Villager who crashed golf cart after Christmas parade gets DUI deal

Karen Frances Hacket

A villager who crashed her golf cart at Lake Sumter Landing after she started drinking hours earlier during the Christmas parade has been cleared in her drunk driving case.

Karen Frances Hackett, 63, of the Village of Liberty Park, did not contest a driving under the influence charge in Sumter County Court on Tuesday. A disorderly conduct charge was dismissed in exchange for the plea.

Her driver’s license was suspended for six months, however, court records indicate that she applied for a “hardship” license. She was sentenced to 50 hours of community service, but asked to be allowed to “buy out” that service. She was also placed on probation for a year, but supervision of that probation will be moved to Camden, Mo.

The former Rock Island, Ill., resident started drinking the morning of the Christmas parade at The Villages Polo Fields, according to an arrest report from the Sumter County Sheriff’s Office. At 7:30 p.m., disturbed diners at TooJay’s Gourmet Deli and Sonny’s BBQ watched Hackett’s golf cart hit a sidewalk at Lake Sumter Landing. The impact knocked Hackett and a female passenger from the golf cart. The passenger suffered from scratches on his knees and was vomiting. She was transported by ambulance to a local hospital. EMS staff attempted to assess Hackett’s condition, but she began screaming and swearing, including profanity aimed at President Joe Biden. She also called Governor Ron DeSantis.

Hackett provided breath samples that recorded blood alcohol levels of 0.249 and 0.246. She had hoped to bring in an expert to challenge her breath samples.