Make us your home page
Instagram

Today’s top headlines delivered to you daily.

(View our Privacy Policy)

Hit-run crash leaves a chill

Jennifer Lumpkin, 20, of Port Richey talks to reporters Friday about her experience in a hit-and-run crash last month. News of John E. Sexton Jr.’s murder charge shocked her, she said. 

WILL VRAGOVIC | Times

Jennifer Lumpkin, 20, of Port Richey talks to reporters Friday about her experience in a hit-and-run crash last month. News of John E. Sexton Jr.’s murder charge shocked her, she said. 

PORT RICHEY — Her boyfriend called her at work.

"You're not going to believe this," said Michael Juergens, 22. "You've got to look at the paper."

When Jennifer Lumpkin saw what he was talking about, she had chills.

"My heart stopped," said Lumpkin, 20.

The newspaper story was about a man named John E. Sexton Jr., a 47-year-old self-employed lawn maintenance worker accused of butchering 94-year-old Ann Parlato inside her Port Richey home.

The mug shot of Sexton — balding, sharp nose and chin — was the same face Lumpkin and Juergens had been cursing and muttering about for days.

At 6 p.m. on Sept. 16 — one week before Parlato's body was discovered — Sexton rear-ended Lumpkin at a red light on U.S. 19 at Jasmine Boulevard in Port Richey, according to the Florida Highway Patrol. His aqua blue truck screeched right before impact, but it was too late. Lumpkin's neck hurt, but she was okay.

She saw the blue truck back up and then take off with its hood up, through the red light, and then stop. Sexton got out, put down the hood and kept going, she said.

Juergens works throughout the area repairing air conditioners and had just happened to finish the day near Lumpkin's office in Hernando County. Juergens had been following Lumpkin home but got caught at a light and arrived at the crash scene a few seconds after the accident.

Lumpkin was hysterical. Juergens got out of his car to make sure his girlfriend was okay and then took off after the blue truck. He caught up with it at a Circle K gas station on Fox Hollow Drive. The truck was empty. Juergens wrote down the license plate number.

Sexton came out of the store with a beer in his hand, Lumpkin said. Juergens told the man he needed to go back to the accident scene. The man said he didn't know what Juergens was talking about. Then, according to Lumpkin, the man cursed at Juergens, got into his truck and sped off.

Lumpkin's car didn't have much damage. She said a trooper with the Florida Highway Patrol called her that night and said the FHP had found the truck at Sexton's home at 7811 Niagara Drive in Port Richey, but Sexton was gone.

Sexton's wife said her husband had had the truck that day, and Sexton's mother-in-law confirmed that the front end damage was new, a report says.

The trooper told Lumpkin that Sexton would be issued a citation for leaving the scene of an accident, a misdemeanor because there were no serious injuries.

Days went by. Lumpkin's neck felt better. Her car's bumper was fixed. She said her boyfriend wished he had pinned down that driver at the gas station and forced him to wait for authorities to arrive. If Juergens hadn't happened to have been following her home that day, Lumpkin kept thinking, she might have chased down that guy herself.

"Jerk," Lumpkin thought.

Now, after discovering what Sexton is accused of doing, Lumpkin is thankful that she and her boyfriend let him go without a fight.

"Who knows what could have happened?" she said.

Erin Sullivan can be reached at esullivan@sptimes.com or (727) 869-6229.

Hit-run crash leaves a chill 10/01/10 [Last modified: Friday, October 1, 2010 11:29pm]
Photo reprints | Article reprints

    

Join the discussion: Click to view comments, add yours

Loading...
  1. Rays rally twice to beat Rangers (w/video)

    The Heater

    ARLINGTON, Texas — Starting Erasmo Ramirez on Monday after he closed out Sunday's marathon win turned out, despite the Rays' best intentions and rigid insistence, to be a bad idea as he gave up four runs without getting through three innings.

    Erasmo Ramirez, starting a day after closing a 15-inning marathon, struggles against the Rangers and comes out after throwing 43 pitches in 21/3 innings.
  2. Britain investigating missed signals over Manchester bomber

    World

    LONDON — Britain's domestic intelligence agency, MI5, is investigating its response to warnings from the public about the threat posed by Salman Abedi, the suicide bomber who killed 22 people and wounded dozens more in an attack at a crowded Ariana Grande concert in Manchester, England, last week.

    People gather Monday at St. Ann’s Square in Manchester, England, to view tributes to victims of the suicide bombing that killed 22 on May 22 as a concert by Ariana Grande was concluding.
  3. Trump condemns killing of pair who tried to stop racist rant

    Nation

    The mayor of Portland, Ore., on Monday urged U.S. officials and organizers to cancel a "Trump Free Speech Rally" and other similar events, saying they are inappropriate and could be dangerous after two men were stabbed to death on a train as they tried to help a pair of young women targeted by an anti-Muslim tirade.

    Coco Douglas, 8, leaves a handmade sign and rocks she painted at a memorial in Portland, Ore., on Saturday for two bystanders who were stabbed to death Friday while trying to stop a man who was yelling anti-Muslim slurs and acting aggressively toward two young women. From left are Coco's brother, Desmond Douglas; her father, Christopher Douglas; and her stepmother, Angel Sauls. [Associated Press]
  4. What major sporting event could Tampa Bay land next?

    Lightning Strikes

    We are on quite a roll as a community. First, we had a Super Bowl drop from the storm clouds into our lap. It just reaffirms the fact that Tampa Bay is great at lap. And Monday it became official: Next year's NHL All-Star Game will be held at Amalie Arena. The best in the world will be here to shoot and score. And …

    MVP Wayne Gretzky is congratulated at the 1999 NHL All-Star game, the last time the event was in Tampa Bay. [DIRK SHADD   |   Times file]
  5. How the 2018 NHL All-Star Game reflects Jeff Vinik's vision for Tampa

    Lightning Strikes

    TAMPA — There were several reasons the NHL announced Monday that Tampa will host the 2018 All-Star Game on Jan. 28.

    This was the  logo for the 1999 NHL All-Star game played Sunday, Jan 24, 1999 at the Ice Palace in Tampa Bay. (AP Photo)