FALL RIVER — A 48-year-old Fall River man with an extensive criminal history dating back to the early 1990s, who after being caught shoplifting at a Walmart store in Fall River recklessly backed up his vehicle and struck an elderly woman, was sentenced to three years in state prison this week, Bristol County District Attorney Thomas M. Quinn III announced.

Rodney Hunt pleaded guilty in Fall River Superior Court to indictments charging him with assault and battery with a dangerous weapon causing serious bodily injury, leaving the scene of personal injury, operating a motor vehicle to endanger and shoplifting.

On June 2, 2017, the defendant walked out of Walmart on Quequechan Street with a tent without paying for it. Fall River Police Officer Nick Magan stopped the defendant and brought him back into the store. The tent was returned, the defendant was issued a no trespass order from the property, and Officer Magan informed the defendant he would be summonsed to court to be arraigned on a charge of shoplifting. Officer Magan and the loss prevention officer watched the defendant on a surveillance camera as he left the store to ensure he left the property.

The defendant was illegally parked in a handicapped spot by the garden entrance to the store. The defendant backed his car up and pulled forward, allowing cars to pass him on the left. The defendant then quickly backed his car up 50-plus feet diagonally through the parking lot and hit the only pedestrian in the lot, an 82-year-old woman. The victim was knocked to the ground and the defendant then fled the scene.

The victim was transported to Saint Anne’s Hospital where she was diagnosed with a broken right ankle. She also suffered a large wound to her left leg, which later became infected. The victim had surgery on her ankle the following Monday. Doctors installed 8-10 screws in her ankle which will never be removed. She was in the hospital for several days and a wheelchair for several weeks.

The case was prosecuted by Assistant District Attorney Michael Cahillane and the three-year state prison term was imposed by Judge Renee Dupuis. The defendant was also placed on probation for an additional three years.

“After being caught shoplifting, the defendant backed his car up through a parking lot and struck an 82-year-old woman who was just walking to her own car. This defendant has a history of criminal behavior and continues to re-offend,” District Attorney Quinn said. “Unfortunately, his conduct caused the victim significant physical injuries and distress. The public needs to be protected from this defendant.”

--Bristol County District Attorney's Office