U.S. Press Freedom Tracker

Florida TV correspondent nearly run over by man upset with her reporting

Incident Details

Date of Incident
January 5, 2017
Cape Coral, Florida


Was the journalist targeted?
WINK News/Channing Frampton

A screenshot from a video filmed by Channing Frampton shows Nicole Valdes immediately after being clipped by a driver upset with her reporting.

— WINK News/Channing Frampton
May 11, 2017 - Update

Man who hit TV reporter with car sentenced for assault

The man who hit reporter Nicole Valdes with his car in Cape Coral, Florida, was sentenced for the assault on May 11, 2017, according to court documents reviewed by the U.S. Press Freedom Tracker.

Valdes and cameraman Channing Frampton were attempting to interview a woman accused of child cruelty for WINK-TV in January 2017 when they were approached by Walter Edward Crappse III, who The News-Press identified as the woman’s son.

Crappse began yelling and swearing at them, accusing them of invading his privacy and trespassing, and demanded that they turn off their cameras and stop the interview.

Crappse then drove his car at high speed toward Valdes and Frampton, clipping Valdes. WINK reported that neither journalist was hurt.

Under the terms of a plea agreement, Crappse pleaded guilty to a charge of aggravated assault with a deadly weapon and was sentenced to one year of community control (a strict form of supervised probation), four years of regular probation, 100 hours of community service and $200 in restitution to WINK.

He was also ordered to have no contact with Valdes or Frampton, had his driver's license suspended, and was required to undergo psychological treatment, including an anger management program.

The state declined to prosecute a second charge of aggravated battery.

January 5, 2017

While attempting to interview a woman accused of child cruelty in Cape Coral, Florida on Jan. 5, 2017, journalist Nicole Valdes was hit and nearly run over by an angry neighbor of the woman, who drove his car at Valdes and cameraman Channing Frampton.

Valdes and Frampton are journalists at WINK News, a local CBS affiliate in southern Florida.

A video filmed by Frampton that was later broadcast on WINK shows Frampton and Valdes attempting to interview Janet Crappse, the woman at the center of the story, when a man across the street begins yelling and swearing at them. He accuses the journalists of invading his privacy and trespassing, and repeatedly demands that they turn off their cameras and stop interviewing his neighbor. Later in the video, the man can be seen driving his car at high speed toward Frampton and Valdes.

The car clipped Valdes, who sustained no injuries. Frampton was not hit.

The man behind the wheel was later arrested.

The U.S. Press Freedom Tracker catalogues press freedom violations in the United States. Email tips to [email protected].