Cheerleaders and parents scattered in all directions when a man drove across their practice field, according to witnesses who say the car came within 5 feet of the group.
Gene Curtis Stanley, 36, of Palm Bay, faces aggravated assault charges after police said he twice used his car to chase the cheerleaders and their parents. No one was injured in the Tuesday incident.
Witnesses at Palm Bay Regional Park told officers that they were with their children when they spotted a green Honda Accord strike a white truck parked near the practice field. The Accord then rolled onto the field and drove toward the group, causing them to scatter in fear for their lives, police said.
“I’ve got girls cheerleading right here in the middle of the field and he just comes shooting up through the middle of the field,” said a woman who called 911. “He’s driving like a maniac.”
In the recording, the woman seems to yell to the driver: “There’s kids right here on the field, you‘re going to run them over!”
The car got back on the road and returned a few minutes later, again forcing the cheerleaders and their parents to run for safety before driving toward the park exit, Local 6 News partner Florida Today reported.
Palm Bay police were called about 7:30 p.m. to investigate and spotted the Honda traveling eastbound in the westbound lane of Malabar Road. After a traffic stop, Stanley was arrested, and in addition to aggravated assault, was charged with driving under the influence and reckless driving after failing a field sobriety test and refusing to take a breath test.
“They accused me of trying to run over somebody and I never did,” Stanley said when reached by phone Thursday. He said he is hypoglycemic, wasn’t feeling good and was heading home.
“I’m being accused of something I know I didn’t do and it’s a tough time for me,” he said, declining to comment further. “I’d rather let the court take its course.”
Hypoglycemia means low blood sugar, according to Tim Laird, a family physician with Health First at Viera Hospital.
“That can make any number of symptoms -- if severe enough, it can make you unconscious,” Laird said. “It can make you confused and lethargic.”
Laird said that the symptoms of low blood sugar could look like drunkenness.
A responding officer wrote that Stanley had red eyes and alcohol on his breath.
When Stanley told police he was hypoglycemic and was feeling dizzy, they called for paramedics, who tested his blood sugar and found it in the normal range. Stanley declined to go to the hospital.
Stanley was booked into the Brevard County Jail Complex, where he posted an $8,250 bond Thursday morning.
A Brevard County judge banned Stanley from returning to the park as a condition of release, records show. He will go to court Nov. 15 for a hearing on the charges.