Hillsborough road rage victim wants former deputy to face 'justi - WFLA News Channel 8

Hillsborough road rage victim wants former deputy to face 'justice'

Posted: Updated:
Evan Rees and wife Cindy Vervuurt at their Sebring home. Evan Rees and wife Cindy Vervuurt at their Sebring home.
Still image from cell phone video of confrontation Still image from cell phone video of confrontation
SEBRING, FL (WFLA) -

The cell phone video from a teenager in a nearby car is chilling.

“Oh my god, has a gun, oh my god he has a gun, oh my god,” she can be heard screaming.

Frantic words describe the moment after a rear-end crash between two drivers on I-4 in Seffner back on February 15th.

Witnesses say former Hillsborough County Sheriff’s detective Thomas Pettis became enraged at Evan Rees, after Pettis crashed into Rees' wife's car.

With f-bombs flying, the video shows the two men grappling on the ground. Pettis is on his back. Rees, a biology teacher, is on top. He had no idea the man he's fighting is a detective.

“To me, it was just a crazy guy, an angry man, just trying to take out the world on us,” said Rees from his home in Sebring.

Then, the road rage incident gets really scary.

“He was choking me and eye gouging me with his thumb,” said Rees.

In the video, Pettis pulls a gun from an ankle holster and points it at Rees. Pettis gets up, shows his badge, and puts his gun away.

There's more yelling. Then, off camera, Pettis punches Rees in the head.

“By the time I got up and turned around, there was a gun, he was like moving towards me with the gun,” said Rees.

“To see him walking toward my husband with the gun, to call self defense at that point is ridiculous,” said Cindy Vervuurt, Rees’ wife.

In the months since the incident, Rees hoped Pettis would face a charge of aggravated assault with a firearm, but he found out the State Attorney dropped that charge and will also drop a misdemeanor battery charge, as long as Pettis completes community service.

The State Attorney report explains, Pettis committed a battery upon Rees, and that he did not do so in self-defense of another.

“I want to see justice. Other than just talking to people like yourself, I don't know how to make that happen,” said Rees.

Since this incident in February, Pettis resigned from the Hillsborough Sheriff's Office.

Rees is hoping an independent law enforcement agency can look at this case and offer another opinion of how it's being handled.

The next hearing is May 15th. 

Copyright WFLA 2014. All rights reserved.



  • Don't Miss ItMore>>

  • VIDEO: Grouper snatches shark in one bite

    VIDEO: Grouper snatches shark in one bite

    Wednesday, August 20 2014 2:44 PM EDT2014-08-20 18:44:27 GMT
    Clip of video from YouTubeClip of video from YouTube
    One bite: that's all it apparently took for a grouper to eat a 4-foot shark in a video posted to YouTube, according to user Gimbb14.
    One bite: that's all it apparently took for a grouper to eat a 4-foot shark in a video posted to YouTube, according to user Gimbb14.
  • 3 Tampa Bay women to vie for $1 million prize in Pillsbury Bake-Off

    3 Tampa Bay women to vie for $1 million prize in Pillsbury Bake-Off

    Wednesday, August 20 2014 1:51 PM EDT2014-08-20 17:51:02 GMT
    Contestants at the 46th Pillsbury Bake-Off Contest cheer on their fellow finalists. Pillsbury Bake-Off photoContestants at the 46th Pillsbury Bake-Off Contest cheer on their fellow finalists. Pillsbury Bake-Off photo
    Whip up a tasty recipe and win a million bucks. Sounds easy enough, right? Not really. Just ask three talented Tampa Bay women who made it to the finals of this year's Pillbury Bake-Off contest.
    Whip up a tasty recipe and win a million bucks. Sounds easy enough, right? Not really. Just ask three talented Tampa Bay women who made it to the finals of this year's Pillbury Bake-Off contest.
  • Bottles of Corona Extra Beer Recalled for Glass Particles

    Bottles of Corona Extra Beer Recalled for Glass Particles

    Wednesday, August 20 2014 9:33 AM EDT2014-08-20 13:33:35 GMT
    The recall covers 12-ounce clear glass bottles in select six-pack, 12-pack and 18-pack packages containing bottles with specific production codes.The recall covers 12-ounce clear glass bottles in select six-pack, 12-pack and 18-pack packages containing bottles with specific production codes.
    Hold that lime wedge for your Corona, at least until you check the code number on the neck of the bottle.Constellation Brands, which imports the Mexican beer, is recalling select packages of Corona Extra in the United States because bottles may contain small particles of glass.
    Hold that lime wedge for your Corona, at least until you check the code number on the neck of the bottle.Constellation Brands, which imports the Mexican beer, is recalling select packages of Corona Extra in the United States because bottles may contain small particles of glass.
  • Most Viewed Stories on WFLA.com

  • Sign up for WFLA News Channel 8 Email Alerts

    * denotes required fields






    Thank you for signing up! You will receive a confirmation email shortly.
Powered by WorldNow

200 South Parker Street, Tampa, FL 33606

Telephone: 813.228.8888
Fax: 813.225.2770
Email: news@wfla.com

Can’t find something?
Powered by WorldNow
All content © Copyright 2000 - 2014 Media General Communications Holdings, LLC. A Media General Company.