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Florida police say driver intentionally hit 75-year-old Army veteran with car

Posted at 1:57 PM, Jan 10, 2020
and last updated 2020-01-10 14:51:03-05

PASCO COUNTY, Fla. — Pasco County officials arrested a man they say intentionally ran over a pedestrian on Thursday.

The Pasco County Sheriff's Office said the incident happened at Old Dixie Hwy and Aripeka Road.

Officials said Justyn Pennell, 21, got inside his PT Cruiser around 2:30 p.m. on Thursday and started doing some errands when he saw a pedestrian walking by himself on the side of the road.

According to Sheriff Chris Nocco, Pennell drove past the pedestrian, then made a U-turn and intentionally drove his car toward the victim.

Nocco said he accelerated to a high rate of speed and struck a 75-year-old Army veteran.

"This is one of those things that when you talk to society about how evil things are," Nocco said. "This man is absolutely evil."

Pennell told investigators he had been planning for several months to kill someone.

Pennell later told investigators that "he could see the fear on the victim's face" as he drove his car towards the victim.

Nocco said Pennell was very calm during the confession and did not appear to be under the influence.

Officials said they are seeking more witness statements connected with the incident and asked anyone with more information to contact the sheriff's office.

Nocco also added some witnesses stopped and possibly took pictures of the victim and then drove away.

Pennell was arrested and charged with premeditated murder.

The name of the victim has not been released.

This story was originally published by WFTS in Tampa, Florida.