Two Villagers find themselves on very difficult paths after their worlds collided in a hit-and-run crash.
Elinor Levitt, 95, was arrested Wednesday night at her home at Sumter Senior Living on a warrant charging her with leaving the scene of an accident. She was allegedly at the wheel of a green 2007 Mercury Montego on the afternoon of Dec. 29 when she ran a stop sign and hit a golf cart driven by 81-year-old Nancy Lou Hooper.
Hooper, a full-time resident of The Villages since 2007 and a member of the Aqua Rhythms Synchronized Swim Team, had been to the Chatham Postal Station to collect her mail. Levitt, a former resident of the Village of Calumet Grove, ran a stop sign and struck Hooper’s golf cart, according to an accident report from the Florida Highway Patrol. A Villager witnessed the crash and tried to get Levitt to stop, but she kept going, the report said.
Levitt’s license has been suspended for three months as part of a ticket she had been issued for violation of right of way as part of the accident investigation. Levitt, while still living on Creekside Circle in the Village of Calumet Grove, had been ticketed in 2020 on a charge of careless driving following an accident near the entrance to Del Webb Spruce Creek on U.S. Hwy. 441 in Summerfield. The New York native had been at the wheel of the same green 2007 Mercury Montego that she was driving when she hit Hooper’s golf cart.
Marilyn Hamilton, 91, of The Villages, is currently serving a five-year prison term after hitting husband-and-wife bicyclists in 2020 with her Mercedes. The Village of Dunedin couple, Robert Hunter and Jessica Laube, had been completing a bicycle ride when they were both hit by Hamilton’s Mercedes. She fled the scene and later told an investigator with FHP that she was “scared.” While delivering Hamilton’s five-year prison sentence in December in Sumter County Court, Judge Don Briggs emphasized that Hamilton’s biggest legal problem wasn’t the crash itself, but the fact she left the scene.
Laube, a yoga instructor in addition to an avid bicyclist, bore the brunt of the physical injury from the Mercedes. She 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 arm, broken wrist, torn finger tendons and ligaments and brain injuries.
Hunter has reportedly reached out to Hooper’s circle of friends as they help her navigate the difficult challenges ahead. He has offered his hard-worn experience in working through the maze of medical and legal headaches faced in the wake of a devastating hit-and-run crash.
Hooper spent months in the hospital and rehab before finally returning home this week. The golfer known for her quick wit is finally able to walk to the bathroom by herself, having suffered broken legs, broken ribs and blood clots when she was hit by the car. She is also facing an unimaginable mound of medical bills, according to friends.