Student beaten, car stolen after stopping to help woman he hit
After he got out of his car to help a woman he had accidentally hit with his car, an Eckerd College student was beaten by a small crowd early this morning in South St. Petersburg, according to police. Connor Gallagher, 20, was left lying in the road while someone rode off with his car, said St. Petersburg police spokesman Mike Puetz. A St. Petersburg police officer happened upon him while responding to a complaint of loud music in the neighborhood and dancing in the street, said Puetz. “It felt like a bad dream,” Gallagher said. “I was lucky someone called in a noise complaint.”Gallagher was taken to Bayfront Medical Center, where he was treated and released, Puetz said. He received eight stitches for a laceration to his eyebrow and suffered minor fractures to the bones in his face, Puetz said. Gallagher said he had packed all his belongings in his car and was planning to spend the night with his girlfriend before leaving for Kentucky in the morning. The woman Gallagher believes he struck with his 2003 Volkswagen Passat was near him when the officer arrived. She was standing up and holding her head. Tomeka Louis, 31, took a Band-aid and a bag of ice from paramedics but said a friend would take her to the hospital, Puetz said. She had a large bump on her head and scratches on the right side of her face. Gallagher, who lives on campus, was on his way to his girlfriend’s home in Gulfport at roughly 1:25 a.m. when he came upon a stopped car at 4150 15th Ave. S., Puetz said. When he attempted to drive around it, he felt the Passat strike something. Suspecting he had hit someone, he stopped his car, got out, and began calling 911, Puetz said. He spotted a woman he believed he had struck and began approaching her, to see if she was OK, when a man started yelling and hitting him, Puetz said. Gallagher tried getting back in his car and made it as far as the driver’s seat with the car in neutral and the key in the ignition, when he was dragged out of the car and attacked by a group, Puetz said. He landed on the ground and tried to curl up and cover his face to avoid serious injury, Puetz said. Gallagher wants to press charges, Puetz said.