Six who beat driver after accident arrested
HENDERSON (WTVD) -- The North Carolina Highway Patrol says a driver who accidentally struck a pedestrian near Henderson was pulled from his vehicle and severely beaten by bystanders.
Authorities have arrested all six suspects connected to the beating of Eric Loznicka.
Troopers say on Saturday night, Loznicka struck 18-year-old Reuban Wright of Henderson near Kittrell after Wright stepped into the road in front of Loznicka's car.
Four of the suspects, Lonny Hargrove, Less Raglan, Damien Trowbridge and Avon Fouch were brought into the sheriff's department Wednesday morning. The other two suspects turned themselves into police earlier.
Family members of those arrested and of Wright's also came to the sheriff's department very upset.
"They're saying he [Reuben] was in the middle of the road, but we were there," said Jalessa Wright, Reuben Wright's cousin. "He wasn't in the road, he was at the end of the dirt road," said
Authorities say each person involved with the beating will be charged with assault inflicting serious injury, which is a misdemeanor.
"Under the law, that's all we have," Vance County Sheriff Peter White said. "[We] can't manufacture evidence. We have to go with what he have."
One eyewitness told ABC11 Monday that she's losing sleep because of what she saw.
"I haven't been able to sleep very well," witness Cindy Harris said. "It's the worst thing I think I've ever seen, just a brutal beating."
Harris says she was driving home on Raleigh Road just south of Henderson when she saw a car in the road near the drive-in theater. She didn't know it then but seconds earlier police say Wright was hit.
"I think he genuinely pulled over to make sure the gentleman was okay," Harris said.
Harris says that's when she saw a couple dozen other young men walk over to the car and do the unthinkable.
"They pulled him out of the car and pushed him down and continued to kick him and beat him and just smash his head down in the cement," Harris said. "I couldn't do anything to help him. I couldn't get out of my car for fear, but I just couldn't leave him there alone. I couldn't leave him. I was constantly blowing my horn thinking that maybe it would scatter them and they would leave him alone. I called 911 immediately."
Sixteen people called 911, but the help that came first was a man in a pickup truck, who was in the right place at the right time.
"The next thing I saw was this gentleman that had been beaten running in front of his truck and this guy was telling him to get in my truck," Harris said. "He jumped over the bed into the truck, and they were pulling at his leg trying to get him out of the truck and the gentleman just took off."
When ABC11 spoke to Lozinicka on the phone Monday, he had been released from the hospital, but was not ready for an interview. He is being charged, but not because of the accident. Sheriff White says his license and plate were not current.
Wright suffered head and leg injuries and was flown to Duke University Hospital for treatment. His condition is not known and as of Wednesday, he remained hospitalized.
Family members tell ABC11 he will live but can't say much more.
Vance County sheriff's deputies say the suspects knew each other and had been together earlier at a party. Sheriff White says more arrests are expected later this week.
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