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Suspect punched woman after crash; caught by good Samaritans

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Posted at 10:04 AM, Jun 05, 2018
and last updated 2018-06-05 10:04:50-04

OAKLAND PARK, Fla. -- A chaotic scene unfolded Monday in Oakland Park as a man allegedly assaulted a woman after a crash and attempted to flee, but instead slammed into numerous other vehicles and tried to run away on foot before he was apprehended by good Samaritans, according to witnesses.

The suspect has been identified as John Stephens, who faces charges of battery and leaving the scene of an accident.

Destiny Romero said she was on her way to do laundry when a driver ran a stop sign and hit the side of her vehicle.

"I honked my horn at him and he didn’t like it because I was causing a scene," Romero said. "When he parked the car, I parked my car. He got out of his car and punched me in my head twice, and he jumped back in his car and left.”

Numerous people witnessed the violent incident, including Dale Joseph Bridges, who, along with Romero, began following the man through a residential area near the Oakland Park Library.

As he attempted to escape, the man ran through another stop sign – this time causing a collision in which his own car flipped several times and damaged about six other vehicles, Bridges said.

The man came out of the wrecked vehicle unscathed. When Bridges attempted to prevent the man from fleeing, the suspect pushed and grabbed him by the throat during a confrontation, he said.

“Then I see him go up to his car, rip the license plate off, stick it down his pants and that’s when he took off running," Bridges said.

The man ran, but not for long.

Alex Encarnacion, who lives nearby, and another witness began searching for the suspected source of neighborhood turmoil. Soon after they began searching, they found the suspect at a local Pollo Tropical and locked him in their vehicle.

A total of six vehicles were damaged. Broward County Sheriff's Office deputies then arrived at the scene to arrest the suspect.

“We chased him but we didn’t see him, so we just did a quick lookout and then we saw him over there by 'Pollo' on Oakland and we just put him in the car," Encarnacion said. "He didn’t put up a fight to get in the car but as soon as he saw the cops, he got nervous and then started putting up a fight."

Story from our news partner NBC 6