In 1995 and again in 2003, Frederick Lott Collins was charged with leaving the scenes of crashes and was criminally charged, and in a 2007 case, he was suspected of doing the same, court records and police reports show.
In all three of those cases, no one was hurt. But authorities now are set to file a more serious charge against Collins, alleging that on Monday night, he struck and killed a 76-year-old woman west of Boca Raton. And then fled.
Martha Lasher had called her daughter Monday night to say she was walking back from the gaming arcade where she had hung out with friends and would be home in five minutes. After 20 minutes, Kim Brearey and her teenage son got worried, and he went to look for her.
The teen soon found his grandmother. She’d been struck by a hit-and-run driver and died at Delray Medical Center.
On Wednesday evening, authorities named the driver as Collins, 64, who lives in nearby Century Village. Charges will be filed with the Palm Beach County State Attorney’s Office, the Palm Beach County Sheriff’s Office said. It did not elaborate on what those charges may be, although it said it had interviewed Collins and had impounded his vehicle.
The State Attorney’s Office ultimately will decide what charges to file, if any.
Collins declined to comment late Wednesday, but said Thursday he had retained an attorney.
Brearey said Wednesday evening this was the first she’d heard of the charges.
“Oh, my gosh,” she said. “That’s great news.”
This story contains embedded social media content. If you don’t see that content, please click here.
Palm Beach County court records show 11 moving violations for Collins from 2007 to 2014. In Broward County, he was charged with DUI in 1975 and lost his license for 90 days. And he was convicted in that county on drug charges in the late 1970s and early 1980s and again in 1995.
The 1995 charge, filed by Fort Lauderdale police, was for leaving the scene of a crash with property damage and driving with a suspended license, as well as possession of cocaine and drug paraphernalia. In November 1996, records show, Collins agreed to a deal that withheld adjudication and sentenced him to three days of time served.
In the 2013 charge, according to a PBSO report, Collins’ 1996 Ford Ranger pickup sideswiped a car as both tried to enter the center lane of westbound Palmetto Park Road near Lyons Road west of Boca Raton. The report said the two cars stopped but Collins left, saying his truck had no damage. A witness got his tag number, and deputies caught up with him the following day, when he said the same thing.
Then, in 2007, a sheriff’s report said, a security guard at Century Village reported he’d spotted a vehicle he believed was the one that had struck a light pole the preceding day. Parts that came off in the crash matched the 2005 Saturn.
The report said Collins told a deputy that a person whose name and address he did not know dropped him off the previous day and must have hit the pole. The car later was found crashed into a tree. A report said bruises on Collins’ arm “could coincide with being in the drivers seat.”
Collins was not charged in that case.
In the other Palm Beach cases:
— Collins was cited in 2007 for driving more than 30 mph over the speed limit and not wearing a safety belt. The case was dismissed.
— In April 2009, he was cited for driving 88 mph in a 65 mph and paid $176. In December 2009 he was charged with improper lane change and driving too close to another car. Those citations also were dismissed.
— In 2010, he was ticketed for going 86 mph in a 65 mph zone and having no safety belt. He paid $427.
— In 2012, he paid $161 for going 74 in a 65 mph zone.
— In March 2014, he was charged with running a stop sign and having no safety belt and paid $277.
Brearey said her mother was long-ago divorced and had modeled into her 50s. She moved to Florida from Michigan to be a nanny to Brearey’s son and moved in with them last year, first in Boca Raton and then west of the city.
“My mom was a fireball,” Brearey said Wednesday. “She was a very strong person.”
The new home is a short walk from the strip mall at Lyons and Glades road where the arcade is located, Breary said.
On Monday night, she said, her mother called “and said she was on her way home. It only takes five minutes. when she didn’t get home after about 20 minutes, my son became worried. She didn't answer the phone.
“He walked to the arcade. Then he saw all the police lights.”