Cops are baffled by explosive claims that Meghan Markle‘s half sister was run off the road and hospitalized by a paparazzo because they can’t find any evidence the crash happened, DailyMail.com can reveal.
Officers from the Florida Highway Patrol spent three hours trawling their database for details after TMZ reported that the car Samantha Grant, 53, was travelling in struck a concrete barrier on Wednesday afternoon.
And after their search turned up empty they even warned the driver, her 60-year-old boyfriend Mark Phillips, could be guilty of a hit and run misdemeanor – punishable by two months in jail – for failing to report an accident.
‘Even if they hit a stationary property such as a wall under Florida law you are required to report that to law enforcement,’ Lt. Kim Montes told DailyMail.com.
‘If you didn’t that’s considered to be a hit and run.’ Lt. Montes said she reached out to TMZ after they splashed the story online along with a photo of Grant, who has MS and is confined to a wheelchair, receiving treatment in an unidentified hospital.
Fractured claims: Samantha Markle told TMZ that she had a ‘paparazzi confrontation’. She released a picture from an unnamed hospital and her partner claimed she had a broken ankle and possible fracture knee. But law enforcement can find no evidence of the crash she described
Claim: TMZ said that Samantha grant was injured after Mark Phillips swerved into a barrier near a toll booth while trying to avoid a photographer who veered in front of them to get pictures
Is this proof of contact with a concrete barrier at a toll booth? One of the vehicles on her property – a Ford Club Wagon – has scrapes but they do not appear fresh or consistent with Phillips’s account to TMZ
No dings here: The couple’s Dodge minivan showed no evidence of crashing into a concrete barrier
Can you see a dent? The Dodge minivan appears to be fine at the front
The report said Grant suffered a broken ankle and a fractured knee after Phillips swerved into a barrier near a toll booth while trying to avoid a photographer who veered in front of them to get pictures.
Montes said the reporter for the LA-based gossip site could only say the accident happened somewhere along Interstate 4 – a 133-mile stretch of highway running coast to coast between Tampa and Daytona Beach that does not have a single toll booth.
She widened her search to include all the major roads around the central Florida city of Ocala, where Grant lives, as well as the Florida Turnpike – which does have toll booths – but still couldn’t find anything.
The reporter could not even offer an approximate time for the alleged smash that reportedly saw Grant hurled into the windshield before ending up on the floor mat, twisting her leg backward.
‘We looked for three hours last night. She lives in Ocala but there’s no toll roads in Ocala.
‘The nearest toll road would be the turnpike so we checked the turnpike, we checked I4, we checked all these other roads,’ Lt Montes said.
‘We checked by her name, we checked by his name and we didn’t find any reports. So we don’t know if this actually happened.
‘We can’t find any reports basically from all of central Florida. We can’t find a report by name or a scenario that was similar to this.’
If the collision did happen and the car simply drove away it could lead to a charge of second degree misdemeanor property damage punishable up to 60 days in prison and a $500 fine.
Lt Montes said the description of the injuries and the manner in which Grant hit the windscreen could also suggest she wasn’t wearing a seat belt, another potential violation punishable by $30 fine.
‘Just based on my 23 years of experience you typically don’t end up on the floor boards of a vehicle unless you’re not buckled or not buckled properly,’ she added.
TMZ’s report said the mysterious paparazzo fled the crash scene and did not include any photos or description of him, his vehicle or his plate.
DailyMail.com has spoken to several Florida news and pictures agencies and they all deny any knowledge of the accident.
One leading agency, Splash News, took photos of Grant outside her home Wednesday before the alleged incident is thought to have taken place. They declined to comment.
Ugly split: Samantha Markle’s mother and daughter are both estranged from her. Roslyn Markle, her mom, has described how Samantha called Doria Ragland, Meghan’s mom, ‘the maid’ because she is black, while Noel Rasmussen, Samantha’s daughter, says she was abused by her as a child.
Court document: Although Samantha denies child abuse, a court reco