HardisonInk.com

--UPDATED--
FRIDAY  APRIL 16  8:11 a.m.  Levy, Dixie and Gilchrist counties


Crash claims life in Gilchrist County
By Jeff M, Hardison © April 14, 2021 at 7:11 a.m.
     GILCHRIST COUNTY --
A 27-year-old woman with a Merritt Island (Brevard County) address died from injuries she suffered in a crash early Tuesday evening (April 13), the Florida Highway Patrol noted in a press release.

 

 

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     The sport utility vehicle (SUV) she was driving was northbound on State Road 26 just north of TL Johnson Boulevard in Gilchrist County on April 13 at 5:05 p.m., the FHP said.
     The driver failed to maintain control of the SUV, causing it to travel off of the roadway and onto the western shoulder of SR 26, the FHP said.
     The vehicle hit a utility power pole, the FHP said, before going farther west and into a tree line, where it hit a tree.
     The driver was pronounced dead at 6:06 p.m., the FHP noted in the press release.
     As of May of 2020, the Florida Highway Patrol stopped providing names of people and some other information from crashes as part of its press releases.
     Prior to May of 2020, the FHP formerly provided those public records in its press releases.
     The FHP and some other law enforcement agencies in Florida are abiding by a version of something known as “Marcy’s Law” of California, which is allegedly to protect victims of crimes. The Florida version of “Marcy’s Law” was adopted after Florida voters chose to change the Florida Constitution to exempt more public records from view.
     Each year since at least 1971, more public records have become excluded from public view in Florida.
     Although not every vehicle crash involves crime victims, which may have been the legislative intent of the Florida version of “Marcy’s Law” approved by voters, the FHP adopted the blanket exclusion of some information as part of its process in sending press releases as it attempts to stay within the bounds of the law while providing the public with information relatively quickly.
     Although the FHP adopted this new practice, not every law enforcement agency has done so. For instance, the St. Petersburg Police Department still provides crash information except when there is an actual victim of a crime, and then certain information is withheld, as demonstrated in the reported death of Jerry Lee Hardison, 63, of St. Petersburg, who was crossing a street when he was hit by an SUV and died Feb. 18, 2021, as noted in a WTOG-TV story, based on SPPD information.
Crash Report Purchasing
https://services.flhsmv.gov/CrashReportPurchasing/
Florida Crash Data
https://www.flhsmv.gov/traffic-crash-reports/crash-dashboard/
Victims’ Rights Information
https://www.flhsmv.gov/victimsrights/

 


Inmate found in possession of a weapon
By LCSO Lt. Scott Tummond
Published April 13, 2021 at 2:11 p.m.
     LEVY COUNTY --
On March 25, 2021, Levy County Sheriff’s Office Detention Officer Jarrod Horne was performing the 11 p.m. security check in the dormitory at the Levy County Detention Facility (also known as the Levy County Jail).
     During this check, he observed inmate James Goins, 35, acting suspiciously. It appeared as if Goins was pulling a ropelike item into his cell. Officer Horne immediately seized the item and called for additional officer assistance.
     Goins was removed from his cell and secured with handcuffs to be taken to a confinement area. Goins resisted officers and was told he would be sprayed with pepper-spray if he continued to resist them. He complied with their orders and was escorted out of the dormitory. Officers then searched his cell and found contraband items that had been fashioned into weapons.
     Seized from Goins cell was a makeshift club that measured 11 inches long. It had been fashioned from cardboard and paper, a flattened piece of battery that had been sharpened razor sharp and pieces of sheets and towels cut into strips and fashioned into a rope. Each of these items could have been used as a weapon against any officer or inmate.
     All seized items of contraband are in violation of the Levy County Detention Facility rules and Goins was issued a disciplinary report for possessing them. Goins could receive up to 30 days in disciplinary confinement as well as potentially facing additional criminal charges.
     This is an example of the many dangers the LCSO detention officers face on a daily basis, Sheriff Bobby McCallum said.
     “Officer Horne is an asset to the Levy County Sheriff’s Office and is doing an exceptional job,” Sheriff McCallum added. “We are very proud of him and all of the men and women in the Detention Bureau for their hard work. They work in a very stressful atmosphere with many violent dangers, and I salute and thank each one of them.”

 


Woman dies in crash
By Jeff M. Hardison © April 13, 2021 at 9:11 a.m.
     MARION COUNTY –
A 31-year-old woman with a Daytona Beach residential address died Monday night (April 12) in a single-car crash in Marion County, according to information in a press release from the Florida Highway Patrol.
     The woman who was not wearing a seatbelt drove a sedan eastbound on Marion County Road 464C on April 12 at 11:05 p.m., the FHP said.
     The driver failed to maintain a single lane and went off the road to the right near Southeast 99th Place, the FHP said. She overcorrected, the FHP said.
     The vehicle started rotating counterclockwise, went off of the road to the left, overturned, hit a traffic sign and then into three trees, the FHP said.
     The sedan came to final rest upright, facing south on the northern grass shoulder, the FHP said. The driver was ejected from the vehicle and came to final rest on the north grass shoulder, the FHP said.
     As of May of 2020, the Florida Highway Patrol stopped providing names of people and some other information from crashes as part of its press releases.
     Prior to May of 2020, the FHP formerly provided those public records in its press releases.
     The FHP and some other law enforcement agencies in Florida are abiding by a version of something known as “Marcy’s Law” of California, which is allegedly to protect victims of crimes. The Florida version of “Marcy’s Law” was adopted after Florida voters chose to change the Florida Constitution to exempt more public records from view.
     Each year since at least 1971, more public records have become excluded from public view in Florida.
     Although not every vehicle crash involves crime victims, which may have been the legislative intent of the Florida version of “Marcy’s Law” approved by voters, the FHP adopted the blanket exclusion of some information as part of its process in sending press releases as it attempts to stay within the bounds of the law while providing the public with information relatively quickly.
     Although the FHP adopted this new practice, not every law enforcement agency has done so. For instance, the St. Petersburg Police Department still provides crash information except when there is an actual victim of a crime, and then certain information is withheld, as demonstrated in the reported death of Jerry Lee Hardison, 63, of St. Petersburg, who was crossing a street when he was hit by an SUV and died Feb. 18, 2021, as noted in a WTOG-TV story, based on SPPD information.
Crash Report Purchasing
https://services.flhsmv.gov/CrashReportPurchasing/
Florida Crash Data
https://www.flhsmv.gov/traffic-crash-reports/crash-dashboard/
Victims’ Rights Information
https://www.flhsmv.gov/victimsrights/

 


