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The Villages
Wednesday, January 19, 2022

Village of Fernandina man jailed in hit-and-run crash in The Villages

Village of Fernandina man jailed in hit-and-run crash
Bruce Pailet

A 56-year-old Village of Fernandina man was arrested on a drunk driving charge Tuesday in the parking lot of the Publix liquor store at Colony Plaza shopping center.

Sumter County sheriff’s deputies used their squad cars to block in a Mercedes at about 11:30 a.m. Tuesday. The Mercedes, driven by Bruce Stuart Pailet, was suspected to have been involved in a hit-and-run accident minutes earlier at the intersection of County Road 466A and Buena Vista Boulevard. The woman whose vehicle had been hit, told a deputy the Mercedes had backed into her vehicle and then sped away, according to the arrest report. She had followed the Mercedes to the liquor store.

The first deputy on the scene, parked his squad car behind the Mercedes. Pailet came out of the liquor store, got into the Mercedes and attempted to back out, even though the deputy’s squad car was blocking his exit.

The deputy shouted at Pailet to stop, but Pailet smiled and waved through his rolled-down window, the arrest report indicated. A second deputy arrived and used his squad car to block in the other end of the Mercedes.

The Mercedes appeared to have a fresh scratch with white paint from the woman’s vehicle. The Mercedes also appeared to have extensive scratching and scuffing on the rims and tires indicating the vehicle had been in contact with curbs.

A deputy asked Pailet if he had been drinking. Pailet said he had not.

Pailet failed field sobriety exercises. He was booked on a charge of driving under the influence at the Sumter County Detention Center. Bond was set at $500.

He had no previous DUI arrests, according to the arrest report.

Sumter County Court records show that Pailet had pleaded guilty in May 2014 to a charge of careless driving. He had been assessed a total of $166 in fines and court costs in that case.


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