A Man Is Accused of Dragging and Running Over His Girlfriend Off Palm Coast Parkway
FlaglerLive | September 27, 2013
When Flagler County Sheriff’s deputy Frank Gamarra arrived at the Palm Coast Parkway scene at 8 p.m. Thursday, Toni Bater, a 50-year-old Palm Coast resident, was lying on the ground with severe injuries to her legs, arms and head and bruising to her right eye. She was in the parking lot of West Point Plaza, the commercial triangle just east of Bridgehaven Drive. Bater was incoherent, did not know where she was or how she had gotten there, and at one point tried to walk away, though Gamarra judged her injuries to be so severe that “she would suffer further physical injuries and possibly death if she did not receive medical attention,” according to his report.
Gamarra placed Bater in protective custody until he could further investigate the incident, and Bater was subsequently transported to Florida Hospital Flagler.
One witness at the scene told Gamarra that at one point he saw a white man at the wheel of a Chevy van stationed right next to Bater, who was on the ground, but that once the witness approached the van, the man drove away. The witness had the van’s license number. It came back to Bater as the owner.
Bater later began piecing together information for Gamarra. She told him she believed she was with her boyfriend, James D. Forbes Jr., a construction worker. She and Forbes had been drinking at Smiles Bar off Old Kings Road at around 3 p.m. Bater could not remember what time they left the bar. She thought Forbes may have fled to a Palm Coast address on Laramie Drive, where his parents live.
Bater had a large contusion to the left side of her head and an abrasion above her left eye, an abrasion consistent with road rash, or the scraping of the skin against a rough surface, on her left shoulder, swelling and bruising to her right eye, a large contusion to her left arm, near the elbow, and minor abrasions on her hands. Her legs revealed a large contusion and minor laceration to her inner left shin, abrasions to her outer left ankle and more severe abrasions that started on her outer shin and extended above her knee and lacerations to her outer and inner right knee, as well as bruising to her lower right leg.
“All abrasions appeared to have been consistent with abrasions caused by road rash,” the report states. “Bater’s left inner leg also appeared to have markings consistent with tire tracks indicating that she was run over by a vehicle.” Further evaluation of the injuries led to the conclusion that Bater had been dragged by a vehicle for an unknown distance, causing the abrasions and road rash, that as she was letting go of the vehicle she fell to the ground and was run over by the vehicle, according to the police report. “Bater most likely lost consciousness and suffered head trauma causing temporary memory loss,” the report states.
Bater told Gamarra that Forbes had “absolutely no permission to use her vehicle,” especially since his license is not valid.
Sgt. Carl Spath went to the Laramie Drive home, where the Chevy van was located in the driveway. Forbes was there and agreed, after being read his Miranda rights, to speak with Spath without an attorney. He said Bater had driven him to West Point Plaza to pick up his wheelbarrow. They went drinking. They got in an argument. Forbes told the sergeant that the argument involved Bater wanting to take the vehicle and leave Forbes there.
While Bater was in possession of her vehicle, “Forbes forcibly removed the keys from Ms. Bater and stated that he drove off,” the report states. Spath asked Forbes whether he just left Bater there. Forbes replied, according to the report: “Yea, that bitch was gonna leave me there.”
Forbes was arrested and charged with grand theft auto, aggravated domestic battery and driving on a suspended license. He remained at the Flagler County jail Friday morning, on $7,500 bond.