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Driver arrested for DUI manslaughter had previous DUI conviction

BY JENNIFER CABRERA

GAINESVILLE, Fla. – Margaret Caitlin Walker, 29, turned herself in yesterday and was charged with DUI manslaughter and leaving the scene of a crash involving death. Gainesville Police Department (GPD) detectives determined that Walker was the driver of the Volvo XC-90 that struck and killed a bicyclist on S. Main Street on November 27, 2022.

Detectives determined that Walker hit a bicyclist on S. Main Street near SE 33rd Place at about 6:20 p.m. on Nov. 27. The victim was catapulted from the roadway and came to rest in the woods next to the public sidewalk. The victim was found at 9:40 a.m. the next morning.

Multiple Volvo parts were found at the scene, enabling detectives to determine the make and model of the car that hit the bicyclist. The report notes that Walker should have known she hit something because of the amount of debris left behind. However, she allegedly left the scene and did not report the crash to law enforcement.

GPD sent out a public bulletin on November 28 with a description of the vehicle, and the Volvo was located on November 30 after a citizen reported seeing a vehicle matching the description in the bulletin. An Alachua County Sheriff’s Deputy stopped the Volvo for a traffic violation, and the driver identified Walker as the owner of the Volvo.

Post Miranda, the driver said Walker had asked him to take the Volvo to a body shop to repair the damage from the crash. He said Walker told him she had hit a sign on S. Main Street.

Post Miranda, Walker reportedly said she was driving the Volvo on November 27 and that she had consumed multiple alcoholic beverages at multiple locations on that date. She reportedly said she felt “tipsy” when she left the last location, to the extent that her normal faculties were impaired; she said the crash happened when she looked down to adjust the music and that she stopped to check her vehicle but thought she had hit a sign. She reportedly said she didn’t report the crash because she didn’t want points on her driver’s license.

Walker was previously convicted of misdemeanor DUI in 2013 in another county. Judge Walter Green set bail at $100,000.

Articles about arrests are based on reports from law enforcement agencies. The charges listed are taken from the arrest report and/or court records and are only accusations. All suspects are innocent until proven guilty in a court of law. 

  • We rarely think about it, but one bad decision can end someone’s life. She has a long road ahead of her. This accident will forever haunt her.

    • The real tragedy is that another person will never experience so much as a dream.

      Hopefully her license will be revoked and she’ll not have the opportunity to injure/kill another person. She deserves jail and hopefully will have to pay restitution to the family. The sad part is no amount of restitution will replace what was lost.

  • It’s very sad, but is there a bike lane on that section? If not, is S. Main marked as shared for bikes? That may be her only defense, if not. Since the victim wasn’t seen in the woods after she pulled over (allegedly).

    • The road does not need to be marked at all. A bicycle in the road is a legal vehicle in Florida. All fault lies on the driver.

      • Really? That’s the direction you’re going with that. No hint of sarcasm, no joke implied?
        There is a certainty, let me say that again, certainty, as to the reason for your transparent comment.

        You should change your moniker to Captain Obvious.

        • How about Captain Common Sense? I’ve driven that stretch of road many hundreds of times (probably thousands) and have never see any bicycles “sharing” the roadway. For good reason. As I said in response to this initial story, I expect the bicyclist was someone either very new to bicycling or someone super-experienced who was overconfident. It obviously didn’t work out well. It could just as easily been any distracted driver on that stretch of road (wouldn’t have to be stupid drunk to hit a bicycle there, especially if not properly illuminated after dark).

          • That would be inappropriate given your obvious defection of blaming the cyclist. Don’t care how “new” or “super experienced” the cyclist was, to brush it off and blame it on the cyclist because they weren’t riding on a sidewalk is ridiculous. The girl, and obviously you noticed she was white, left the scene of an accident without regard to the injured rider. Then chose to have a “friend” take it for repairs. I would have expected better but I guess it didn’t fit into your narrative.
            Captain Gullible maybe?

          • I suggest you get in your car and drive that stretch of road since it sounds like you aren’t familiar with it. Most accidents are the result of errors in judgment by more than one party. Thank goodness bicycles are not permitted on interstate highways in Florida or you would have overzealous bicyclists getting run down on a regular basis.

  • Thar drunk b. She needs a higher bail. That’s ridiculous. Kill somebody, leave the scene and you can get out of jail with $10,000? With a previous conviction also it should be six times that high. I don’t know what the maximum prison sentence is but she should be required to serve the maximum.

  • Very unfortunate for all involved. I myself had a drinking problem. 2 DUIs, and a 60 day jail sentence. 10 years later, I’m 100 clean. It’s a long road for recovery. I’m fortunate that I only hurt myself with my habit. I feel for her. As well as the victim’s family.

  • I don’t have any empathy for the driver, she chose to get drunk and then she chose to drive and it cost an innocent person his life. I wonder why these drunks won’t call a cab, or a friend for a ride rather than risk someone else’s life by driving drunk? I guess that’s too much to expect from someone who’s judgment is impaired enough they’ll get in a car and drive drunk.

  • it’s possible the victim could have been saved if she had reported the accident. instead they were there for 12 hours before being discovered way too late. although could have been killed on Impact, but we will never know.

  • She is entitled to a fair trial by an impartial jury.
    Post Miranda, she allegedly admits to consuming alcohol that evening.

    Mere admission, does not provide evidence that she was impaired. After 72 hours, post a crash incident, there would be no BAC determination.

    There could be other contributory factors on the part of the cyclist, road maintenance conditions, lighting, etc.

    Yes, DUI is a serious offense. However, a conviction on facts and supportive evidence will not be an easy task.

    P A Turner
    Traffic Homicide Investigator – Reconstructionist
    Criminal Defense Investigator
    Expert Witness

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