wjxt logo

SUV driver charged in crash that killed 12-year-old pleads not guilty

Hunter Cope hit, killed in March while walking to Mayport Middle School

JACKSONVILLE, Fla. – An SUV driver police said hit and killed a 12-year-old boy who was walking to school in March pleaded not guilty Monday to DUI manslaughter.

Kelley Permenter, 37, turned herself in on charges of DUI manslaughter and DUI property damage after Hunter Cope was fatally struck March 6 at the intersection of Wonderwood Connector and A1A.

The Jacksonville Sheriff's Office said an SUV continued through a yellow light at the intersection about 8:30 a.m., hitting Cope, who was walking with five other children.

The arrest report said Permenter, who stayed at the scene, had used alcohol and cocaine. 

Permenter is out on bond and is scheduled to be back in court July 27.

News4Jax found that Permenter has nine citations in Duval County on her driving record -- four for speeding, one each for running a stop sign, disregarding a traffic signal, careless driving, no proof of insurance and loud noises coming from her vehicle.