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Friday, June 11, 2021

Ocala man charged with driving vehicle at man in motel parking lot

Efrain Mendoza

An Ocala man is accused of almost running over a man with his vehicle during an altercation in the parking lot of the Cross Country Motel.

Efrain Mendoza, 46, who lives at the motel on 5100 S. Pine Ave., was charged with aggravated assault with a deadly weapon without intent to kill.

The victim told a Marion County sheriff’s deputy Tuesday night he was having a dispute with a tenant who was moving out and refused to pay the remainder of his rent. After an intense argument, the tenant drove away from the victim and to the front entrance of the motel, according to the sheriff’s office report.

The victim said Mendoza, who is the tenant’s cousin, started revving the engine of his red Dodge Charger and then accelerated the vehicle directly towards the victim, forcing him to jump out of the way. The victim said Mendoza got out of his vehicle and yelled, “I should have killed you.” The victim said he was afraid he was going to be seriously injured, the report said.

Interviewed separately, three residents who witnessed the incident gave statements that matched the victim’s account. All three believed Mendoza was going to run over the victim, according to the report.

Mendoza was arrested Wednesday morning and taken to the Marion County Jail, where he was released hours later on $2,000 bond. No court information was available.