YULEE, Fla. - After the woman run over while sunbathing on Fernandina Beach in May spoke in court Thursday, Gregory Green was sentenced to seven years in prison.
Green pleaded guilty last month to running over Susan Jakuszewski, who was visiting from Ohio, and then driving away.
"He looked right at me and accelerated and rode away, Jakuszewski told the court Thursday. "I put my hands on my face, which felt like it had been caved in. I could not breathe and felt my lungs crushed. I started to scream, 'Someone, help me. I’ve been run over and I’m all alone!'"
Jakuszewski was taken to UF Health Jacksonville with broken ribs and a blood clot in her chest, but has recovered.
At the time, police said the driver of the Jeep Cherokee took off despite being told by a witness that he had run over a sunbather. The SUV was found later that afternoon on Pirate's Way, less than a mile away, and Green was arrested on a charge of leaving the scene of an accident causing an accident with injuries.
Green wept as he testified briefly at the hearing, turning to Jakuszewski to offer an apology.
"I pray every day for you," Green said. "There’s not a day goes by or a night that goes by that I (don't) wish that it had been different. But I’m truly sorry."
Defense lawyers asked for a lighter sentence, but prosecutors argued Green has had more than 20 misdemeanors in his life and two felonies, including arrests for driving under the influence.
In addition to seven years in prison, Judge James Daniel sentenced Green to five years of probation and a lifetime ban on driving in the state of Florida.
A civil lawsuit over Jakuszewski's medical expenses is pending against her uninsured motorist’s insurance carrier. Her lawyer, John Phillips, is also considering filing suit against Nassau County and the city of Fernandina Beach because another woman was run over on an Amelia Island beach a few weeks before Jakuszewski was hit.
"This is the particular case that happened after Amanda (Gonzalez) got run over, and we specifically told Nassau County, as well as Fernandina beach" How about having a moratorium on driving until it can be done safely?" Phillips said. "This (injury) happened right after that."
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