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The Villages
Thursday, September 21, 2023

Intoxicated hit-and-run driver sentenced after crash near popular diner

Joshua Lee Burleson
Joshua Lee Burleson

A hit-and-run driver who was intoxicated has been sentence after fleeing the scene of a crash in 2022 near a popular diner in Wildwood.

Joshua Lee Burleson, 38, of Wildwood, will lose his driver’s license for five years and has been placed on probation for three years as a result of sentencing earlier this month in Sumter County Court.

The crash occurred at about 5:15 p.m. Dec. 3 near Darrell’s Diner on U.S. 301. A woman who was seven months pregnant was stopped at a red light at the intersection when she was rear-ended, according to an arrest report from the Wildwood Police Department. She started to get out of her vehicle, but the other driver sped off and drove past her. The woman suffered neck pain. There were witnesses to the crash.

A black Mazda SUV matching the description of the hit-and-run vehicle was spotted at the Pine Grove Apartments on U.S. 301. An officer found Burleson, who was “staggering.” His vehicle had a “long scratch going down the driver’s side door” as well as damage to the front bumper.

Burleson struggled through field sobriety exercises and provided breath samples that registered .189 and .192 blood alcohol content. A criminal history check revealed he had been convicted of driving under the influence in 2018 in Marion County and 2003 in Volusia County.

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