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The Villages
Wednesday, April 17, 2024

Unlicensed Guatemalan hit-and-run suspect wants release from jail

Jose Efrain Garcia Perez
Jose Efrain Garcia-Perez

An unlicensed Guatemalan involved in a hit-and-run crash that sent a woman to a local hospital wants to be released from jail.

Jose Efrain Garcia-Perez, 30, of Lady Lake, has been held since his Feb. 4 arrest at the Lake County Jail on charges of driving without a license and hit and run. He has been unable to come up with the $30,000 bond.

The public defender’s office has filed a motion on his behalf asking a judge to release Garcia-Perez on his own recognizance.

Garcia-Perez had been at the wheel of a Chevy pickup truck towing a trailer when pulled out in front of a woman driving a white Volkswagen, according to an arrest report from the Lady Lake Police Department. The trailer hit the woman’s vehicle. The woman, who was “visibly distraught” when emergency personnel arrived on the scene, suffered a compound fracture of her arm. She was transported by ambulance to UF Health-The Villages Hospital.

Witnesses told police that the truck, which was towing a trailer full of construction materials, fled “at an extremely high rate of speed.” The trailer had been damaged in the crash and left “grooves in the road.” Officers followed the groove marks to a home in the 1100 block of West End Street. A man said Garcia-Perez, “dropped off” the trailer, which had “severe damage” to the side, along with white paint that appeared to have come from the collision with the woman’s Volkswagen.

Officers went to Garcia-Perez’s home at 37631 Tavaren Lane in Lady Lake. They found the pickup truck which had been towing the trailer.

A woman at the home initially claimed the truck had been left at the home and the owner ran away. A juvenile in the home began to provide police with information about Garcia-Perez. The woman told the child to, “Shut up.” The woman was warned that she would be charged with obstruction if she gave police misleading information. She began to cooperate and eventually revealed to police that Garcia-Perez would be returning home.

Garcia-Perez was found walking up the road. It appeared he had been drinking. Police learned that Garcia-Perez has never been issued a driver’s license in the United States. He was identified by his identification card from Guatemala.

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