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Manatee County Commissioner Donna Hayes charged in Bradenton fender bender

MANATEE -- Manatee County Commissioner Donna Hayes was released from Blake Medical Center after feeling ill moments after a minor fender bender in Bradenton on Wednesday morning.

Hayes, 69, has been charged with careless driving and failure to immediately report a vehicle crash, an FHP media release said.

In an interview after the accident, Hayes said she would not be running for re-election in the fall. It was the second time since last year that Hayes has publicly changed her mind about whether to run for re-elections.

“I will not be running for re election for this office or any other office,” she said. “I have given my all to Manatee County and that’s it.”

Hayes did not say whether her decision was related to the accident.

At about 9:30 a.m., Hayes, driving a 2009 Cadillac, struck a 2006 Honda Odyssey in the rear after she failed to stop during traffic in the westbound inside lane of State Road 70 near Third Street West, an FHP media release said.

Hayes told the Bradenton Herald that her car was not damaged and that the other vehicle only had three scratches and “could probably be rubbed out.”

Hayes said she gave the driver of the Honda her business card listing her name and phone numbers and told her she was on her way to an appointment. At the time of the crash, Hayes had a badge on, she said.

“She (the driver) knew who she was speaking with,” Hayes said.

Neither driver was injured in the crash, the release said. The driver of the Honda took note of Hayes’s tag number.

Hayes said heavy traffic contributed to the fender bender. “It was my error,” Hayes said. “I got a little close there.”

Hayes then drove to the Bradenton house of her hairstylist, where she had a hair appointment. Hayes said her hairstylist “saw I was upset and I started to cry and she called 911.”

She was taken to Blake Medical Center, where doctors told her she was not ill.

“I’ll be glad to pay for it,” Hayes said of the other car’s damage. “I am Christian and I have values and principles.”