Levy-Dixie-Gilchrist opt out
of DEA’s Drug Takeback Day

By Jeff M. Hardison © April 12, 2021 at 4:11 p.m.
     TRI-COUNTY AREA –
As of late Monday afternoon (April 12), the United States Drug Enforcement Agency’s Drug Takeback Day locator showed zero participation by county or municipal law enforcement agencies on April 24 from the Tri-County Area.
     Although no agencies in Levy County, Dixie County or Gilchrist County are participating, there are several other participants in neighboring counties.
     A brief alphabetical list of some of the participants are Alachua City Police Department, Citrus County Sheriff’s Office, Columbia County Sheriff's Office, Dunnellon City Police Department, Gainesville City Police Department, Lafayette County Sheriff's Office and the Perry City Police Department.
     The DEA’s National Prescription Drug Take Back Day addresses a crucial public safety and public health issue. According to the 2019 National Survey on Drug Use and Health, 9.7 million people misused prescription pain relievers, 4.9 million people misused prescription stimulants, and 5.9 million people misused prescription tranquilizers or sedatives in 2019.
     The survey also showed that a majority of misused prescription drugs were obtained from family and friends, often from the medicine cabinets in homes.
     The DEA’s Take Back Day events provide an opportunity for Americans to prevent drug addiction and overdose deaths.
     To find a drop-off location at times, click HERE.
     Although every effort has been made to stop CrabFest 2021 on that date in the area of Levy County east of Williston, there is still some potential for a need for extra law enforcement agents from this part of Florida if things go in a contrary manner beyond what the LCSO, the City of Williston and people from that area of the county want to happen.

 


Motorcyclist dies in crash
By Jeff M. Hardison © April 11, 2021 at 8:11 a.m.
     MARION COUNTY –
A 40-year-old man with a Salt Springs residential address died late Saturday night (April 10) after a pickup truck turned left in front of the cyclist, the Florida Highway Patrol noted in a press release.
     Salt Springs is an unincorporated community in Marion County. It is near to Lake George in the Ocala National Forest.
     A 50-year-old woman with a Fort McCoy residential address was driving the pickup truck, when the crash happened April 10 at 11:35 p.m. on April 10 in Marion County, according to the FHP press release from FHP Sgt. Justin Smatt, based on information from homicide investigator FHP Cpl. J. Bard and crash investigator FHP Trooper D. Brown.
     Fort McCoy is an unincorporated community in Marion County. It is northeast of Ocala between the towns of Sparr and Eureka on Marion County Road 316 and is directly north of Silver Springs on Marion County Road 315.
     The Ford pickup truck was northbound on Northeast 235th Avenue turning left onto Marion County Road 314, the FHP said.
     The Harley-Davidson motorcycle was eastbound on CR 314, the FHP said. The front end of the Harley-Davison hit the left side of the pickup truck, the FHP said.
     The motorcyclist was pronounced dead the scene by Marion County Fire Rescue personnel, the FHP said. The pickup truck driver suffered no injuries, the FHP said.
     As of May of 2020, the Florida Highway Patrol stopped providing names of people and some other information from crashes as part of its press releases.
     Prior to May of 2020, the FHP formerly provided those public records in its press releases.
     The FHP and some other law enforcement agencies in Florida are abiding by a version of something known as “Marcy’s Law” of California, which is allegedly to protect victims of crimes. The Florida version of “Marcy’s Law” was adopted after Florida voters chose to change the Florida Constitution to exempt more public records from view.
     Each year since at least 1971, more public records have become excluded from public view in Florida.
     Although not every vehicle crash involves crime victims, which may have been the legislative intent of the Florida version of “Marcy’s Law” approved by voters, the FHP adopted the blanket exclusion of some information as part of its process in sending press releases as it attempts to stay within the bounds of the law while providing the public with information relatively quickly.
     Although the FHP adopted this new practice, not every law enforcement agency has done so. For instance, the St. Petersburg Police Department still provides crash information except when there is an actual victim of a crime, and then certain information is withheld, as demonstrated in the reported death of Jerry Lee Hardison, 63, of St. Petersburg, who was crossing a street when he was hit by an SUV and died Feb. 18, 2021, as noted in a WTOG-TV story, based on SPPD information.
Crash Report Purchasing
https://services.flhsmv.gov/CrashReportPurchasing/
Florida Crash Data
https://www.flhsmv.gov/traffic-crash-reports/crash-dashboard/
Victims’ Rights Information
https://www.flhsmv.gov/victimsrights/

 


Child dies in tragic accident
By Jeff M. Hardison © April 10, 2021 at 6:11 p.m.
     DIXIE COUNTY –
An 11-year-old girl from Sparks, Georgia, died today (Saturday, April 10) as the result of a tragic accident this afternoon, according to information in press release from the Florida Highway Patrol.
     A 45-year-old man from Sparks, Georgia, was driving a pickup truck at 12:22 p.m. on April 10 in Dixie County, FHP Sgt. William Ernst noted based on information from crash investigator FHP Trooper Glen Ganus.
     The vehicle was facing east in the private driveway of 142 S.E. 894th Ave., the FHP said.
     There was an empty box in the private drive a few feet west of (behind) the pickup truck, the FHP said.
     There was an 11- year-old girl (pedestrian) that had gone inside the box, the FHP said. The driver was unaware the pedestrian was inside the box, the FHP said.
     The pickup truck started going west (backing), and it ran over the box and struck the pedestrian with its left rear tire, the FHP said.
     Dixie County EMS met the driver Dixie County Road 349 at Southeast 482nd Avenue, the FHP said.
     Dixie County EMS took the injured girl to the landing zone in Old Town. She was flown by helicopter to UF Health in Gainesville where she succumbed to her injuries, the FHP said.

 


Big Crash On U.S. 19
Big Crash on U.S. 19 HardisonInk.com
This is the view in the northbound lane of U.S. Highway 19 on Friday morning.

Big Crash on U.S. 19 HardisonInk.com
A Division of Forestry bulldozer is seen as part of the equipment used to clear the crash site of debris.

Big Crash on U.S. 19 HardisonInk.com
These scenes are from a relatively crash on U.S. Highway 19 just north of the Town of Otter Creek on Friday (April 9). Traffic wsa diverted from one lane for at least eight hours as a result. The crash happened at 8:34 a.m. on April 9. A 2015 F150 pickup truck, driven by a 37-year-old man from Camdenton, Missouri, with a 32-year-old woman from Camdenton, Missouri, as a passenger was northbound on U.S. Highway 19, pulling a 2007 Keystone travel trailer. Control of the combination was lost when a tire blowout occurred on the trailer, the FHP said. The driver was unable to regain control of his vehicle before it began to rotate counterclockwise overturned. The vehicle came to final rest facing west across the roadway, the FHP said. These shots were taken at 9:45 a.m. At 2 p.m., the eastern lane of northbound U.S. 19 was still closed. At 2 p.m. there were people sitting on the grass well off the highway to the east.

Photos By Jeff M. Hardison © April 10, 2021 at 1:11 p.m.
Updated April 10, 2021 at 6:11 p.m.

