The most harrowing moment for Lindsey Van Wingerden during the alleged brutal attack on her family Friday night came when she managed to get away from a mob of females who were beating her to rush to the aid of her father, NASCAR veteran Mike Wallace, as he lay unconscious on the ground.
“My husband was holding my father’s head in his hands,” the 31-year-old event planner tells PEOPLE. “They were both covered in blood. I didn’t recognize either one of their faces. When I got to my dad, I kept saying, ‘Dad, wake up! Wake up!’ He was laying on his side and wasn’t moving at all.
“At that point there, I thought my dad was dead.”
The frightening attack came just before 11 p.m. on Friday as Wallace, 57, his wife, daughter and son-in-law were leaving a Rascal Flatts concert at the PNC Music Center in Charlotte, North Carolina, where they regularly attend events.
They had parked in a reserved stall in the Premier Parking Section behind a group of people that included the three North Carolina men who allegedly attacked them.
Nathan Lucas, 22, and Randolph Mangum, 24, were arrested and charged with simple assault, according to the Charlotte Police Department. They each posted a $1,000 bond.
Paul Lucas, 29, was charged with assault on a female and was released on a $1,500 secured bond. All three are scheduled to appear in Mecklenburg County Court on July 22.
While Van Wingerden says more than three people attacked the family, the three men were the only ones arrested “because the others scattered when the police got there,” she says.
Wallace Speaks Out
When Wallace and his family arrived at the venue hours earlier, he says that he said hello to the group after they parked the SUV. “I always say hello to everybody,” he tells PEOPLE. “I talk to everybody.”
The group seemed friendly, says Wallace, especially since “one of the kids who ended up attacking us later was kind of humorous when he waved us into our parking spot.”
All that changed when Wallace and his family returned to their SUV after the show.
Since his daughter’s SUV was parked up against the back of one of the men’s trucks, Wallace had to pass in between the vehicles to get to the passenger side, where he planned to sit for the ride home.
“As I’m walking there, I said to one of the guys, ‘Hey, man. How was the concert?’ ” Wallace says.
“All of a sudden one of the people who assaulted us started screaming and cussing. I don’t know if it was directed toward us or randomly toward everyone, but he said, ‘Shut the (expletive) up you (expletive) and other things.
“I said, ‘Dude. What is wrong with you? What’s the problem?’
“The next thing I remember is being punched in the face,” he says. “I felt pain that I have never felt in my life. One of the three proceeded to knock me out. He shoved my front tooth back, damaged my eye. My teeth are all messed up. They cut the back of my head.
“I don’t remember anything until I woke up.”
While he was unconscious, his daughter, son-in-law and wife tried to stop the three men from kicking him repeatedly in the face.
When Van Wingerden tried to pull the attackers off of her father and shield him with her own body, “that’s when I got pulled by a mob of eight women who was with them,” she says. “One of them had her hand around my throat. Another one grabbed my hair and pushed me down to the ground. They were kicking and kicking me. I was laying in the fetal position and yelling for help. I looked over at my dad, who was on the ground, and I just saw these guys kicking my dad over and over.”
When Van Wingerden’s mother came to her daughter’s aid, “they went after my mom,” who was left bruised and battered, she says. They also attacked her husband when he tried to intervene, she says.
Wallace says that when he woke up and saw his daughter laying on the ground after she had been pushed down again, his heart broke.
“I am a father, first and foremost,” he says. “To see my daughter who is a little bitty, nice, petite young lady who wouldn’t harm a fly on the ground and these animals beating on her was hard.”
When Van Wingerden managed to free herself again from the mob who was attacking her, she ran to her father’s side again, begging the three men to quit, saying, ” ‘He had triple bypass surgery! Please stop!’ But they didn’t. They just kept going and going.”
While they were kicking her on the ground, a friend of hers who came upon the scene “even yelled to them to stop, saying I am pregnant, which I am not, to get them to stop, but they still kept kicking me.”
