An Oro Valley woman cited Saturday for hitting a pedestrian with her car, said she had a good reason to leave the scene and she returned less than 45 minutes later.
Persis Draper, 92, said she was on her way to visit a friend when she experienced a bout of diarrhea. She called her friend to cancel, but wanted to make a stop at the grocery store on the way home.
“I decided while I was out to get some rolls. I had a potluck to go to,” Draper said. “While I was on my way that’s when the accident occurred.”
Both Draper and a pedestrian were northbound on North La Cholla Boulevard at West Magee Road, said Deputy Tracy Suitt, spokesman for the Pima County Sheriff’s Department. The 43-year-old woman was jogging through the crosswalk when she was hit.
“The diarrhea started up again after the accident happened. I was going to stop, but then the diarrhea came and I didn’t stop,” Draper said.
Draper drove to a nearby grocery store to use the restroom. While there, she bought the dinner rolls. After leaving the store, less than 45 minutes later, she drove back to the corner where the incident occurred, she said.
Another driver, who witnessed the incident, had followed Draper, took down the license plate number and returned to the scene to give deputies the information.
“I didn’t leave a scene of an accident because I was running away. I’m not the type of individual who would do something like that. I left because I had diarrhea,” she said. “I went back to check and there wasn’t anybody there.”
Before going home, Draper dropped off the dinner rolls at her church for the potluck.
“I was upset and I wasn’t feeling good because of the diarrhea,” Draper said. “When I got home I took a pill and went to sleep.”
Draper also said: “I called the insurance company right away.”
Later that day a deputy went to Draper’s Oro Valley home and cited her, Suitt said. Draper faces charges of failure to yield to a pedestrian in a crosswalk; failure to control speed to avoid an accident; and leaving the scene of accident with injury and failure to render aid.
Because the charges Draper faces are a combination of misdemeanor and civil, she was not taken to jail, Suitt said.
Draper told arresting deputies that she left the scene because she was scared, Suitt said.
However, Draper said she was still groggy from the pill when the deputy came to her home and “I forgot to tell him that I had diarrhea and I had left (the scene) not to get away from it, but to take care of the diarrhea.”
“It is unfortunate, it’s upsetting and I’m distraught. I can’t do anything about going back and it was not a hit and run. I just had no choice because I’d had diarrhea,” she said. “I don’t know what else I could have done. I empathize with her (the jogger). I’m saying my prayers and hoping everything turns out all right. I feel bad she got hurt.”
The jogger was taken to a local hospital with non-life-threatening injuries and has since been released, Suitt said.
“She seems to be doing OK. Banged up, but doing OK,” he said.