Wednesday, March 17, 2004

Brothers' actions called heroic

Helped woman in Nov. abuse incident

By Nathan Eagle
The Cincinnati Enquirer

Rachel Hutzel

MASON - Brothers Sean and Craig Lough were driving together from their homes in Pennsylvania to their mother's home in Kentucky for Thanksgiving.

On the way, they became heroes.

Crossing an overpass near Ohio 741 and Interstate 71 in Mason, Sean Lough, 21, spotted a stopped car in the middle of the road below. Two arms were flailing out of the open driver's side door, he recalled.

The brothers, along with Craig Lough's wife, decided immediately to stop and help.

"The two men from Pennsylvania who stopped to help a woman in trouble are true heroes," Warren County Prosecutor Rachel Hutzel said. "They stopped this from possibly becoming a much more serious incident."

They helped a 21-year-old Maineville woman escape from an abusive boyfriend, Christopher Lingenfelter. The Middletown man, 21, faces sentencing March 23 on charges of felony abduction and felony domestic violence after pleading guilty last month.

In the early morning of Nov. 27, Lingenfelter physically and verbally abused his girlfriend, accusing her of cheating on him, court records say.

"Over several hours, Lingenfelter had punched, head-butted and restrained his girlfriend from leaving or calling for help, records say. At noon, he demanded she drive him to his mother's house, and continued the abuse along the way while threatening to kill her if she stopped the car to seek help, according to records.

But she did stop.

Sean Lough jumped out of his car and freed the girlfriend from Lingenfelter's grasp. He then kept Lingenfelter from his girlfriend while Craig Lough flagged down a car to call 911, reports say.

"It was instinct. If a family member or loved one of mine was in that situation, I'd want someone to do the same thing," Sean Lough said. "We were just brought up that you don't hit women."

While waiting for police to arrive, the brothers ignored the demands from Lingenfelter to leave, that it was "none of their business," Sean Lough recalled.

"I don't really think of it (as a Good Samaritan act). I just do things," he said. "I don't consider it heroic. It was just something that needed to be done."

Enquirer reporter Janice Morse contributed.

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