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Woman driving car that hit bicyclist gets weekend jail

A woman who was driving a car that collided with a bicyclist, severely injuring the man, and then left the scene of the accident was sentenced this week to spend 15 days in jail on the weekends.

Sherry Beth Collins, manager of the cardiac laboratory at Citrus Memorial Hospital, admitted that she was responsible for severely injuring Curtis Owen Bryant on the night of Jan. 20.

Because it was Collins' first offense, Circuit Judge John Thurman withheld adjudication on the felony crime of leaving the scene of an accident with injuries.

She was, however, found guilty of a second charge, a misdemeanor count of driving under the influence of alcohol.

Bryant was hospitalized for a lengthy period of time and was required to wear a full body cast.

Bryant could not be reached for comment, but he told assistant state prosecutor Paul Militello that he did not wish to see Collins go to jail. Militello told Thurman that Bryant did think Collins should serve some time in jail, possibly on the weekends.

In an interview Tuesday, Militello said Bryant is receiving restitution payments from Collins. He does not want her to lose her job, because that might jeopardize those payments.

Collins was arrested on County Road 581 two miles south of Inverness. At the time of her arrest she told a Florida Highway Patrol officer that she did not realize she had hit a person. She said she thought she hit a mailbox.

Although Militello said Collins was driving under the influence at the time of her arrest, Militello said the state did not charge her with being under the influence at the time she hit Bryant because it would have been difficult to prove she was at that time.

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