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The Villages
Thursday, November 24, 2022

Bicycle club calls for strict sentence for Villager who hit cyclists with her Mercedes

Marilyn Hamilton

The largest bicycle club in The Villages is calling for a strict sentence for a Villager who hit two cyclists with her Mercedes.

Marilyn Hamilton, 91, of the Village of Gilchrist is due back in Sumter County Court on Dec. 20 and her attorney has indicated Hamilton may be prepared to enter a plea. She could face sentencing at that time.

Hamilton was at the wheel of a white Mercedes-Benz on Oct. 30, 2020 when she hit Village of Dunedin residents Jessica Laube and Robert Hunter, who had been riding on Morse Boulevard. Hamilton remains free on bond though her driving privileges have been suspended.

Laube, an experienced cyclist, was airlifted to Ocala Regional Medical Center where she remained in the intensive care unit for 30 days. She suffered 17 broken ribs, a collapsed lung, paralyzed vocal chord, broken am, broken wrist, torn finger tendons and ligaments and brain injuries. Hunter was also injured, but his wife, who was following him, suffered the greatest impact from the Mercedes. Laube, who also taught yoga, continues to suffer from life-altering injuries.

Hamilton is charged with fleeing the scene of the accident. She later told an investigator she was afraid.

The Sumter Landing Bicycle Club, which counts Laube and Hunter among its members, has been closely following Hamilton’s court case. Members have gone on record to state that the hit-and-run crash has shaken the entire cycling community.

“Villages cyclists, who have to share the road with vehicles, are constantly aware that they are vulnerable, but this horrible crash with Jessica Laube and Bob Hunter has badly shaken them. It would be more than sad if Village seniors, who are trying to enjoy an active, healthy life in their well-earned retirement, feel they have to give up the health and social benefits of cycling to avoid sharing the road with highly dangerous, undeterred drivers like defendant Hamilton,” the club said in a statement submitted to the court. 

The club members said they don’t want to see Hamilton get off with a slap on the wrist. They fear that imposing a fine and ordering Hamilton to perform community service would send the wrong message. The club believes prison time is in order.

Please serve the ends of justice and punish the defendant in this case sufficiently that all Villages drivers will take note of the care they need to afford the cyclists who share the streets with them.  We do all we can to cycle safely, but we respectfully request a severe sentence in this case to add the deterrent protection only this court can provide,” the club said in its statement. 

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