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Man charged with deliberately driving van into Republican Party of Duval voter registration tent faces jury Wednesday

Police say Gregory Williams Loel Timm, 28, hit the gas as he charged a Republican voter tent last year, making the workers jump out of the way to avoid getting hit.

JACKSONVILLE, Fla. — The trial for a Jacksonville man accused of driving his van into a tent housing the Republican Part of Duval County's voter registration tent in February of 2020 started Wednesday. 

According to a police report, Gregory Williams Loel Timm, 28, hit the gas as he approached the tent, and the volunteers had to jump out of the way to avoid getting hit on Feb. 8. No one was injured.

The incident happened at the Walmart at 11900 Atlantic Blvd. in Kernan Village. Timm was charged with two counts of aggravated assault on a person 65 years of age or older, one count of criminal mischief and driving with a suspended license. 

Wednesday, the State called several witnesses, most of whom spoke about their shock, confusion and fear on that day last year. Liura Collins, 65-years-old, was the state's first witness. She is also listed in the incident report as one of the victims. 

Collins said Timm waved and smiled as he drove up slowly to the tent. She thought he was going to park in the spot next to the tent, Collins said. When Timm's bumper hit the pole of the ten, however, Collins said she screamed for him to stop. She testified that she thought maybe he didn't realize at first he had hit the pole because he was distracted waving at her.

When he didn't stop and instead drove into the tent then "gunned his engine" and drove away, she realized the act was intentional, Collins said. She told the court she felt "definitely threatened," and was afraid. Collins is a member of the Republican Party of Duval's executive committee. 

Timm recorded the incident, a video show to jurors Wednesday. He also recorded an expletive-laced video beforehand. In that video, filmed across the parking lot from the tent, Timm said in part, "these idiots have their f***ing Trump tents set up. I’m waiting for them to walk away from the table and I’m going to f***ing run it over. This will be fun.”

Timm was seen taking notes at times during the first day of the trial. He also perked up when the State started questioning witnesses. His public defender told jurors Timm never wanted to hurt anyone. He said the Trump signs "offended him," and he "did something really stupid and illegal." He contended Timm is guilty of criminal mischief, but not aggravated assault.

Other witnesses who testified Wednesday seconded that they too felt threatened, including Geraldine Woodham. Woodham is a member of the Party's executive committee as well. She was volunteering at the voter registration event. Woodham said she yelled for the second victim, Nina Williams, to get out of the way when she saw the van. Woodham said she believes if she didn't yell, Williams would've been hit.

The third witness of the day was Constance Hill, a volunteer at the voter registration event. Hill told the courtroom she was scared for those at the event that day due to Timm's actions. 

The final witness Wednesday was Margaret Hartman, the treasurer for the Party. She spoke about how much the cost in damages was when it came to the tent, chairs and other items destroyed. 

A couple of the witnesses testified that it took police more than an hour to respond.

The Republican Party of Duval County issued a statement today reading in part:, "the Republican Party of Duval County stands with the victims and their families. We demand justice, trust our jury system and stand for the rule of law.”

According to the Jacksonville Sheriff's Office, Timm allegedly stopped driving at one point and took a video with his cell phone before driving away. The police report said the attack may have been politically motivated. The report stated Timm told detectives he did not like former President Donald Trump.

The story gained national attention, including from former President Trump and other lawmakers.

First Coast News' Kailey Tracy will be in the courtroom and have updates throughout the trial. You can follow her on Twitter, @KaileyTracy.

Jacksonville Sheriff's Office released an incident report stating what reportedly lead up to the incident.

"They (victims) both stated that the vehicle then accelerated towards them and the tent," the report states. "Both victims had to move out of the way quickly in order to prevent themselves from being struck by the vehicle. The suspect continued to drive and knocked over several chairs, tables and a tent."

The report states that the suspect then got out of the vehicle, took out his phone, "flipped them off," and drove away.

Police got a description of the vehicle and tracked it to Timm's home in the 2000 block of Brighton Bay Trail. He was arrested there and told police, "someone has to take a stand."

Court resumes 9 a.m. Thursday. 

RELATED: What we know about Gregory William Loel Timm, man accused of driving into Jacksonville Republican voter registration tent

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