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The Villages
Tuesday, January 31, 2023

Driver of Jaguar who allegedly hit Villages bicyclist behind bars

William Joseph Croop

A suspect who was allegedly driving a Jaguar that struck a Villager on a bicycle and fled the scene has been arrested.

William Joseph Croop, 59, of Orange Springs, was being held at the Sumter County Detention Center following his arrest Sunday on charges of hit and run, drug possession and possession of drug equipment.

Croop was reportedly behind the wheel of a silver 2003 Jaguar shortly before 7 a.m. Tuesday when his vehicle hit 61-year-old Ken Nevers of the Village of Fenney, who was riding in the multi-modal lane on Hillsborough Trail near the Manatee Recreation Center.

The arrest report for Croop has not yet been made available to the media, but the Florida Highway Patrol has confirmed he is the man who had been sought in the hit-and-run case.

Nevers suffered a broken rib, a separated shoulder, stitches to the forehead and lost a lot of skin. 

I was on Hillsborough on the far right of the golf cart lane, when I noticed a Jaguar behind me completely in the golf cart lane. The driver accelerated and mowed me down. I was right up against the curb and had no escape. I was told my head bounced off the windshield, splitting my helmet in half, as I rolled off the drivers side hood onto the pavement. The driver accelerated and never looked back,” he said.

Last week, 89-year-old Marilyn Jean Hamilton of the Village of Fernandina was arrested by the Florida Highway Patrol in the Oct. 30 hit-and-run crash that left 60-year-old Jessica Laube of the Village of Dunedin with a serious head injury. Her husband, 68-year-old Robert Hunter had been riding with her on Morse Boulevard and also was struck by Hamilton’s white Mercedes. 

Hamilton reportedly got out of the car, saw the crumpled cyclists on the roadway, got back in the Mercedes and drove away, according to witnesses and the FHP. The Mercedes had damage to the front and windshield. Hamilton’s 2014 Mercedes-Benz, was located at a repair facility in Gainesville, according to FHP.

All three of the injured Villagers are members of the Sumter Landing Bicycle Club, whose members are known to be extremely safety conscious.

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