 


Man arrested for attempted murder
Suspected attempted murderer in Mairon County Florida

 

 

 


William Rodriguez-Cordero
Mug Shot By MCSO

 


By Zachary Moore
MCSO Public Information Officer
Published April 9, 2021
at 9:11 p.m.
     MARION COUNTY --
On Thursday, April 8, 2021, Marion County Sheriff’s Office Major Crimes Detective Joseph Miller arrested William Rodriguez-Cordero, 41, on charges of attempted second degree murder, sexual battery involving physical force, aggravated battery with a deadly weapon, and false imprisonment.
     On Wednesday (April 7), just before 4 p.m., the MCSO received a call for service in reference to a victim having been held against her will, stabbed, battered and sexually assaulted by Rodriguez-Cordero.
     When deputies contacted the victim, the deputies saw extensive injuries and were advised the victim met Rodriguez-Cordero on April 3 his residence, 10 Dogwood Trail Run, Ocala.
     After a dispute, he began to strike the victim in the face repeatedly. She tried to escape from the location, but Rodriguez-Cordero chased after her and began stabbing the victim several times. He then forced her inside the home to clean the blood and dirt off of her, when he began to batter her again.
     Rodriguez-Cordero then bandaged the victim’s wounds and said he would “show her mercy.” The victim was held against her will from April 4 to April 7.
     During that time, Rodriguez-Cordero would let the victim “heal” for a day and then batter and stab her again the next day. On April 6, Rodriguez-Cordero sexually battered the victim while she was in fear of the repercussions if she resisted. On April 7, the victim was able to escape from his home and contact law enforcement from a nearby residence.
     Medics also responded and transported the victim to the hospital for treatment.
     Major Crimes detectives executed a search warrant on Thursday (April 8) and located evidence that corroborated the victim’s account of the incident. Rodriguez-Cordero was advised of the allegations, of which he admitted to striking the victim, but advised he could not remember if he had stabbed her.
     Rodriguez-Cordero was placed under arrest and transported to the Marion County Jail, where he is held without bond.

 


Man sentenced to 40 years for sexual battery of a child
Convicted Child Rapist Gets 40 years in prison

 

 

 


Eric Scott King
Mugshot By CCSO

 

 


By Brittney Carman
CCSO Community Relations Specialist
Published April 9, 2021
at 9:11 p.m.
     CITRUS COUNTY --
Yesterday, (Thursday, April 8), the honorable Fifth Judicial Circuit Court Judge Richard "Ric" Howard sentenced 33-year-old Eric Scott King of Beverly Hills to 40 years in prison for Sexual Battery on a Child.
     On Dec. 18, 2019, the Citrus County Sheriff's Office (CCSO) was contacted in reference to a past sexual assault of a juvenile.  Deputies made contact with the juvenile victim who disclosed years of sexual abuse by King. Based on these allegations, former CCSO Special Victims Unit (SVU) Detective Bruce Arnold was assigned to the case and began an investigation.
     The victim was interviewed by the Child Protection Team at Jessie's Place, a Citrus County child advocacy center. The victim disclosed to officials they had been sexually assaulted by King multiple times, over the past several years.
     Detective Arnold interviewed King who confirmed the statements made by the victim. King was arrested for Sexual Battery, and Lewd and Lascivious Molestation. He was held at the Citrus County Jail without bond per the bond schedule.
     "King is a predator who manipulated and abused his victim. The harm he inflicted on this innocent child is inexcusable and no punishment can truly ever correct his horrendous actions," said Citrus County Sheriff Mike Prendergast. "However, through our efforts and those of the Honorable Judge Howard, we are hopeful the victim can begin the healing process knowing this predator is no longer able to hurt anyone."
     In court yesterday, King plead no contest to three counts of lewd and lascivious molestation, one count of attempted sexual battery, and one count of sexual battery. Judge Howard sentenced King to 40 years in prison, followed by lifetime probation as a sexual predator.
     The incredible work by the CCSO's Special Victims Unit and the dedicated individuals at the Department of Children and Families, the Child Protection Team at Jessie's Place, and the Fifth Judicial Circuit State Attorney's Office have once again brought justice to another Citrus County victim.

 


Fake vaccination cards endanger people
Do not post vax cards on social media

Information Provided By
FBI Jacksonville Office, and HHS-OIG
Published April 9, 2021 at 8:11 p.m.
     JACKSONVILLE --
The Department of Health and Human Services, Office of Inspector General (HHS-OIG) and the FBI are advising the public to be aware of individuals selling fake COVID-19 vaccination record cards and encouraging others to print fake cards at home.
     Fake vaccination record cards have been advertised on social media websites, as well as e-commerce platforms and blogs.
     Vaccination record cards are intended to provide recipients of the COVID-19 vaccine with information about the type of vaccine they received, and when they may be able to receive a second dose of the vaccine. If you did not receive the vaccine, do not buy fake vaccine cards, do not make your own vaccine cards, and do not fill-in blank vaccination record cards with false information.
     By misrepresenting yourself as vaccinated when entering schools, mass transit, workplaces, gyms, or places of worship, you put yourself and others around you at risk of contracting COVID-19. Additionally, the unauthorized use of an official government agency's seal (such as HHS or the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC)) is a federal crime, and may be punishable under Title 18 United States Code, Section 1017, and other applicable laws.
     Because individuals may use fake vaccine cards to misrepresent themselves as vaccinated, we strongly encourage businesses, schools, places of worship, and government agencies to follow CDC guidance and continue to maintain social distancing and use personal protective equipment.
     If you did receive the vaccine, we recommend you do not post photos of your vaccine card to social media websites—your personal information could be stolen to commit fraud.~
     To report suspicious activity involving fake vaccination record cards, please contact the appropriate government agency in your state or jurisdiction, HHS-OIG (1-800-HHS-TIPS or https://www.oig.hhs.gov/); or the Internet Crime Complaint Center (https://www.ic3.gov/).


School bus driver hospitalized after crash
By Jeff M. Hardison © April 8, 2021 at 7:11 a.m.
     ALACHUA COUNTY –
A 47-year-old female Alachua County school bus driver from Gainesville was taken to Shands Hospital late Wednesday afternoon (April 7) after a sedan hit the bus, according to a Florida Highway Patrol press release by FHP Staff Sgt. Tomas Dillon, based on information from crash investigator FHP Trooper Nicholas Turro.
     The bus driver’s injuries were noted by the FHP as being minor and not life-threatening.
     The crash happened April 7 at approximately 3:18 p.m. after the last student had exited the bus, the FHP said, and no children were hurt. The drivers of the two sedans involved in the crash suffered minor injuries but they were not noted as having been taken to any hospital in the FHP press release.
     The crash on State Road 26 just west of Quail Street in the Alachua County part of Melrose. Melrose is an unincorporated community in Alachua, Bradford, Clay, and Putnam counties. It is approximately 17 miles east of Gainesville.
     The crash involved two sedans and an Alachua County School bus, the FHP said. The bus was stopped on SR 26 heading east, the FHP said. It was stopped just before Quail Street, offloading the last children on the bus for that school day, the FHP said.
     A sedan driven by a 58-year-old female from Keystone Heights was eastbound on SR 26, a short distance behind the bus, the FHP said.
     Another sedan driven by at 34-year-old female from Keystone Heights was eastbound on SR 26 approaching Quail Street, when that sedan sideswiped the right side of sedan immediately behind the bus, the FHP said.
     The 34-year-old woman then continued in that car eastbound on SR 26, the FHP said, until the front of that sedan smacked into the rear-end of the Alachua County School bus.
     The FHP press release did not include whether any driver was cited for violating Florida traffic laws, however that does not mean the allegedly sedan-sideswiping, school bus driver-injuring driver of a sedan is free from concern in that regard.

