Video released Wednesday by the Bartow County Sheriff’s Office shows the teenager standing in a parking space at the retailer as a 2007 Lexus SUV driven by Angie Cornett approaches. In the video, the SUV stops briefly before accelerating into the space, striking the girl in the right leg. Photos released by BCSO show black “road grime” in line with the SUV’s tires on the girl’s pants.
“From watching the video, it’s obvious that the pedestrian was standing there and the vehicle lurched forward and [the pedestrian had] to move out of the way very quickly,” BCSO Public Information Officer Sgt. Jonathan Rogers said during Wednesday’s press conference.
Rogers said the video is not clear on the impact or how the girl was struck.
According to the incident report, the complainant was standing in a parking spot in the Wal-Mart parking lot, saving the space for her brother. The complainant was standing in the parking space when Cornett drove down the aisle and attempted to enter the space occupied by the complainant.
When the complainant refused to leave the parking space, Cornett allegedly accelerated and struck the complainant with the front passenger tire of the vehicle Cornett was driving. Cornett denied striking the victim at the scene.
The deputy on scene stated in the report, “From observing the video and the marks on [complainant’s] leg, it was evident that the Lexus being driven by Angela was used with such velocity that it obviously endangered the bodily safety of [complainant]. Angela consciously disregarded a substantial and unjustifiable risk by striking [complainant] with her vehicle which constituted a gross deviation from the standard of care which a reasonable person would exercise in the same situation.”
Cornett was arrested Friday and charged with reckless conduct. She bonded out the same day.
“It is possible she could face additional charges,” Rogers said.
In an interview with The Daily Tribune News, Cornett denied all charges, alleging that the complainant leaned into her vehicle and brushed against the tire. Calling the incident as reported “bogus,” Cornett described the event as deliberately incriminating.
“My daughter and I were at Wal-Mart yesterday and we pulled into a parking space next to the buggies,” Cornett said. “While we’re halfway in the parking space, there was a girl standing there with a buggy and she leaned into my car and up against my car and gets dirt on her pants. I was at a standstill at that point because when I saw her I stopped.
“I backed out and got into the parking space across from it and called the police. ... The ambulance came, she refused medical treatment — there was nothing wrong with her, and in fact, afterwards she walked into the Wal-Mart laughing and continues her shopping.”
Rogers said the video shows otherwise.
“From watching the evidence in the video, I’m not buying [Cornett’s claims],” he said.
The victim was not breaking the law by standing in the parking space, Rogers said, and in a similar situation, those involved are advised to leave the situation.
“Obviously if you are in any kind of disagreement in public area like that, I would suggest you separate yourself from the whole scene,” he said.