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Hit-and-run driver damaged house in Palatka

7:59 PM, May 22, 2013   |    comments
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PUTNAM COUNTY, Fla. -- Police are looking for the driver of a car smashed that into the front of a Putnam County home.

Drugs and ammo were found in the car that was abandoned at the home, according to police. Now the homeowner wants help finding the driver.

"It's my livelihood. My only reliable source of income has been taken away from me," said Destinie Simmerson.
 
Simmerson's rental property in Palatka is reduced to rubble after a man driving a Mercedes SUV crashed into it fleeing from police.

The rent money from this home helped Simmerson get through school. Simmerson is getting ready to graduate and
has earned her license as a massage therapist. 

She had no insurance on the home, but was hoping to as soon as she began working. Now, a hit and run driver has her life in shambles.
 
"Why run from the cops, why crash into someone's house and leave? We just wait, there is nothing being done about my house, about putting my life back in order."
 
Simmerson hopes the driver can be found so she can file an insurance claim. Police say the owner of the Mercedes borrowed the car to a relative and they are investigating, trying to find the driver.

Once found, the driver will face numerous felony charges, including drug charges. Cocaine and marijuana were found in the car.

Monday night around 10:30, Putnam County Sheriff's Office deputies tried to pull over a white Mercedes SUV for no tag light but the driver fled.
 
"This car was exceeding the speed limit, going 80 miles per hour or faster while being pursued by law enforcement," said Deputy Paula Priester.
 
Simmerson said she was looking to rent her house to a new tenant. The last renter had just moved out 3 weeks ago.
 
"Had my renter been there, it could have been tragic," she said.

Two passengers were in the car, a 17-year-old male and a 23-year-old pregnant woman. They were not hurt, nor charged. They told police two different first names of the driver and said they did not know the drivers' last name.

Preister is confident they will find the driver.

If that driver is the relative of the car owner, then Simmerson can file a claim with the car owners' insurance to pay for the damage to her rental home.

First Coast News

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