     As of May of 2020, the Florida Highway Patrol stopped providing names of people and some other information from crashes as part of its press releases.
     Prior to May of 2020, the FHP formerly provided those public records in its press releases.
     The FHP and some other law enforcement agencies in Florida are abiding by a version of something known as “Marcy’s Law” of California, which is allegedly to protect victims of crimes. The Florida version of “Marcy’s Law” was adopted after Florida voters chose to change the Florida Constitution to exempt more public records from view.
     Each year since at least 1971, more public records have become excluded from public view in Florida.
     Although not every vehicle crash involves crime victims, which may have been the legislative intent of the Florida version of “Marcy’s Law” approved by voters, the FHP adopted the blanket exclusion of some information as part of its process in sending press releases as it attempts to stay within the bounds of the law while providing the public with information relatively quickly.
     Although the FHP adopted this new practice, not every law enforcement agency has done so. For instance, the St. Petersburg Police Department still provides crash information except when there is an actual victim of a crime, and then certain information is withheld, as demonstrated in the reported death of Jerry Lee Hardison, 63, of St. Petersburg, who was crossing a street when he was hit by an SUV and died Feb. 18, 2021, as noted in a WTOG-TV story, based on SPPD information.
Crash Report Purchasing
https://services.flhsmv.gov/CrashReportPurchasing/
Florida Crash Data
https://www.flhsmv.gov/traffic-crash-reports/crash-dashboard/
Victims’ Rights Information
https://www.flhsmv.gov/victimsrights/

 


FDLE busts 27 in Operation No Warning
By FDLE Office of Communications
April 7, 2021 at 10:11 a.m.
     TALLAHASSEE, Fla. –
Florida Department of Law Enforcement agents, along with Leon County Sheriff’s Office, Tallahassee Police Department and Florida Highway Patrol, arrested 27 suspects charged with drug crimes, including widescale drug trafficking in Leon and Gadsden counties.
     “We are in the midst of a national opioid crisis claiming the lives of nearly 17 people a day in our state,” Florida Attorney General Ashley Moody said. “When you factor in other deadly drugs, the mortality rate rises even higher. The people who peddle these poisons must be brought to justice, and multiagency operations like this one are so vital to our mission to end the opioid crisis and save lives. Not only did law enforcement confiscate heroin during the operation, but they also seized enough fentanyl to kill approximately 28,350 people - that’s almost equal to the populations of Franklin, Lafayette and Liberty counties combined.
     “I am proud to work with FDLE, FHP, State Attorney Campbell, Sheriff McNeil and Chief Revell to coordinate and execute this sophisticated operation that led to the takedown of this massive, multistate drug-trafficking ring,” Attorney Gen. Moody continued. “My statewide prosecutors will aggressively litigate this case to ensure these drug traffickers face justice.”
     This happened in the Second Judicial Circuit, which includes Leon, Franklin, Wakulla, Gadsden, Jefferson and Liberty counties. There are 20 judicial circuits for Florida's 67 counties.
     “The Office of the State Attorney wants to thank our law enforcement and prosecution partners for their outstanding work during these many months,” Second Judicial Circuit State Attorney Jack Campbell said. “While our community has been in isolation due to the pandemic, the sad truth is that crime has not stopped. Whether combating the violence that always accompanies the trafficking of narcotics or the misery of those addicted, your local partners have continued to work unabated during these many months. Now that the arrests have been made, we will work with our state and federal partners to bring comfort to our victims and justice to the people who make their living poisoning our streets.”
     The commissioner for the Florida Department of Law Enforcement commented on the successful operation.
     “The work of our agents, analysts and partners on this case highlights the positive impact law enforcement has on the safety and wellbeing of its citizens,” FDLE Commissioner Rick Swearingen said. “I want to recognize our members who dedicated much of this past year to Operation No Warning and our partners who have helped with every aspect of the case. We’ll never know the lives saved throughout Florida because of the work on this investigation.”
     FDLE Tallahassee Special Agent in Charge Mark Perez said “Many of these suspects have significant criminal histories involving violence and gang membership, and all played a key role in this large drug-trafficking organization responsible for spreading illegal drugs throughout North Florida.”
     Florida Highway Patrol Col. Gene Spaulding said, “When law enforcement agencies and prosecutors work together to remove dangerous criminals and illegal contraband from our communities, there is no doubt lives are saved. I commend all of the agencies involved in Operation No Warning for their commitment to ensuring our loved ones are safe.”
     Leon County Sheriff Walt McNeil said, “Today, we, the members of law enforcement agencies in the Big Bend communities of North Florida, stand united in our efforts to stop drugs and stop the drug-related shootings on our streets. Operation No Warning is but one of our ongoing initiatives to prevent these drugs from ruining the lives of so many of our citizens.”
     Gadsden County Sheriff Morris Young said, “I am thrilled at the results of this investigation. Collaborative efforts such as these are invaluable to rural counties, especially when conducting multi-jurisdictional investigations.”
     Tallahassee Police Department Chief Lawrence Revell said, “Illegal drug activity is often linked to more violent crimes and can impact the quality of life for our citizens. This investigation is a testament to joint efforts to help curb this activity and create a safer community for everyone.” 
     Operation No Warning began in June 2020. Investigators say the drug-trafficking organization was responsible for spreading large amounts of illegal drugs including cocaine, crack cocaine, heroin, methamphetamine, molly and marijuana throughout Florida, but predominantly in Leon and Gadsden counties.  The organization also operated in Georgia, Texas and California.
     During the investigation agents seized nearly 30 pounds of cocaine, a half pound of methamphetamine, more than one pound of brown heroin, three ounces of black tar heroin, more than two ounces of fentanyl, more than $330,000 in cash, nine firearms and three stolen vehicles.
      Attorney Gen. Moody’s Office of Statewide Prosecution and State Attorney Campbell’s Office assisted in the investigation and will prosecute the cases.
     The list of suspects arrested in Operation No Warning as of April 6 follows:
     • Kevin Kwame Choute, 32, Huntington Woods Blvd, Tallahassee - Charged with armed trafficking of heroin, armed trafficking of cocaine, possession of heroin with intent to distribute, possession of cocaine with intent to distribute, conspiracy to traffic in heroin, conspiracy to traffic in cocaine, conspiracy to traffic in methamphetamine, felon in possession of a firearm, and unlawful use of a two-way communication device;
     • Aaprie Mitchell, 39, Mark Drive, Tallahassee - Charged with trafficking in cocaine and conspiracy to traffic in cocaine;
     • Carlos Cromartie, 41, Applewood Way, Tallahassee - Charged with trafficking in cocaine, conspiracy to traffic in cocaine, and unlawful use of a two-way communication device;
     • Cedric Bernard Thomas, 39, Hartsfield Road, Tallahassee - Charged with trafficking in cocaine and tampering with evidence;
     • Charles Edward Williams III, 30, Calloway Street, Tallahassee - Charged with possession of marijuana more than 28 grams and possession of a firearm by a convicted felon;
     • Chris Patrick Gilyard Jr., 29, Wesley Drive, Tallahassee -Charged with trafficking in cocaine, conspiracy to traffic in cocaine, and unlawful use of a two-way communication device
     • Cody Marcell Zellars, 27, Palmer Road, Midway - Charged with trafficking in cocaine;
     • Cortez Johnson, 34, East 12th Street, Panama City - Charged with trafficking in cocaine, conspiracy to traffic in cocaine, and unlawful use of a two-way communication device;
     • Danate Miller, 45, Martin Luther King Blvd., Midway - Charged with trafficking in cocaine, conspiracy to traffic in cocaine, and unlawful use of a two-way communication device;
     • Darryl Crafton, 34, Harriet Street, Oceanside, California - Charged with trafficking in cocaine, conspiracy to traffic in cocaine, and unlawful use of a two-way communication device;
     • David Mitchell, 37, North 37th Street, Fort Pierce - Charged with trafficking in cocaine, conspiracy to traffic in cocaine, and unlawful use of a two-way communication device;
     • Dominic Rosier, 34, Basin Street, Tallahassee - Charged with trafficking in cocaine, conspiracy to traffic in cocaine, and unlawful use of a two-way communication device;
     • Donald Ray Ivory Jr., 52, Ponderosa Lane, Midway - Charged with trafficking in cocaine, conspiracy to traffic in cocaine, and unlawful use of a two-way communication device;
     • Duran Antwan Bethea, 36, Cannon Ridge Drive, Orlando -Charged with possession of crack cocaine with intent to distribute, possession of a firearm by a convicted felon, possession of Alpha PVP (alpha-Pyrrolidinopentiophenone) with intent to distribute, and providing false information to law enforcement;
     • Christopher Hoardes, 27, Woodville Highway, Tallahassee - Charged with trafficking in cocaine, conspiracy to traffic in cocaine, and unlawful use of a two-way communication device;
     • Alexander Samuel Holmes, 29, Ford Street, Tallahassee - Charged with trafficking in cocaine, conspiracy to traffic in cocaine, and unlawful use of a two-way communication device;
     • Ja’Mario Raequan Paramore, 25, Huntington Woods Blvd., Tallahassee - Charged with trafficking in methamphetamine, trafficking in cocaine, conspiracy to traffic in methamphetamine, conspiracy to traffic in cocaine, and unlawful use of a two-way communication device;
     • Keith Times, 44, Huntington Woods Blvd., Tallahassee - Charged with felon in possession of a firearm, trafficking in amphetamine, and unlawful use of a two-way communication device;
     • Kristy Chambers, 43, Huntington Woods Blvd., Tallahassee - Charged with trafficking in amphetamine and unlawful use of a two-way communication device;
     • Michael Wallace, 48, Saxon Street, Tallahassee - Charged with trafficking in cocaine, conspiracy to traffic in cocaine, and unlawful use of a two-way communication device;
     • Nigel Brown, 29, Jackson Bluff Road, Tallahassee - Charged with trafficking in cocaine, conspiracy to traffic in cocaine, and unlawful use of a two-way communication device;
     • Rashard Jamell Jackson, 32, East Brickyard Road, Midway - Charged with trafficking in cocaine, conspiracy to traffic in cocaine, and unlawful use of a two-way communication device;
     • Richard Fruggiero, 28, Lakewood Drive, Tallahassee - Charged with trafficking in methamphetamine, conspiracy to traffic in methamphetamine, and unlawful use of a two-way communication device;
     • Sharika Shawnque Houston, 30, Blue Jay Drive, Tallahassee - Charged with trafficking in methamphetamine, conspiracy to traffic in methamphetamine, and unlawful use of a two-way communication device;
     • Stephon Jarod Williams, 33, Gibbs Drive, Tallahassee - Charged with possession of marijuana more than 28 grams and possession of drug Paraphernalia;
     • Quentin Travelle Gamble, 32, Shephard Street, Tallahassee - Charged with trafficking in cocaine, conspiracy to traffic in cocaine, and unlawful use of a two-way communication device; and
     • Willie Ardnes Baker, 59, Griffin Street, Tallahassee - Charged with possession of crack cocaine.

