Terry Collier is a picture of the All-American Grandma. She cooks, gardens, and occasionally enjoys traveling. She never had even a hint of criminal history until last week, when she and her granddaughter got into a big spat over finishing homework.
Collier’s 18-year-old granddaughter, Felicia, already has had a difficult year. She was attempting to finish her senior year of high school online after being suspended from Catholic school in Massachusetts. When she asked to come to her grandmother’s house in Largo, Floridato use the computer, Terry Collier gladly obliged. When the teen got calls to join her friends, she opted to leave rather than complete her assignments. Grandma Terry asked her to finish the homework before she left. It didn’t take much to escalate.
“She kept repeating the F-word to me, over and over, about the whole family”, says the elder Collier. “She went on and on, and I got so upset, I slapped her across the face.” Collier says Felicia “uses the word like ‘the'”, and while she knows its common for young adults now, she confesses. “It’s not my language, and truly hurts me”. Terry reports that Felicia’s language was an issue in her getting the boot from her former school, citing that she told a nun to _-off, while Felicia justifies it was “not exactly that way”. Collier also detailed that Felicia grabbed her wrists and struck her on the cheek during the scuttle. Felicia called police to her grandmother’s home, but tried to convince officers not to arrest her granny.
“Two officers came to each side of me, and before I knew it, they have arms, and they said ‘You’re under arrest’ and they cuff me.” Terry was the subject of much inquiry during her first and only night in the Pinellas County jail. “They all came up to me asking ‘What are you in for?’ while she shared a cell with other inmates.
Felicia evidently regrets both her choice of words and the police call, because this week, she signed an order at Grandma Terry’s first court appearance that she would not prosecute, and another that allows her to have contact with her grandmother. Walter, Terry Collier’s husband, and the grandfather in the mix, is more than conflicted by the ordeal, saying, “I think it’s ridiculous. We’re hurt so bad. I’m so scared she’s going to have a heart attack or a stroke over this. She doesn’t sleep. She bursts into tears, and I’m almost doing it now.”
Terry and Walter only live in Largo part-time, and hope to return to their roots in New Hampshire soon. The case is expected to be declined for any further prosecution, especially since the added attention from local radio DJ Bubba the Love Sponge, who came to Grandma’s defense. Hopefully time and space can begin some healing.
A word spoken in anger, whether four-letter or directed to police dispatch, has big ramifications. The Collier family will likely choose words carefully in the future