San Diego

Woman Accused of Running Over Good Samaritan Arrested: PD

The victim's wife said her husband was just trying to save a little girl from a lashing and ended up being run over by an SUV

A neighbor who tried to intervene when he saw a woman physically disciplining her younger sister was run over multiple times by that woman Wednesday in Chollas View, San Diego police said.

San Diego Police Department Lt. Ricky Radasa said the neighbor witnessed an older sister allegedly beating her younger sister in the parking lot of an apartment complex at 300 47th St. He called police just after 2 p.m. to report the incident.

Witnesses told police the older sister, now identified as Tantrina Spencer-Simmons, 24, was using a belt to hit her younger sister, who is 8 years old. 

Rasada said the incident between the sisters started in their home and continued outside.

Police do not believe the child was in any danger; Radasa described the altercation as "just two sisters getting into it."

However, a neighbor -- identified later by his wife as James Shank, 50 -- saw the sisters in the parking lot and tried to intervene.

Minutes later, another witness called police to report that Spencer-Simmons had hit Shank with her SUV after he approached her.

Police said Spencer-Simmons had placed her little sister in the SUV before getting herself into the driver's seat. At that point, Shank walked up to the vehicle and confronted Spencer-Simmons about the beating.

Shank was standing in the parking lot near Spencer-Simmons' SUV when the situation took a violent turn.

Radasa confirmed Spencer-Simmons ran over Shank two to three times and dragged him an unknown distance. Investigators said she "rapidly accelarated" and "intentionally" ran over him.

Spencer-Simmons then took off, fleeing through the parking lot and then southbound on 47 Street. Police released a description of the woman and began searching for her.

Hearing the suspect was known to travel across the U.S.-Mexico border, police feared she might flee south. They notified U.S. Customs and Border Protection to be on the lookout for the suspect and her white Mitsubishi SUV.

By 8:30 p.m., SDPD officials confirmed Spencer-Simmons had been arrested along the 4500 block of Market Street, about a half-mile away from the scene of the hit-and-run.

Meanwhile, Shank was severely injured in the hit-and-run. Rasada said the victim was taken to the hospital with a head injury, broken bones and other injuries.

Speaking exclusively to NBC 7, Shank's wife, Zina Salsbury, told NBC 7 her husband's arm was broken and so badly mangled, it might have to be amputated. Salsbury also said Shank had to have emergency surgery to repair a broken pelvis suffered in the hit-and-run.

Salsbury said she couldn't imagine why Spencer-Simmons would go to such great lengths to hurt someone.

"You just can't help people anymore. There is evil people out there," she lamented.

Neighbors said Spencer-Simmons doesn't live at the home where the altercation began but often visits. According to police, she might be living out of her SUV.

Salsbury told NBC 7 she hopes the punishment for Spencer-Simmons is swift.

"I want her to get what is coming to her because God is going to take care of her and it is not going to be good," she said.

According to Rasada, there were several cooperating witnesses at the scene. He said investigators are also looking at evidence from cameras at a nearby trolley station that may help police piece together what happened.

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