OKEECHOBEE — After he reportedly tried to run over his neighbors and then shot them a bird, a 16-year-old was charged with aggravated assault with a deadly weapon. Joseph Scott Bennett, a local home schooler allegedly tried to run the men over as they walked down Northwest 19th Avenue around 10:15 p.m. On Wednesday night Jan. 13.
Okeechobee County Sheriff’s Deputy William Jolly was dispatched to the area in response to a complaint about a reckless driver. The caller said the driver almost ran his neighbors down. When Deputy Jolly arrived, he spoke to one of the men who told him he had heard a loud noise and went outside to investigate. He saw a black SUV running up and down the street before going into a ditch, spinning out and then heading toward the dead end. Another neighbor walked up to ask what was going on and the two of them walked down to find out what was happening.
One of the men was walking on the grass and the other was walking beside him in the road. They said the driver of the vehicle floored the gas and headed right for them at full speed. They both had to jump out of the way as the SUV swerved erratically just missing them. As it passed, they recognized the driver as a neighbor’s son. The report notes that afterward, the teen gave the men the finger as he drove past them again.
One of the men declined to press charges, so Joseph was charged with only one count of aggravated assault with a deadly weapon. He was turned over to the custody of the department of juvenile justice.