Cellphone video, 911 calls released in tractor attack

Deputies: Howell Morris arrested after chasing down neighbor with tractor

ST. JOHNS COUNTY, Fla. – Cellphone video leading to the arrest of a man who deputies said chased down his neighbor on a tractor last month has been released by the State Attorney's Office.

The video, recorded by the neighbor's wife, who also called 911, ultimately led to the arrest of Howell Morris, according the St. Johns County Sheriff's Office. 

Morris, 72, was booked June 19 into the St. Johns County jail on a charge of aggravated assault with a deadly weapon without intent to kill, a third-degree felony. He was released the next day after posting $2,500 bond, jail records show. 

The episode was filmed by the neighbor’s wife, who called 911 and provided cellphone video to authorities that ultimately led to the man’s arrest, according to a copy of his arrest report. 

WATCH: Uncut cellphone video of tractor chase

The cellphone video shows Scott Lynch running for his life as the tractor follows close behind. 

Lynch's wife recorded the video and called 911 twice. The Sheriff's Office released those 911 calls Monday.

911 Dispatcher: "And when you say he came after your husband with his tractor, did he chase him down?"
911 Caller: "Yeah. He chased him down on his tractor and my husband had to run, yes."

In the first 911 call, Lynch’s wife told dispatchers that the neighbor was after her husband because of a property dispute. 

Dispatcher: "OK, so he’s vandalizing your property?"
Caller: "Yeah. It’s our property. It’s our easement. He thinks he has right to it, but he’s destroying stuff on it and blocking our driveway."

Lynch, 53, told deputies the property dispute escalated when Morris climbed into his tractor, drove onto Lynch’s property and chased him down his driveway, yelling, “Run, fat [expletive]!”

Lynch said he ran for his life, fearing Morris would have run him over if he stopped. The chase came to an end when Lynch took refuge inside his garage and shut the door.

PREVIOUS STORY: St. Johns County man charged in neighbor's tractor attack

After reviewing the video, which the arrest report said showed Morris "steer the tractor toward the victim as he was running down his driveway," the deputy took Morris into custody. 

Online court records show Morris, a veteran, was ordered to have no contact with Lynch.

Morris and Lynch could not be reached for comment Monday evening. 

About the Author:

Corley Peel is a Texas native and Texas Tech graduate who covered big stories in Joplin, Missouri, Tulsa, Oklahoma and Jacksonville, Florida before returning to the Lone Star State. When not reporting, Corley enjoys hot yoga, Tech Football, and finding the best tacos in town.