Friday, Dec 19, 2014

Driver on trial for ramming, firing at others in 2009 Oldsmar rampage

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CLEARWATER -

All five people whose vehicles were rammed or shot at that night in 2009 were “scared to death,” in the words of a prosecutor.

One, though, could not articulate his fear.

Hyung K. Kim, a Korean with limited English, called 911 from his Toyota Corolla after a red Ford pickup smashed into his car and then its passenger pointed a shotgun at him. But unlike the other victims, he had trouble conveying his state of mind — even his whereabouts.

Kim was among the first witnesses to take the stand Monday as the trial of the man authorities say was wielding the shotgun started. If convicted, Todd Naylor, 36, faces a minimum of 20 years in prison, said Assistant State Attorney Scott Rosenwasser.

Naylor is charged with five counts of aggravated assault and one count of shooting into an occupied vehicle. The driver of the Ford 150, Jason Strauss, 38, pleaded guilty last year in the July 8, 2009, rampage in the Oldsmar area and was sentenced to 10 years in prison.

Kim, speaking through a translator, described how he was driving his car home on State Road 580 about 4 a.m. when he spotted a pickup in front of him. The truck was stopped, and a passenger got out. Frightened, Kim threw the car into reverse in an attempt to get away.

The passenger got back in the truck, and as Kim tried to drive off, the pickup gave chase, and eventually tried cutting off Kim several times until it smashed into the driver’s side of the car, forcing it onto a sidewalk.

Kim was unconscious for a few moments before he was awakened by a knocking on his window. A man was pointing a shotgun at him, telling him to “get up, get up, get up,” he testified. Kim hit the accelerator, but his car, which now had one flattened tired, wasn’t moving quickly.

“Open the door, open the door,” the assailant yelled, according to Kim’s testimony.

“I got scared … nervous, trying to push the accelerator, trying to get away from this guy,” Kim testified. “… I didn’t want to die.”

Naylor and Strauss then continued their rampage, Rosenwasser told jurors in his opening statement Monday. Two sisters, one a teenager, were delivering newspapers for their mother on Forest Lake Road when the pickup forced their Toyota RAV4 off the street, Rosenwasser said.

Then, Naylor fired on a van on Tampa Road, with a mother and daughter from Indiana inside.

While evading the truck, sometimes ducking, the daughter managed to get the first three characters on the truck’s license plate, and the pair was apprehended soon after.

Naylor’s defense attorney, Ben DeBerg, told jurors Naylor immediately confessed after he was caught, saying, “This is my fault.” He was drunk and had abused his prescription drugs, DeBerg said. He also suggested the victims’ testimony might be less than credible because they all underwent counseling after the attack.

Naylor also faces several charges stemming from accusations he pretended to be a legitimate supplier of helicopter parts, taking out advertisements in trade publications and online. He took tens of thousands of dollars from customers without providing the parts, authorities say.

His father, Richard Naylor, is in prison for torching his helicopter business on Calumet Street in Clearwater on June 23, 1998, because he was in over his head in a nationwide fraud.


sthompson@tampatrib.com

(727) 215-6504

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