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The Villages
Saturday, July 2, 2022

Village of Fernandina man sentenced in hit-and-run crash

Bruce Pailet
Bruce Pailet

A Villager of Fernandina man has been sentenced to six months probation in connection with a June 2 hit-and-run accident.

Bruce Pailet entered a plea of no contest on Aug. 11 to charges of leaving the scene of an accident and reckless driving. He has also been assessed $1,459 in court costs.

Pailet, who was 56 at the time of the accident, initially was arrested on a drunk driving charge June 2 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 Pailet’s Mercedes at about 11:30 a.m. that day. He had been believed 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. 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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