 


LCSO arrests seven
for sex crime registration failure

Suspected of failing to register as a sex criminal who was convicted
Suspected of failing to abide by the law are (from left) Joel Ramirez, Renee Mangini and Todd Thompson.

Suspected of failing to register as a sex criminal who was convicted
Suspected of failing to abide by the law are (from left) Deonte Washington, Fredrick Carpenter, Gary Thunquest, and Jeffrey Lashley.

Mug Shots By LCSO

By LCSO Lt. Scott Tummond
Published April 7, 2021 at 9:11 a.m.
     BRONSON --
The Levy County Sheriff’s Office launched Operation Benchmark in February of this year.
      Operation Benchmark was created to identify sex offenders and sexual predators in Levy County who were not complying with state offender registration requirements. Sex offenders and sexual predators are required by the Florida Department of Law Enforcement, after being convicted of any sexually based crime, to register with their local sheriff’s office.
     Registration requirements include notifying law enforcement of address changes, providing information on the vehicles they drive, electronic addresses, employment locations and planned travel arrangements.
     Detectives in the LCSO Criminal Investigations Division spent hours reviewing the files of the 201 registered sex offenders and sexual predators in Levy County. This was followed by countless hours of investigation into those offenders who did not have their records up to date.
     Some tips related to suspicious activity of registered sex offenders came directly from individuals in the general public, and detectives investigated each complaint. 
     Operation Benchmark was concluded this past week and netted seven arrests which included a variety of registration requirement failures.
     One additional case is still outstanding, and detectives have filed an application for an arrest warrant on this individual. The following individuals have been taken into custody and are awaiting trial: Deonte Washington, 26, of Williston; Fredrick Carpenter, 54, of Levy County; Gary Thunquest, 54, of Bronson; Jeffrey Lashley, 61, of Chiefland; Joel Ramirez, 49, of Williston; Renee Mangini, 52, of Inglis; and Todd Thompson, 42, of Chiefland.

 


Motorcyclist dies in crash
By Jeff M. Hardison © April 5, 2021 at 11:11 a.m.
     CITRUS COUNTY –
A 54-year-old Dunnellon man who was driving a motorcycle died Sunday night (April 4), the Florida Highway Patrol said in a press release.
     The motorcycle was northbound on Independence Parkway near the intersection of Florida Avenue in Citrus County on April 4 at 9:41 p.m., the FHP said.
     Meanwhile, a sports utility vehicle driven by a 32-year-old woman from Inverness was southbound on Independence Parkway, the FHP said.
     As the motorcycle entered a curve in the roadway, the rider lost control of the motorcycle, the FHP said. As a result, the FHP said, that vehicle overturned, slid into the southbound lanes and collided with the SUV.
     The motorcyclist suffered fatal injuries at the scene of the crash, the FHP said. He was wearing a helmet, the FHP said.
     The SUV driver was not injured, the FHP said. She was wearing a seatbelt, the FHP said.

