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Spring Glen woman charged with two hit-and-run assaults

Margarita Franco

By C.J. McMANUS
Sun Advocate reporter

The Carbon County Attorney's Office has filed multiple felony charges against a Carbon County woman who allegedly tried to run her neighbor over twice in less than a month.

On Aug. 3, Carbon County Sheriff's deputies arrested Margarita Elena Franco, 57, Spring Glen, for Aggravated Assault, Leaving the Scene of an Accident with Injuries and Reckless Driving. While the arrest was made after the August incident, similar crimes were reportedly committed by Franco in July.

According to Lt. Tory Christiansen, Gaelene Hunsaker, of Spring Glen, was originally clipped by Franco's car as she walked her dog near her home on July 16 at about 7 a.m.

Hunsaker alleged that Franco drove by, but then backed up and drove forward again at Hunsaker. According to Hunsaker, she was able to jump out of the way and keep Franco from hitting everything but her hand.

Hunsaker informed police, who tried to make contact with Franco but were unsuccessful.

"We sent a report to the county attorney concerning possible Reckless Driving and Aggravated Assault with a Vehicle," said Christiansen. "We couldn't get any cooperation from the suspect. We tried for over a week and at that point started working toward a warrant."

While waiting for the warrant, deputies were called out on a similar complaint.

"This time Franco did strike the victim down and hurt her knee," reported Christiansen, speaking of the Aug. 3 incident.

Franco once again allegedly saw Hunsaker walking at approximately 7 a.m. and hit her with her vehicle. According to both police and the victim, Franco backed up and came after the Hunsaker a second time following the original impact.

"When she made a U-turn to come back, the victim was able to jump a fence and call police," said the lieutenant. "This time, we did make contact and arrested Mrs. Franco."

The suspect told police that she had never left her home while the crimes were committed and that she had nothing to do with Hunsaker's injuries, said Christiansen.

Following her arrest, Carbon County Attorney Gene Strate amended Franco's charges to include three counts of Aggravated Assault, a third degree felony, and Leaving the Scene of an Accident with Injuries, a class A misdemeanor.

Franco's preliminary hearing is scheduled for Aug. 19 in Seventh District Court in Price.




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