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The Villages
Wednesday, September 27, 2023

Villager who crashed into sign gets break in drunk driving case

Diane Walch Powell
Dianne Walch Powell

A Villager with a nearly empty bottle of wine in her vehicle who crashed into the sign at the entrance to the Village of Linden has gotten a break in a drunk driving case.

Dianne Walch Powell, 71, of the Village of Monarch Grove, pleaded no contest this past week in Sumter County Court to a reduced charge of reckless driving. She originally had been charged with driving under the influence. She will lose her driver’s license for three months, has been placed on probation for six months and has been ordered to perform 50 hours of community service.

She had been driving a blue Nissan Rogue at about 8 p.m. April 4 when the vehicle was found on Reagan Road near the intersection with Corbin Trail, according to an arrest report from the Wildwood Police Department. The vehicle had been driven on two flat tires, had a smashed headlight and other damage.

Powell said she was heading home after shopping at Publix at Magnolia Plaza. She was “exhibiting slow movements and lethargic speech,” leading a police officer to suspect that Powell had been drinking. A check revealed Powell’s license had been suspended on March 22. She denied any knowledge that her license had been suspended.

EMS were summoned to evaluate Powell, and at about the same time Community Watch arrived on the scene and reported damage to the rock wall and lighting at the entrance to the Village of Linden. Damage was estimated at $1,500.

An “almost empty bottle of Yellowtail Pinot Grigio wine” was found just behind the driver’s seat of Powell’s vehicle.   

She was transported to the UF Health-The Villages Hospital freestanding Emergency Room at Brownwood. She refused to provide a breath sample.

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