Citizen tip leads to arrest in hit-and-run with patrol car

Historic City News was informed by the Florida Highway Patrol last night that a reader’s telephone call tipped the department off to the presence of a silver Volkswagen Passat with heavy front-end damage in a St Augustine neighborhood; similar to the vehicle that crashed into a sheriff’s deputy at SR-312 and US-1 about 2:15 a.m. Friday morning.

Deputy Thomas Bickhart, the driver of the patrol car, spent New Year’s Day in the hospital but Historic City News reporters learned that he was treated and released from Flagler Hospital the same night as the crash with minor injuries.

Upon investigation of the tip, Deputy Tyler Quinney determined that the suspect vehicle, being towed by a red pickup truck, was missing its front bumper clip, matching the one found at the scene on New Year’s Day.

At about 7:00 p.m. last night, the owner of the Passat, 31-year-old Gwendolyn Dawn Hughes, who resides at 1455 South Scenic Way in St Augustine, made contact with a trooper and a sheriff’s investigator and admitted to being the hit and run driver.

Hughes was booked into the St Johns County Detention Facility on January 2, 2016 at 8:36 p.m.; where she remains in custody in lieu of $5,250.00 bail. She has been cited for a third-degree felony and second-degree misdemeanor charge of leaving the scene of an accident with property damage and personal injury.

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