ECB Publishing, Inc.
A 46-year-old woman has been recently arrested by the Tallahassee Police Department (TPD) in relation to a submerged vehicle that was pulled from the waters of Jefferson County's Lake Miccosukee on Thursday, Jan. 3.
Shortly before midnight on Wednesday, Jan. 2, a TPD officer observed a white SUV speeding down the 2600 block of North Monroe Street.
The officer made a U-turn to follow the speeding driver, and managed to catch up with the vehicle in the area of Lakeshore Drive.
As the officer approached the still-speeding vehicle, he watched as the vehicle struck a bicyclist and observed dust and debris fly up into the air following the collision.
The driver of the white SUV continued to flee by heading northbound, in the direction of the I-10 on-ramp, without stopping to check on the bicyclist that had been hit.
The cyclist, who was later identified by the TPD as 32-year-old David Thacker, was taken to the hospital with life-threatening injuries.
On a GoFundMe account set up to collect funds to help pay for Thacker's hospital stay, Thacker's family confirmed that he had sustained numerous cracked ribs and vertebrae in his back, broken bones in his feet, bruised lungs, a shattered ankle and a broken fibula.
At around 8:17 a.m. on the following day, Jefferson County Sheriff's deputies were dispatched to Lake Miccosukee after reports had come into dispatch regarding a suspicious incident at the lake.
Responding deputies discovered a white Mazda SUV that had been driven off the boat ramp and submerged in the lake.
A local fisherman had discovered the sunken vehicle.
The boat team with the Jefferson County Sheriff's Office (JCSO) retrieved the sunken vehicle. The Mazda was turned over to the TPD after JCSO deputies were informed that it matched the description of the vehicle that had been involved in the hit and run on Jan. 2.
The vehicle was confirmed to have been the same white SUV that had fled from a TPD officer and struck Thacker. Investigators were also able to identify the owner of the Mazda, who claimed that his vehicle had been stolen the night before the hit and run took place.
However, surveillance footage from a home near the owner's residence showed that only a few hours after the hit and run, the Mazda had been parked in the
owner's driveway, with damage to the windshield and hood that lined up with the damage that had been received by hitting the bicyclist.
In the surveillance footage, four people could be seen “frantically pacing” around the damaged vehicle.
One of the individuals was identified as 46-year-old Darlene Berryman, of Cincinnati, OH.
According to investigators, Berryman later used a pickup truck she had rented to help the driver tow the vehicle away from the residence and dispose of it in the lake.
Phone records also proved that Berryman had been in contact with the driver of the vehicle shortly after the hit and run took place.
A Leon County warrant was issued for Berryman's arrest, and on Sunday, March 10, Jefferson County Sheriff's Deputy Ryland arrested Berryman on charges of tampering with evidence and being an accessory after the fact.
Berryman was booked into the Jefferson County Jail at 12:15 a.m. on March 10, and later released on a $2,000 bond.
No further information has been provided regarding additional arrests.
The GoFundMe page created to help raise funds to pay for a portion of the hospital and physical therapy bills that will be accrued by the injured bicyclist can be viewed at gofundme.com/zw2vm-helping-david.