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The Villages
Wednesday, April 24, 2024

Villager who hit bicyclists with her Mercedes wants early release from prison

Marilyn Hamiltons booking photo with the Department of Corrections
Marilyn Hamilton’s booking photo with the Department of Corrections.

A Villager convicted of hitting two bicyclists with her Mercedes and leaving them crumpled on the roadway wants an early release from prison.

Marilyn Hamilton, 91, is serving a five-year prison sentence at the Lowell Correctional Center in Marion County. Her release date is Dec. 14, 2027.

Hamilton was behind the wheel of a white Mercedes on Oct. 30, 2020, when she struck Village of Dunedin residents Jessica Laube and Robert Hunter while they were pedaling on Morse Boulevard near Bonita Boulevard.

Earlier this month, Hamilton filed a motion seeking an early release from prison. She was sentenced in December.

In her motion for a reduced sentence, which she appears to have drafted without the assistance of an attorney, she seems intent on relitigating the case and placing the blame on Laube and Hunter.

“When the accident happened, I stopped my car and I went back to where the lady was on the side of the road. A man was there calling 911 for an ambulance. I did not see the man, however. The sun was extremely bright that day and it was shining into my windshield, so it was hard to see as I was traveling south on Morse Avenue in The Villages,” Hamilton wrote in the motion in which she also claimed she had been in severe pain due to arthritis.

“It was not until I saw the woman biker, who was in the center of the street, that I tried to avoid hitting her,” she wrote. “The highway patrol officer that arrested me and took me to jail said the bikers should have been on the golf cart path and not in the street.”

Robert Hunter and Jessica Laube
Robert Hunter and Jessica Laube

Laube, a fitness enthusiast who taught yoga, bore the brunt of the impact from the Mercedes. She suffered 17 broken ribs, a collapsed lung, a paralyzed vocal chord, broken arm, broken wrist, torn finger tendons and ligaments and brain injuries. Laube and Hunter were members of the Sumter Landing Bicycle Club and had been returning home after a club ride. The couple abided by all safety standards, including high-end lights on their bicycles and expensive helmets providing enhanced protection, according to fellow club members.

Witnesses told the Florida Highway Patrol that Hamilton got out of her vehicle, saw the husband and wife injured and lying on the road, got back into her car and drove away. The Mercedes was later recovered at a dealership in Gainesville, where it was being repaired.

In her motion, Hamilton points out that she’s already served four and a half months in prison as well as two weeks at the Sumter County Detention Center. She sought a furlough while she was still at the jail.

She is asking that she be “remanded to the custody” of her daughter. Hamilton said she wants “to spend the last of my remaining years with my family.”

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.

Earlier this year, Hamilton sold her home at 3025 Twisted Oak Way in the Village of Fernandina for $470,000. She and her husband purchased the home in 2012 for $244,300.

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