     As of May of 2020, the Florida Highway Patrol stopped providing names of people and some other information from crashes as part of its press releases.
     Prior to May of 2020, the FHP formerly provided those public records in its press releases.
     The FHP and some other law enforcement agencies in Florida are abiding by a version of something known as “Marcy’s Law” of California, which is allegedly to protect victims of crimes. The Florida version of “Marcy’s Law” was adopted after Florida voters chose to change the Florida Constitution to exempt more public records from view.
     Each year since at least 1971, more public records have become excluded from public view in Florida.
     Although not every vehicle crash involves crime victims, which may have been the legislative intent of the Florida version of “Marcy’s Law” approved by voters, the FHP adopted the blanket exclusion of some information as part of its process in sending press releases as it attempts to stay within the bounds of the law while providing the public with information relatively quickly.
     Although the FHP adopted this new practice, not every law enforcement agency has done so. For instance, the St. Petersburg Police Department still provides crash information except when there is an actual victim of a crime, and then certain information is withheld, as demonstrated in the reported death of Jerry Lee Hardison, 63, of St. Petersburg, who was crossing a street when he was hit by an SUV and died Feb. 18, 2021, as noted in a WTOG-TV story, based on SPPD information.
Crash Report Purchasing
https://services.flhsmv.gov/CrashReportPurchasing/
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https://www.flhsmv.gov/traffic-crash-reports/crash-dashboard/
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Two seriously injured
in Citrus County crash

By Jeff M. Hardison © April 4, 2021 at 12:11 p.m.
     CITRUS COUNTY –
A 22-year-old man and a 21-year-old woman suffered serious injuries late Saturday night (April 3) in a single-car crash, the FHP said.
     The man who has an Inverness residential address was driving a sedan, according to information in a Florida Highway Patrol press released.
     The vehicle was southbound on North Citrus Avenue, north of West Emerald Oaks Drive in Citrus County, and it was travelling at a high rate of speed, the FHP said.
     The driver lost control of the vehicle at about 11:36 p.m. on April 3, the FHP said. The sedan went off of the roadway, entered the western shoulder of North Citrus Avenue, struck a fence, became airborne, collided with two trees and overturned before coming to final rest, the FHP said.
     The driver and 21-year-old female passenger who has a Floral City residential address were taken to a hospital with serious injuries, the FHP noted in the press release.

     As of May of 2020, the Florida Highway Patrol stopped providing names of people and some other information from crashes as part of its press releases.
     Prior to May of 2020, the FHP formerly provided those public records in its press releases.
     The FHP and some other law enforcement agencies in Florida are abiding by a version of something known as “Marcy’s Law” of California, which is allegedly to protect victims of crimes. The Florida version of “Marcy’s Law” was adopted after Florida voters chose to change the Florida Constitution to exempt more public records from view.
     Each year since at least 1971, more public records have become excluded from public view in Florida.
     Although not every vehicle crash involves crime victims, which may have been the legislative intent of the Florida version of “Marcy’s Law” approved by voters, the FHP adopted the blanket exclusion of some information as part of its process in sending press releases as it attempts to stay within the bounds of the law while providing the public with information relatively quickly.
     Although the FHP adopted this new practice, not every law enforcement agency has done so. For instance, the St. Petersburg Police Department still provides crash information except when there is an actual victim of a crime, and then certain information is withheld, as demonstrated in the reported death of Jerry Lee Hardison, 63, of St. Petersburg, who was crossing a street when he was hit by an SUV and died Feb. 18, 2021, as noted in a WTOG-TV story, based on SPPD information.
Crash Report Purchasing
https://services.flhsmv.gov/CrashReportPurchasing/
Florida Crash Data
https://www.flhsmv.gov/traffic-crash-reports/crash-dashboard/
Victims’ Rights Information
https://www.flhsmv.gov/victimsrights/

 


GCSO and DCSO reel in suspected burglar
Suspected Burglar

 

 


Jared Dwayne Holder

 

 

By Jeff M. Hardison
© April 1, 2021 at 12:11 p.m.
     TRENTON –
A 35-year-old man with an Old Town (Dixie County) residential address was arrested Monday (March 29) as a suspected burglar, thanks to the combined efforts of the Gilchrist County Sheriff’s Office and the Dixie County Sheriff’s Office, according to information provided April 1 by K. Holley of the GCSO.
     People who are familiar with Gilchrist County Sheriff Bobby Schultz know he has a motto of “One Team, One Mission” and here the DCSO is seen among the many agencies that are part of the team of law enforcers. Sheriff Schultz also is the current president of the Florida Sheriff’s Association.
     As for the suspected burglar, his trip to the Gilchrist County Jail began on March 29, after the GCSO responded to the report of a burglary and grand theft at business located near the city of Trenton, the GCSO said.
     With the assistance of the business owners, employees and detectives, information led the investigators to develop a probable suspect, the GCSO said.
      Jared Dwayne Holder, 35, of Old Town was located with the assistance of the DCSO, the GCSO said, and holder was arrested.
     Holder is a career violent offender with 11 prior felony convictions, according to records, the GCSO noted, and he was most recently released from incarceration on July 15, 2020.
     Sheriff Schultz noted his recognition and appreciation for the work by Capt. S. Douglas, Lt. A. Gaston, Lt. C. Anderson, GCSO detectives R. Tremblay and T. Freeman, and GCSO deputies Garth Frier and Austin Ritchie for their hard work on this case and getting quick resolution and arrest in this case.
     The sheriff also noted his thanks for the assistance from the DCSO, which is led by Dixie County Sheriff Darby Butler.
     Holder was arrested for two counts of burglary of an unoccupied conveyance, and one count each of grand theft and felony criminal mischief, the GCSO noted. Total bonds for Holder were set at $250,000.

 


MCSO detectives investigate homicide
in SW Ocala’s Hidden Oaks neighborhood

By MCSO Public Information Officer Zachary Moore
Published March 30, 2021 at 4:11 p.m.
     MARION COUNTY --
Marion County Sheriff’s Office (MCSO) Major Crimes detectives are investigating a homicide that occurred on Friday, March 26, near Southwest 103rd Street Road and 75th Terrace in Ocala.
     On Friday, March 26, at approximately 12 p.m., MCSO deputies responded to conduct a wellbeing check on an individual. Upon arrival, deputies detected the odor of something burning inside the incident location. Marion County Fire Rescue (MCFR) was notified and located a small fire inside the home, which was quickly extinguished.
     The victim was discovered deceased inside the home, at which time Major Crimes detectives arrived to begin their investigation.
     Due to the heinous nature of this crime, detectives are awaiting forensic results to positively identify the victim. At this time, a next-of-kin notification has not been made pending those results.
     MCSO has a person of interest in custody, who was arrested on unrelated charges. However, the MCSO is asking for anyone with more information about this crime to call Det. Billy Burleson at 352-368-3542 -- or to remain anonymous, call Marion County Crime Stoppers at 352-368-STOP.

