Man accused of intentionally, fatally running over woman in Golden Gate Estates

Reporter: Lauren Leslie Writer: Joey Pellegrino
Published: Updated:

A 50-year-old man faces a murder charge after detectives say he intentionally ran over a woman with his minivan and killed her on Monday night.

Donald Lee Whitaker is in the Collier County jail facing a second-degree murder charge. Arrest reports say Whitaker and the victim knew each other.

According to the Collier County Sheriff’s Office, deputies responded to a report of a possible domestic disturbance involving a woman who had been run over by a vehicle in the 1100 block of Dove Tree Street in Golden Gate Estates around 8:40 p.m.

When deputies arrived at the scene, the driver of a blue minivan, later identified as Whitaker, was outside the vehicle holding the victim. Deputies performed CPR on the victim until paramedics arrived.

The victim was transported to Naples Community Hospital North East with critical injuries. She was pronounced dead shortly after arriving at the hospital.

One witness saw it all, and she believes it was planned.

“That front tire went up her thigh starting at the kneecap and went over her arm, her head. The frame of the vehicle caught her and jostled her around. The back tire hit her, and then as it started to land, it spit her out,” said the witness.

She says Whitaker got out and tried to drag the victim back to his van.

“I said ‘put her down, she’s injured. You cannot move her. I need help. I need help.’ I’m like, ‘you just f-ing ran her over. You killed her.’ Because at that point, her head was bobbing, and her arms were lifeless,” said the witness.

Pauline Sills, who lives nearby, saw the aftermath.

“Why would you do something like that?” asked Sills.

She now has to look at where the woman died. Sills hopes to learn who the victim is to put up a memorial in her honor.

“Contact me if anybody knows the girl just so I can put that on the cross and put a picture of her on that cross to let her family know that there’s a place that they can come talk to if they need to,” Sills said.

Sills said she heard Whitaker screaming and yelling he didn’t want to be taken to jail.

That’s where he ended up, now facing a second-degree murder charge.

A witness said the van appeared to stalk the victim, who was walking along and crying, before it suddenly accelerated, mowing her down.

The report from the sheriff’s office says Whitaker initially told deputies the woman had been run over by a horse trailer, and he stopped to help her.

Whitaker will be in court on Thursday.

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