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Wednesday, March 15, 2023

Hit-and-run suspect jailed after trying to blame victim

Jermaine Kristoffer Maple
Jermaine Kristoffer Maple

A Mount Dora man who called 911 to report his vehicle was damaged in a hit-and-run crash ended up being the one arrested.

Jermaine Kristoffer Maple, 26, was charged with first-offense DUI involving property damage after the incident, which happened shortly before 11 p.m. Sunday near 1100 North Blvd. in Leesburg. An officer responded to the location and spoke with the victim, who was driving a black Toyota Corolla, according to the Leesburg Police report.

During the crash investigation, it was determined the Toyota was struck by a 2003 Saturn four-door sedan. An unidentified witness told the officer his girlfriend followed the Saturn to the Laurel Oak Apartments in Leesburg. She provided a video of the sedan with heavy front-end damage, but officers were unable to locate it, the report said.

Minutes later, police received a call from Maple claiming a black Toyota Corolla had struck his vehicle near U.S. Highway 441 and Sleepy Hollow Road. Maple said he was standing by in a white Saturn sedan in the parking lot of the Speedway at 9532 U.S. Hwy. 441. The officer responded to Speedway due to Maple’s vehicle matching the suspect vehicle in the prior hit-and-run, according to the report.

Upon arrival, the officer spoke with Maple and detected a strong odor of alcohol on his breath. His eyes were bloodshot and watery, and his speech was slurred. Maple continued to claim he was involved in a crash with the Corolla, and that the male driver fled the scene prior to exchanging information. Maple said he followed the other driver a short distance before stopping at the Speedway and contacting 911, the report said.

The officer then asked Maple to perform field sobriety exercises, to which he complied. His performance led the officer to conclude Maple was under the influence. He was placed under arrest and taken to the Leesburg Police Department for booking, the report said.

At the police station, Maple agreed to provide a breath sample for testing but was unsuccessful on the first attempt. He took short rapid breaths in what appeared to be an attempt to beat the instrument. A second test was administered, and the two collected samples returned readings of 0.110 of breath and 0.098, according to the report.

Maple was transported to the Lake County Jail and released after posting $1,000 bond.

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