A 72-year-old Leesburg woman coming home from a wine dinner in Clermont was arrested Tuesday night after she reportedly ran a red light, struck another vehicle and left the scene.
Law enforcement caught up with Lynn Virginia Crane, of 5309 Cornwall Court, after she stopped on U.S. Hwy. 27 because of a blown tire. Crane was charged with DUI with property damage and leaving the scene of a crash.
Shortly before 8:30 p.m., a Clermont police officer responded to the intersection of U.S. Hwy. 27 and Citrus Tower Boulevard, where the victim said he had a green light and was about to turn west onto Citrus Tower Boulevard when a gray vehicle also heading west ran the red light and struck his BMW. He said the driver kept heading west with no intention of stopping, according to the police report.
The victim said he was able to get behind the vehicle and snap a photo of the license plate. He observed the driver was an elderly woman. The officer ran the license plate it came back as a 2013 gray Hyundai Elantra registered to Crane. The officer advised dispatch to notify the sheriff’s office so a deputy could contact Crane at her home in Leesburg, the report said.
After the officer completed his portion of the crash investigation, dispatch reported there was a vehicle swerving on the roadway and it had a blown tire. The vehicle’s description matched the description of the vehicle involved in the hit-and-run. The reporting party said the vehicle was heading north on Highway 27 and was going in and out of the roadway. He said the vehicle drove on the opposite side of the highway, against the flow of traffic, for a few miles before stopping in the median facing the opposite direction of travel, according to the report.
Deputies are the first ones to approach Crane’s vehicle and they told the officer that Crane appeared to be intoxicated and refused to be transported by Lake County EMS. A witness said he was leaving AutoZone in Minneola when he noticed Crane had a flat tire. He said he drove next to her and tried to tell her, but she kept driving, the report said.
The witness said Crane continuously swerved on and off the road multiple times before slowing down to make a U-turn. He said Crane then went off the roadway, tried to correct herself and ended up driving in the median for about an eighth of a mile before finally stopping, according to the report.
The officer asked Crane about the crash and she said she didn’t hit anyone. She said she was coming from Carrabba’s in Clermont when she heard her tire blow and she doesn’t remember anything after that, although she continuously said she wasn’t involved in a crash. Crane was unable to keep her body straight, saying several times, “I only want to go home,” while continuously asking for her cell phone, the report said.
The officer gave Crane her Miranda warning and asked her if she had any drinks tonight. She said no. When asked if she was on any medication, Crane said no but then said she had been at a “Carrabba’s wine dinner.” Asked how many drinks she had, she said, “I don’t know. Maybe 2. I just want to go home,” according to the report.
Crane declined to participate in field sobriety exercises and was taken to the Lake County Jail. She provided two breath samples and both returned readings of 0.192, which is more than twice the legal limit, the report said.
Crane was released from jail Wednesday afternoon on $2,000 bond and is scheduled to appear in Lake County Court on Sept. 7.