Woman, 92, asking to get out of prison for hit-and-run that injured 2 bicyclists

Woman, 92, asking to get out of prison for hit-and-run that injured 2 bicyclists

(As originally published with additional photos, Tue, February 20th 2024 at 8:18 PM)

THE VILLAGES, Fla. (TND) — Two people out on a bike ride ended up in the hospital after an elderly woman in a Mercedes struck, and one of them ended up damaging her hood and windshield.

That clue helped solve the near-tragedy that happened on Oct. 30, 2020.

A Florida Highway Patrol trooper was dispatched to the scene of a hit-and-run crash where he found two damaged bicycles.

Sumter County deputies told him the man and woman riding them were taken to the hospital, and the woman “had sustained serious traumatic injuries,” according to the arrest report.

One witness said a white Mercedes “collided with the rear” of one bike and the car “was operated by an elderly [woman] who had walked with a cane outside the vehicle after the collision.”

Another witness said “one of the cyclists had traveled up onto the hood and into the windshield of the vehicle. He stated the female exited the vehicle and briefly walked around the scene, then re-entered the vehicle and continued” driving.

Neither had license plate information but the trooper put word out and got a response, almost a week later. Somebody with the community watch “had located video with clear screenshots of a white Mercedes in the area on the date of the crash.”

She had the license plate information and found the car was registered to Marilyn Jean Hamilton.

The trooper wrote about visiting Hamilton, who “was courteous and helpful during my investigation.

“I asked Miss Hamilton if she owned a white Mercedes. She explained she did; however, the Mercedes dealer from Gainesville had picked the vehicle up from her residence to fix the vehicle.

“When I questioned her about the damage, she explained the windshield damage and the front bumper.

“When I questioned her about what caused the damage to her vehicle, she stated, ‘I know I messed up and I am sorry. I didn’t know what to do. I was scared.’”

The trooper called the dealer and said not to touch the car until another trooper checked it out.

According to that trooper, “The damage is consistent with colliding with a bicycle and the right side of the windshield has crush damage consistent of a collision with a person.”

Then, “I asked Miss Hamilton if she was involved in a crash on 10/30/2020 involving two bicyclists.

Woman, 92, asking to get out of prison for hit-and-run that injured 2 bicyclists
Marilyn Jean Hamilton (from left) was charged with 2 counts of leaving the scene of a crash involving serious bodily injury in 2020, pleaded no contest in 2022, and was transferred to state prison in 2023. (Sumter Co. Sheriff’s Office | Fla. Dept. of Corrections)

“She stated, ‘Yeah but I couldn’t move because a big red truck was to my left. I didn’t know what to do.’

“I asked Miss Hamilton why she left the scene instead of waiting for law enforcement.

“She stated, ‘I was so scared. I just wanted to go home. Oh my god I am so sorry. I feel so bad.’”

Hamilton, then 89, was arrested and charged with two counts of leaving the scene of a crash involving serious bodily injury. Both were felonies. She also got a ticket for careless driving, and was released from jail less than four hours after she was booked, in lieu of $10,000 bond.

Marilyn Jean Hamilton's Judgment documents, Dec. 20, 2022. by Lenny Cohen on Scribd

The case wound its way through the judicial system for more than two years until Hamilton pleaded no contest to the charges on Dec. 20, 2022, turned herself in, and was sentenced to five years on each count to be served concurrently, followed by five years of supervised probation.

Two weeks later, she was transferred over to a state prison in the next county.

Marilyn Jean Hamilton's Motion for Limited Furlough, Jan. 3, 2023. by Lenny Cohen on Scribd

The day before, her lawyer had filed a motion for limited furlough “so that she may get her affairs in order prior to serving the remainder of her sentence.”

Order on Marilyn Jean Hamilton's Motion for Limited Furlough, Jan. 10, 2023. by Lenny Cohen on Scribd

A judge denied it a week later, writing that “Hamilton is no longer in the custody of the Sumter County Detention Center but has been transferred to the Florida Department of Corrections.”

Marilyn Jean Hamilton's Motion to Reduce Sentence, June 12, 2023. by Lenny Cohen on Scribd

Hamilton’s lawyer filed another motion in June to reduce her sentence. Hamilton wrote, “At the time of the traffic accident where two bikers were injured, I was in severe pain due to arthritis in my left hip. … The sun was extremely bright that day.”

She also quoted the highway patrol trooper who “said that the bikers should have been on the golf path and not in the street.”

Order on Marilyn Jean Hamilton's Motion to Reduce Sentence, June 23, 2023. by Lenny Cohen on Scribd

That motion was dismissed 11 days later with the judge ruling the motion came too late.

“The court does not have the jurisdiction to modify defendant’s sentence,” she wrote. “Modification of a legal sentence could only be done within 60 days after the imposition of the sentence.”

Marilyn Jean Hamilton's letter requesting documents, Nov. 29, 2023. by Lenny Cohen on Scribd

Finally, in late November, she started trying another path to freedom. Hamilton wrote to the court clerk in Sumter County, asking for certified documents for her clemency application.

As of now, if that doesn’t work out, her release date will be Aug. 20, 2027. Hamilton would be almost 96.

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