Wheelchair-bound woman injured in hit-and-run

Image 1 of 3

Police say they've identified the driver who hit an elderly woman on her wheelchair then and took off, leaving her with life-threatening injuries.

Brooksville police say Sandra Faye Gainer Carpenter as she was riding her motorized wheelchair. People in were stunned to hear what happened to the woman known for at least two things around her neighborhood. One is her good nature.

"If she sees you, she makes sure that she says, how are you doing?" said neighbor Pauline Perez.

Second were her frequent trips to a nearby store, taken on her motorized wheelchair.

"She had been warned by quite a few of us, don't go out, it's too dark," Perez said. "This road, there's no lights."

On New Year's Day, those warnings were sadly proven prescient.

She was headed home on Brooksville's Daniel Ave. at about 6:30 p.m. when police say 23-year-old Clevandre Pope, driving a white Toyota Camry, saw Carpenter at the last second, swerved, hit her, stopped for a moment, then drove off.

"If there was no alcohol or any other contributing factors, he would obviously not have been in the situation he is now," said police chief Greg Turner.

Police arrested Pope after a day-long search, knocking on doors of those in town who had cars similar to Clevandre's Police and Sandra's daughter, Amber Carpenter, were thankful a witness gave such a good description of the white Toyota Camry

"I feel bad it's such a young guy, I just hope someone out there can take a lesson from it," said Amber Carpenter.

She was airlifted to TGH in critical condition.

"I was thankful she was still holding on when I got here," said Amber Carpenter.

Her ex-husband, Boyd Carpenter says she is conscious, but severely injured.

"She is a fighter. She always has been," he said. "You tell her she can't do something, she will do it to prove you wrong."

After years of making house calls as a nurse, now she's the one in need.

"She woke up sunny-eyed. I know she will fight," said Amber Carpenter.

Neighbors say they are looking for a passerby who stopped and made a tourniquet that helped stop the bleeding. The suspect is being charged with leaving the scene and tampering with evidence. He allegedly told police he left the scene because he panicked.