 


Man allegedly threatens deputy
#Suspected #Criminals In #Levy #County #Florida
Ralph Kenneth Flack III and Robin Lynn Bartholomew

By Jeff M. Hardison © March 30, 2021 at 10:11 a.m.
     BRONSON --
A man and a woman from the City of Crystal River are charged with defrauding or swindling a cab driver, and the man additionally is suspected of the crimes of threatening a public servant and disorderly conduct, according to information filed when the two were arrested.
     Ralph Kenneth Flack III, 42, and Robin Lynn Bartholomew, 58, both of Crystal River were arrested at 8 p.m. Thursday (March 25) at the Shrimp Landing Restaurant at 48 U.S. Highway 19 S., in Inglis, according to records.
     They were both still in jail as of Tuesday morning (March 29), according to records.
     The deputy who was responding to the report of a crime, spoke with the victim – a taxi cab driver – who said Flack and Bartholomew owed him another $175 in unpaid fares, according to records. The two people had paid the driver $200 when he picked them up in Tampa to drive them to the Ocala area, and that the driver had advised the two passengers then in Tampa, the deputy said, that another $50 would be required at the end of that trip.
     After not driving them to Inglis and around that town, the driver arrived at the restaurant on U.S. 19, and then the issue of paying appears to have come to a head, according to records.
     “(Redacted victim’s name) advised upon arriving at the restaurant Flack exited the car and walked into the Buoy Bar next door,” the arresting deputy noted. “(Redacted victim’s name) advised at that time he was still owed approximately $175, but since he had not been paid and he still had all of Flack’s and Bartholomew’s belongings in the trunk of the car, the meter was still running.”
     Flack told the deputy that he paid the driver $200 in Tampa and that was all he intended to pay. The deputy advised the man that if he failed to pay the cab driver, then he would be arrested for hiring with intent to defraud a taxicab.
     While the deputy spoke with Flack, the deputy noted in the documents that are part of the arrest record, Flack started yelling and cursing at customers outside the restaurant – thereby disturbing the peace and quiet of those people.
     Flack appeared to have some level of intoxication, the deputy noted as he observed Flack’s bloodshot eyes, some unsteadiness on his feet and that the defendant had told the deputy he had been drinking “Twisted tea,” according to records.
     When Flack refused to pay the $175 he allegedly still owed to the cab driver, he was placed under arrest, the deputy noted, and transport to the county jail began.
     Records show that during this ride, Flack is said to have made several statements to the law enforcement officer and public servant who had taken him into custody, including but not limited to, “I’m gonna’ kill you.” “You better walk away and let me go.” “I will go to your house and get you bitch.” “I will hang out there (Shrimp Landing Restaurant) until you eat dinner and I will follow you home.” “When I see you, I’m gonna’ get you.” All I’d have to do is light off a bomb, and Levy County will come out and I’ll pick his ass off.”
     As for Bartholomew, she contended that the two passengers were quoted a total price of $250 ion Tampa, and although she had one point agreed to pay, in the end, the deputy noted, she chose to be arrested and transported to the jail, according to records.
     Flack’s combined bonds were set at $55,000, according to records.
     Bartholomew’s bond was set at $10,000 and she was in jail as of Tuesday morning (March 29), according to records.

 


FDLE arrests Sneads father and son for
possession of child sexual abuse material

By FDLE Office of Public Information
Published March 26, 2021 at 10:11 a.m.
     SNEADS –
Florida Department of Law Enforcement (FDLE) agents arrested Eddie Garland Lee, 48, and his son, William Michael Lee, 22, of Sneads, yesterday (Thursday, March 25) for possession of child sexual abuse material.
     The Florida Regional Fugitive Task Force, the Jackson County Sheriff’s Office and the Sneads Police Department assisted inthe arrest.
     Eddie Lee is charged with 20 counts of possession of child sexual abuse material, Florida Statutes 775.0847(2)(a)(b), and one count of violation of probation, Florida Statute 948.06
     Eddie Lee is currently on felony probation for unrelated charges.
     William Lee is charged with 24 counts of possession of child sexual abuse material, Florida Statutes 775.0847(2)(a)(b).
     FDLE’s Pensacola and Panama City Field Office agents, with the assistance of the Jackson County Sheriff’s Office and the Sneads Police Department, previously executed a search warrant at the Lees' home, and forensic examinations of both the father's and son's computers uncovered numerous videos of children involved in sex acts. Some of the children were toddlers. 
     Eddie Lee and William Lee were booked into the Jackson County Jail. The case will be prosecuted by the Office of the 14th Judicial Circuit State Attorney Larry Basford. The 14th Judicial Circuit includes Bay, Calhoun, Gulf, Holmes County, Jackson and Washington counties. There are 20 state judicial circuits in Florida.
     Please visit the FDLE website to review tips for keeping your children safe online at: https://www.secureflorida.org/SF/Family-Safety/BPParents.
    


Dixie County man arrested for
aggravated assault with a deadly weapon

By Jeff M. Hardison © March 23, 2021 at 11:11 a.m.
     DIXIE COUNTY –
A 49-year-old man with a Cross City residential address was arrested a week ago Monday (March 15) on the charges of aggravated assault with a deadly weapon, tampering with evidence and grand theft, according to information in the probable cause affidavit from the Dixie County Sheriff’s Office.
     Adrian Paul Cottrill, 49, of Cross City is among the people listed in the weekly jail log provided by the DCSO, as shown farther down this page.
     On March 15 at 7:29 a.m., according to the alleged victim and witnesses, Cottrill threatened violence against the victim with a knife and a crowbar, according to records.
     Records show, too, that the DCSO charged that Cottrill knew a criminal trial or proceeding was pending and he altered, destroyed, concealed or removed a record or document to impair the proceeding or the investigation.
     Additionally, according to information leading to the man’s arrest, Cottrill took a phone valued between $750 and $1,000 from a person who is alleged to be one of the victims of this suspected thief, according to records.
    The arresting deputy noted that he interviewed the suspect, and “In an excited utterance, the Defendant openly admitted that he had the knife on him.”
     A second victim’s cell phone was admitted by the Cottrill to be in Cottrill’s possession, the deputy noted.
     Documents show the deputy collected the crowbar that was allegedly used in the aggravated assault with a deadly weapon from the place where the suspect told him he had thrown it after allegedly threatening one of the two victims with that tool, which in this case is considered a deadly weapon.
     The two victims have Cross City residential addresses, according to records.

