Road rage battery case against former Hillsborough deputy closed - WFLA News Channel 8

Road rage battery case against former Hillsborough deputy closed

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A battery case against a former Hillsborough County Sheriff's Deputy who was involved in a videotaped road rage incident has been closed. A battery case against a former Hillsborough County Sheriff's Deputy who was involved in a videotaped road rage incident has been closed.

A battery case against a former Hillsborough County Sheriff's Deputy who was involved in a videotaped road rage incident has been closed.

Thomas Pettis entered a pretrial intervention program. As a result, the battery case against him was closed.

Pettis was scheduled to appear in court for a disposition hearing at the Plant City Courthouse Thursday morning.

The victim in the case, 44-year old Evan Rees was also there, and was hoping to see justice served. Instead, Pettis was a no show.

"Seriously, If there was somebody I didn't like, I can go beat them up?" Asked Rees.

"If somebody makes me mad at the mall, I can go hit them? I'm just going to get a year of probation? Really? It seems like that's a terrible message to send to the citizens of Florida."

A witness caught the February 15 altercation on camera. Investigators say Pettis rear-ended a car that Rees, his wife and niece were riding in. They pulled over and Pettis and Rees began to struggle. Rees was able to pin Pettis down, and that's when Pettis drew his gun and pointed it at Rees for about a second. He then identified himself as a sheriff's deputy.

He holstered his weapon and then punched Rees.

According to the state attorney's office, prosecutors felt Pettis drew his weapon in self defense and therefore that was justified. When he punched Rees following the initial altercation, prosecutors said, that was not in self defense and therefore warranted a misdemeanor battery charge.

Pettis retired from the sheriff's office after the incident. According to Detective Larry McKinnon, Pettis spent 17 years on the force and his record was nearly spotless.

Rees had hoped Pettis would face a judge today. He and his wife drove from Sebring, where both are teachers.

"I feel ripped off. You know what I mean? Right now I feel genuinely ripped off," said Rees. "And this guy is probably sitting at home laughing, you know?"

Copyright 2014 WFLA. All rights reserved.


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