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Elderly woman arrested in hit-and-run near UF campus

An elderly driver has been arrested in a late-night, hit-and-run near the University of Florida that left a pedestrian in her early 20s with an apparent head wound, according to a witness and police records.

Betty Jean Alexander-Bacon, 73, of Lake Butler, was arrested early Thursday, about 20 minutes after the accident, driving with a windshield police described as “severely and noticeably damaged” just over a mile north of the scene of the collision, police records said. 

The crash happened just before midnight Wednesday – when heavy rains were in the area – at the intersection of Southwest 13th Street and West University Avenue, at the northeast corner of UF’s campus and close to several apartment buildings popular among students. Police said the pedestrian, whose identity was censored in court records, was hospitalized with a serious head wound.

Police said Alexander-Bacon told them she knew she had hit something but did not know it was a person and didn’t notice her windshield was damaged. She told an officer she was driving back toward the intersection when police stopped her, police said.

A witness, Tierrell Jernard Jenkins, 41, of Gainesville, said the woman struck by Alexander-Bacon’s vehicle was knocked into the air and down the road. He was picking up his fiancee from work when he saw the crash. Jenkins estimated the victim to be in her early 20s.

“The light turned yellow, the car sped up a little bit,” Jenkins said, “The car hit the lady, knocked her about eight feet in the air and about 100 feet down the road.”

Civil leaders have responded to a series of pedestrian crashes in recent years by lowering speed limits and installing speed tables along University Avenue. Some of those speed tables were removed in recent weeks with the addition of new traffic lights.

Jenkins called 911 and blocked traffic along with other witnesses. He said Alexander-Bacon turned toward a nearby grocery store’s parking lot as if she intended to stop, then drove away.

Alexander-Bacon’s bond was set at $2,000. She remained in the jail as of midday Thursday and had been assigned a public defender. 

Alexander-Bacon could not be reached for comment. The public defender office’s policy is not to speak with reporters about their clients’ cases, and the Alachua County Sheriff’s Office does not permit reporters to interview jail inmates without the written permission of a defendant’s lawyer and a senior jail official.


This is a breaking news story. Check back for further developments. Contact WUFT News by calling 352-392-6397 or emailing news@wuft.org


Gabriel is a reporter for WUFT News who can be reached by calling 352-392-6397 or emailing news@wuft.org.