Hit-and-run suspect rejects plea deal

Last summer, prosecutors say, defendant Lon Alan Brown went on a reckless hit-and-run rampage.  They say he hit seven cars from Pinellas to Hillsborough County.

"It was so loud, so scary,” recalled Cristina Pante, who was in the passenger seat when Brown slammed into her fiancé’s pickup, knocking off a big chunk of it.

But the one-man crime spree continued.  And investigators say the situation could have been deadly for Brown's sixth hit-and-run victim near the Westshore exit.

The woman got out of her car, thinking she was exchanging information. That’s when, they say, Brown beat her and stole her car.

Now, 10 months later, Brown was ready to take a deal from the state and skip a trial. Brown sat in the courtroom for hours waiting for his attorney to show up. When he finally did, the judge had already pushed back the hearing to the afternoon.

Later, Brown was late, and when he did show up, witnesses say, he smelled like alcohol and suddenly had cold feet and back out of the deal. Hillsborough Judge Tom Barber wanted to make sure.

"Don't look at your lawyer, this is on you,” he said.  “You tell me what you wanna do."

Brown told the judge, " I'm not taking it.”

And, with that, he backed out of a five-year prison sentence. Judge Barber set a trial date for this June adding, "We'll see what happens.”