Woman locks self in car to avoid abuse

OKEECHOBEE — A woman locked herself in her car to reportedly keep her children from witnessing the violent actions of her intoxicated and physically-abusive paramour.

Charmel Smith

Charmel Smith

As the woman barricaded herself in the car, Charmel Levon Smith allegedly tried to pry open a car door around 6 a.m. Sunday, June 12, with a spoon and a knife. He supposedly used a knife to ‘stab’ the car while threatening the woman, stated a report by Deputy Corporal Michael Hazellief, of the Okeechobee County Sheriff’s Office (OCSO).

Smith, 36, N.E. 30th Ave., was later arrested on a felony charge of aggravated assault with a deadly weapon and a misdemeanor charge of criminal mischief.

He is being held in the Okeechobee County Jail on a $21,000 bond.

According to Cpl. Hazellief’s report the argument started earlier in the evening when Smith wanted to “go out” and demanded the woman also go.

He apparently became physically aggressive so the woman acquiesced.

After they “closed down” one bar they went to an after hours establishment in the Douglas Park area, stated the deputy’s report. At some point the woman got away from Smith and returned home.

Smith showed up at the home later and reportedly started another confrontation and threatened her. In an attempt to protect her children, as well as herself, she left the home and locked herself in her car that was parked outside the home.

The woman’s three children were in the home at the time, indicated the report.

Cpl. Hazellief stated at some point Smith cracked the front windshield of the victim’s car, then tried to pry open her door with a spoon and a knife.

“(He) kept stabbing the vehicle with the knife as well, and making threats to harm her when he got inside the vehicle,” the deputy added.

When the woman’s 17-year-old son witnessed the attack on his mother, he ran to the car and his mom opened the passenger-side door while Smith was reportedly on the driver’s side. The teen then entered the car in hopes of protecting his mother.

Cpl. Hazellief also noted that the woman’s 11-year-old child told him Smith kept ramming the knife into the car’s fuel filler pipe as if he was trying to create sparks in order to set the car on fire.

Eric Kopp is a staff writer for the Okeechobee News

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