HERNANDO COUNTY, FL – A Florida man is in jail tonight after attacking a woman he knew with his pickup truck, then grabbing her by the neck and attempting to kidnap her on Tuesday, the Hernando County Sheriff’s Office said.
In a release issued by the department, on Tuesday, just after 7 a.m., Hernando County Sheriff’s deputies were dispatched to the intersection of E. Jefferson Street and N. Broad Street in the City of Brooksville for what was originally thought to be a Hit and Run Traffic Crash. Callers reported seeing the driver of a red flatbed pickup truck strike a small silver car, then flee eastbound on Jefferson Street.
“Upon arrival, deputies met with the victim (small silver car) and several witnesses who were still on scene,” HCSO said. “The victim was extremely shaken and unable to provide an immediate statement. In separate interviews, witnesses told deputies they observed a red flatbed truck traveling northbound on N. Broad Street in the area of Mt. Fair Avenue when the driver suddenly made a U-turn in the middle of the road. The driver of the truck continued southbound to the intersection of N. Broad Street and E. Jefferson Street where he purposely struck the small silver car and pushed it for several feet.”
Investigators found out that Kenneth Michael Lengel Stage, 22, knew the woman and intentionally caused the crash.
“In obvious fear, the lone occupant of the car, the female driver, exited the car and ran in an easterly direction. The driver of the red flatbed pickup truck, later identified as Kenneth Michael Lengel Stage, exited his truck and ran after the female,” investigators reported. “Stage quickly caught up to the female, wrapped his arms around her from behind, lifted her off her feet, and began carrying her back toward his truck.”
Police said several concerned citizens began screaming at Stage to “put her down.” After carrying the female almost 20 feet, Stage dropped her, ran to his truck, and fled the area. Deputies were eventually able to interview the victim. The victim provided the same account of events, adding that she and Stage were known to one another.
A warrant for the arrest of Stage was immediately authored. The warrant was signed by the Honorable Judge Merritt, and deputies continually searched for Stage throughout the morning and early afternoon. Just after 1 p.m., deputies observed Stage’s truck in the area of the Quality Inn near I-75 and Cortez Boulevard in Brooksville, where he’d reportedly been staying. Stage fled in the truck when he spotted law enforcement.
Florida Highway Patrol Troopers quickly apprehended Stage just inside Pasco County.
Stage was charged with Attempted Kidnapping and Aggravated Assault and placed in jail with no bail. The Florida Highway Patrol also has charges pending on Stage.