While Van Wingerden was trying to help her father, one of the men “was swinging at me,” she says. “Then two other guys came over to fight my husband and dad, so it was five on two. It was a bad deal.”
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The family finally returned home at 4 a.m., after she and her father were treated and released from a local hospital where they were taken by ambulance.
“We sat on the porch and cried and prayed,” she says. “We said, ‘We are beaten and bruised but we will heal. Thank you for allowing us to be here.'”
She adds: “If we weren’t all together, I don’t think my dad would be here now.”
On Wednesday, the PNC Music Pavilion announced that it was ending its service contract with Lucas Lawn and Landscaping, after learning that one of its employees – Paul Lucas, who is the son of the owner – was allegedly involved in the attack.
“We were saddened by the regrettable events that took place on Friday, June 17,” PNC said in a statement. “Upon learning that the offensive actions were taken by patrons who also happened to be employed by Lucas Landscaping, one of our service providers, we took swift and immediate action to terminate services provided by Lucas Landscaping at PNC Music Pavilion.”
The landscaping company issued a news release through its attorney, Kenneth Swain, saying that it has been hit by a barrage of negative social media posts since the alleged attack became national news.
“An employee of our company was accused of being involved in an assault upon one Mike Wallace and Lindsey Wallace Van Wingerden,” the release says.
“Since that time Mr. Wallace and various other individuals have chosen to post statements, comments and opinions regarding the circumstances on social media websites.
“This has resulted in verbal attacks upon our business, suggestions that our clients abandon our company and innuendo regarding our business that we believe is designed to both frustrate the proper administration of justice within our court system and prevent our company from continuing to do business where we employ over 70 individuals who work hard and depend upon their jobs to support themselves and their families.”
The statement continued: “The efforts being made to disparage our business and negatively impact its hardworking employees is both disturbing and uncalled for.
“This is, in our opinion, a mechanism being used to point blame at those who had no involvement in the matter and simultaneously, deflect any inquiry into the actions and behavior that may have occurred at the time the situation arose by those making the accusations.”
Wallace says he is beyond grateful for the outpouring of support he and his family have received from all over the country.
But he and his family say they don’t want anyone to retaliate against the attackers.
“I understand the frustration and the anger because we are living it every single bit of the day right now,” says Van Wingerden. “We are hoping the courts take it into their hands and that proper justice is served. Nothing good comes out of violence.”
When Wallace spoke to PEOPLE on Tuesday, he said he was still trying to cope with the events that unfolded Friday night. “I have had my better days, to be honest with you. I’m a little worse for wear, but I’m going to survive it all. I’ll be OK in due time.”
The close-knit family is still shaken up. “The emotional side of this is just as bad as the beating,” he says.
“My family and I are going to have to deal with this for months, with just the healing process alone.
Van Wingerden says her car is still covered in blood. “I haven’t been able to wash it because I haven’t been able to leave the house because it’s physically, emotionally and mentally exhausting. The fact that I am at my parents’ house today is big.”
Adds Wallace: “From a family perspective, we will make it as good as we can make it. We have a little mental healing to do to get the images out of our minds. I have a ten-month recovery ahead of me but we will make the best of it.”
He says he keeps going over the events in his mind to try to figure out what triggered the attack.
“If I were listening to somebody else tell me this, I would say, ‘So what’s the missing part of the equation? Was there something else that started this?'” There wasn’t. We have been going to that amphitheater for years and never had a problem. I don’t know what prompted them to do what they did,” he says.
“I asked my family, ‘Help me remember everything. If I provoked this in some way tell me because I have no idea why we had to go through this.’ They said, ‘You did nothing wrong. If anything, you just talked to people,’ which I do all the time.”
Wallace said he and his family are talking about the incident publicly “because we don’t want this to happen to anyone else. We want everybody to be aware of the environment they are in. As a father, after something like this, I have concerns for other people and their children.
“I would prefer never to see anyone have to go through what we did,” he adds.