 


Trenton man arrested for
willful and wanton reckless driving

By Jeff M. Hardison © March 23, 2021 at 2:11 p.m.
     DIXIE COUNTY –
A 26-year-old man with a Trenton residential address was arrested on Thursday (March 18) for fleeing in an attempt to elude a police officer, willful and wanton reckless driving, resisting arrest without violence, driving while license suspended or revoked, failure to register a vehicle and he was arrested on an outstanding warrant, according to records provided by the Dixie County Sheriff’s Office.
     His 30-year-old wife was arrested as a co-defendant on a couple of those charges, according to records.
     Kenneth Wayne Meador, 26, of Trenton was charged with fleeing from police and reckless driving and the other charges noted above, according to records. Melissa Ann Rowe, 30, his wife, is listed as a co-defendant for both of those charges, according to records.
     On March 18, Meador is said to have willfully flee from a law enforcement officer with the DCSO, and he is accused of driving the vehicle in a manner that showed a willful and wanton disregard for life or property. The car he was driving, according to the narrative leading to his arrest, was not registered.
     The DCSO sergeant who arrested the subject saw a Chevrolet Silverado turn onto Northeast 364th Avenue as he was on static patrol at Northeast SR 349 and 410th Avenue.
     He activated the cruiser’s overhead emergency lights to conduct a traffic stop when he saw the vehicle did not have functioning tag lights, he noted. The vehicle increased its speed rather than stopping and the DCSO sergeant activated the siren.
     The narrative showed the pursuit went through several stop signs without stopping. The pursuing officer saw the driver was a male wearing a baseball cap, according to the report.
     When the sergeant reached the vehicle after it had stopped, he found the occupants had left it. He called for Cross City Correctional Institution to bring its K-9 team.
     The CCCI K-9 team located the two people lying on the ground in a wooded area.

 


Dixie County man
suffers critical injuries in crash

By Jeff M. Hardison © March 23, 2021 at 9:11 a.m.
     DIXIE COUNTY –
A 40-year-old man with an Old Town residential address was critically injured Monday afternoon (March 22) in a crash, according to a Florida Highway Patrol press release sent March 22 at 6:54 p.m.
     The man was driving a pickup truck southbound on U.S. Highway 19, entering the left turn bay (or lane) to make a left turn to go northbound on State Road 349, the FHP said.
     FHP Trooper Shane Taylor was the crash investigator, the FHP said.
     A semi tractor-trailer driven by a 39-year-old man with an Ocala residential address was northbound on U.S. 19 in the northbound left lane, at 3:17 p.m. on March 22, the FHP said.
     The pickup truck driver made a left turn on SR 349, the FHP said, violating the semi driver’s right-of-way, resulting in a crash.
     The semi hit the pickup truck with its front end going into the pickup truck's passenger side, the FHP said.
     The pickup truck came to final rest on the northwest corner of the intersection U.S. 19 and SR 349 on its driver side.
     The semi came to final rest on the west shoulder of SR 349 facing north with its trailer blocking all northbound lanes of U.S. 19, the FHP said. Before coming to final rest, the semi also struck a boat/trailer that was parked in a nearby parking lot, the FHP said, effectively knocking the boat off the trailer.
     The boat/trailer was not attached to a vehicle at the time of the crash, the FHP said.
     The pickup driver was critically injured, the FHP said. The semi driver was not injured, the FHP said.
     Although the FHP press release does not note it, the pickup truck driver probably was taken to a hospital in Gainesville for treatment.
     As of May of 2020, the Florida Highway Patrol stopped providing names of people and some other information from crashes as part of its press releases.
     The FHP formerly provided those public records in its press releases.
     The FHP and some other law enforcement agencies in Florida are abiding by a version of something known as “Marcy’s Law” of California, which is allegedly to protect victims of crimes. The Florida version of “Marcy’s Law” was adopted after Florida voters chose to change the Florida Constitution to exempt more public records from view.
     Each year, more public records become excluded from public view in Florida.
     Although not every vehicle crash involves crime victims, which may have been the legislative intent of the Florida version of “Marcy’s Law” approved by voters, the FHP adopted the blanket exclusion of some information as part of its process in sending press releases as it attempts to stay within the bounds of the law while providing the public with information relatively quickly.
     Although the FHP adopted this new practice, not every law enforcement agency has done so. For instance, the St. Petersburg Police Department still provides crash information except when there is an actual victim of a crime, and then certain information is withheld, as demonstrated in the reported death of Jerry Lee Hardison, 63, of St. Petersburg, who was crossing a street when he was hit by an SUV and died Feb. 18, 2021, as noted in a WTOG-TV story.

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Woman sentenced
after 2018 traffic fatality

By Jeff M. Hardison © March 22, 2021 at 9:11 p.m.
     BRONSON –
Lisa Marie Love, 54, of Tallahassee was sentenced by Eighth Judicial Circuit Court Judge William E. Davis on March 10, according to records.
     The sentencing was about one week more than three years after a crash ended a man’s life in a crash that happened near or in the Town of Otter Creek, according to records.
     Love was adjudicated guilty of homicide - negligent manslaughter, according to records.
     Love’s driver license was revoked for the mandatory minimum of three years from the sentence date, according to records and Florida law related to punishment for that crime.
    She was sentenced to three years of probation, according to records. Eighth Judicial Circuit Assistant State Attorney Darla K. Whistler was the prosecutor, according to records, and Tallahassee criminal defense attorney Joseph C. Bodiford represented Love in the case that required no trial before a jury, according to records, probably the result of a plea-negotiated agreement between the state and the defendant.
     Florida Highway Patrol troopers identified the man killed in a crash and vehicle fire on State Road 24 near Otter Creek on a March 16, 2018, according to previous news reports.
     Howard W. Savage II, 49, of Jacksonville, was killed in the single-vehicle accident, according to an FHP media release. Lisa M. Love, 51 at the time, who was driving the 2015 Hyundai Sonata, was taken to UF Health Shands Hospital with critical injuries.
     The car was eastbound on State Road 24 east of Northeast 16th Terrace in Levy County, troopers said. For an unknown reason, the car went off the highway, struck a tree and caught fire, the FHP said.
     Other motorists stopped and pulled the driver – Love from the car, but could not save the passenger – Savage, who died at the scene, according to the FHP.

 


Levy Co. Emergency Mgt. launches app
By John MacDonald, EM Director
Levy County Emergency Management
Published March 17, 2021 at 5:11 p.m.
     BRONSON --
Levy County Emergency Management has launched a new mobile app to provide essential preparedness tips and quicker essential response and recovery information to the public.
     We wanted an app that was easily accessible and interactive on any device, especially in times of disaster when citizens need critical information at their fingertips. The app was created after months of collaboration with our county departments and partner organizations, and I believe it will serve the citizens of Levy County well.
     The app offers a user-friendly mobile responsive interface to our social media platforms and our web site. In times of disaster, it will provide a one-stop-shop on critical weather updates, safety tips, preparedness tool kit builder, shelter information, local emergency management agency and county department contacts, available disaster assistance and much more.
     The new Levy County Emergency Management app provides a robust preparedness toolkit that allows for listing items specific to individual needs, as well as local county contact information for quicker communication with county departments.
     With the new app, Levy County Emergency Management continues its mission of keeping Levy County Citizens safe by providing critical information in times of disaster, as well as preparedness information to ensure families and businesses is ready for any natural or manmade disaster.

 


 


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