Testimony: Woman was legally drunk when she hit boy in crosswalk

Kelley Permenter charged with DUI manslaughter in death of Hunter Cope

JACKSONVILLE, Fla. – Several more witnesses to the crash that killed 12-year-old Hunter Cope testified Wednesday in the DUI manslaughter trial of the driver accused of hitting the boy, as did responders and detectives who responded to the scene.

The Jacksonville Fire and Rescue Department paramedic who conducted the blood draw on Kelley Permenter testified, as did a former Florida Department of Law Enforcement employee who tested that blood and found the driver's alcohol level was 0.096 -- above the legal limit of 0.08 -- hours after the crash. Prosecutors also said there was cocaine in Permenter's system that March 2017 day.

A Jacksonville Sheriff's Office traffic homicide detective said Permenter was driving between 43-52 mph in a 45 mph zone when Hunter was struck while walking to school.


The boy was in a crosswalk at the intersection of the Wonderwood Connector and A1A in Atlantic Beach when he was hit by Permenter's SUV, and there was no indication that she hit the brakes.

"It looked like she had been her eyes were watery, so I’m not sure if she was crying or not. Her hand was over her mouth and the other one she was holding a tooth," Detective Allyn Kelly said.

Kelly said Hunter was struck 980 feet away from where Permenter was involved in a hit-and-run crash in the parking lot of A1A Food Store. Prosecutors said if she had stopped to take care of that minor incident, Hunter would likely be alive today.

Permenter’s lawyer conceded that she was driving under the influence but stressed no one could have avoided hitting the boy when he darted out into the road.

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