involving Eric Loznicka, 42, driver of a gray four-door Ford sedan which struck Reuben Wright, 18, on Raleigh Road near Bearpond, just south of the outdoor theater.
Arrested were Less Ragland, 26, and Lonnie Jack Hargrove, 19, both of 745 Southerland St., along with Damien Elijah Trowbridge, 34, of 199 Bunn St. and Avone Fouch, 30, of 536 Abbott Road.
Turning themselves in at the sheriff’s office were Carlton Ragland, 21, and James Henry Ragland, 22, both of 324 Charles St.
“We will get six today, and we will be looking for more tomorrow,” White said as the roundup began. “We’re going to get them. They might as well come on in a make it easy on everyone.
“If they were there, if they participated in any way, we will charge them,” he added. “I’m glad we could get these guys. This takes them off the streets for a bit.”
“We’ve got to squeeze them a little bit before we get to the bond part,” White said. “What we already know is that this was not gang related in any way, it was just mostly young people, drinking, making a dumb decision.”
White heard complaints of some family members, and even from at least one of the charged, that there was a heavy presence of media on location as the roundup progressed, including live satellite uplink trucks, reporters and cameramen from several television news networks.
“Right now, the misdemeanor is all we have,” White said. “We don’t see any premeditation. You have the traffic accident situation and the party, the drinking.”
The arrest warrants for each of the six noted the attack as including the hitting and kicking of the victim about the head, chest and body.
According to state troopers, Loznicka attempted to call 911 when an assailant opened a driver’s side rear door and attacked. Other suspects joined in kicking and hitting Loznicka. Troopers said the suspects also rubbed Loznicka’s face on the asphalt.
Cindy Harris of Kittrell stopped behind Loznicka’s vehicle as the assault took place. She blew her horn and flashed her lights to stop the assault, before asking another man, Franklin Reavis, to help him.
According to 911 calls, Loznicka was taken up the road to an automobile mechanic shop to wait for an ambulance.
“They pulled him out of the car and started stomping and kicking him,” Harris said in a 911 call. “A man in a truck came and he got in the car. They beat him so bad.”
“The people on the side of the road claimed it was a hit and run, some saying Wright stepped into the road and some saying Loznicka drove off the road,” Pulliam said. “We didn’t know about Loznicka being assaulted until after we showed up on scene and talked to witnesses.”
There were 17 calls to 911 to report on the incidents. As many as four reported Wright being hit by a car and the rest were in reference to Loznicka being assaulted.