Charges upgraded to 5 counts attempted murder in hit-and-run case

INDIAN RIVER COUNTY – A Vero Beach High School sophomore who is accused of running over five people after a party is now facing more serious charges – five counts of attempted murder.

The teen, identified as Vero Beach High sophomore 16-year-old John Garrett Call Jr., was arrested last month following a fight at a party that authorities say ended when he drove a large vehicle into a crowd of people.

Call originally faced two felony counts of attempted murder and three felony counts of aggravated battery with a vehicle. The State Attorney’s Office has since upgraded the aggravated battery charges to attempted murder.

Call faces two new charges, as well, including felony leaving the scene of a crash involving personal injury and felony driving without a license involving death or serious injury, according to new documents released by the Sheriff’s Office.

Two teenage boys were seriously injured in the incident. One was airlifted to Lawnwood Regional Medical Center for treatment. He suffered back, neck, leg and rib injuries. Another was treated for multiple broken bones.

Three others also sustained injuries after being clipped by the vehicle as it drove through an active fire pit and the crowd, according to the Sheriff’s Office.

A passenger in Call’s vehicle told investigators that when he asked Call why he had driven into the crowd, Call responded: “They jumped me so I ran them over,” the arrest report recounts.

When questioned by authorities, Call first told investigators that, in a daze, he got into his vehicle after having been jumped and that he was driving slowly to find his friend – the passenger. He said that the others on the scene were hitting his vehicle as he drove slowly through. Once he picked up his passenger, he then left on 66th Avenue.

Call said he didn’t know he had hit anyone and that he didn’t report being jumped because he didn’t have a phone.

Once told what the passenger told investigators, though, Call changed his story, according to the Sheriff’s Office, and admitted telling the passenger he was going to run the teens over.

Call also said he did not mean to hurt anyone but could not explain how he would not have hurt anyone running them over with a 4,000-pound vehicle, the arrest report states.

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