HardisonInk.com

--UPDATED--
SATURDAY  OCT. 16  8:11 a.m.  Levy, Dixie and Gilchrist counties

 


GCSO arrests suspected thief
Suspected Criminal

 

 


Eric John Agre
 


Information and Photo Provided
By GCO Lt. K. Weatherford
Published Oct. 15, 2021 at 9:11 p.m.
     GILCHRIST COUNTY –
Gilchrist County Sheriff’s Office Capt. Scotty Douglas, Sgt. Robert Whitaker and Cpl. Brian Langford worked as one team with one mission on Wednesday (Oct. 13), when their work resulted in the arrest of a man suspected as a thief and as a drug law violator.



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     Eric John Agre, 46, is in the Gilchrist County Jail pm the following charges with the following bonds: Gilchrist County warrant grand theft of a firearm, $75,000 bond; Alachua County warrant petit theft $99 bond; possession of controlled substance, $25,000 bond; and possession of drug paraphernalia, $5,000 bond.
     On Oct. 13, Capt. Douglas was contacted by a local business owner in reference to stolen property taken from his business.
     After speaking with the business owner, Capt. Douglas found  Agre. Capt. Douglas, along with Sgt.Robert Whitaker and Cpl. Langford contacted Agre at his residence off  Northwest 50th Street.
     Agre was taken into custody for the warrants noted above, from Alachua, Gilchrist and Hillsborough counties. Agre had warrants from two different states as well.
    Agre admitted, after being acknowledging that he understood the rights under Miranda that he had pawned the property stolen from the local business owner. All property has been located in this incident.

 


Woman dies in crash
By Jeff M. Hardison © Oct. 14, 2021 at 7:11 a.m.
     ALACHUA COUNTY –
A woman drove a sedan into the back of a truck hauling lime rock and died Wednesday afternoon (Oct. 13), according to information in a press release from the Florida Highway Patrol.

     A 26-year-old woman with a Lake Butler (Union County) residential address was driving a 2017 Honda Accord sedan at 2:38 p.m. on Oct. 13 in Alachua County, according to the FHP press release based on information by crash investigator FHP Trooper J. Bennett and homicide investigator FHP Cpl. A. Brannon.
     The Honda was northbound on State Road 235, the FHP said.
     A 2022 Mack truck hauling lime rock that was being driven by a 52-year-old man with a Hollister residential address was
lawfully stopped in the northbound lane on SR 235, the FHP said, yielding to a northbound school bus that was offloading
children. 
     Hollister is an unincorporated community in Putnam County.
     The truck was directly in front of the sedan, the FHP said. For reasons currently under investigation, the driver of the sedan failed to yield to the truck that was lawfully stopped in the northbound lane, the FHP said.
      The front of the Honda hit the rear of the stopped truck, the FHP said.
     The woman was transported to UF Health in Gainesville (Alachua County), where she was pronounced dead. The truck driver was not injured, 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 that information via 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 used 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.
     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 its current blanket exclusion of some information as part of its process in sending press releases.
     Although the FHP adopted this new practice, not every law enforcement agency has done so.
     For instance, the Chiefland Police Department, the St. Petersburg Police Department and the Ocala Police Department all have provided crash information in press releases or traffic crash reports, except when there is an actual victim of a crime, as demonstrated in the reports provided to the press since the onset of the FHP’s revision in its press release practices in May of 2020.
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/

 


Six busted in Inglis area
Deputy injured from drug exposure

Suspected Drug law violators
The six suspected drug law violators are seen above.

Mug Shots By LCSO

By Jeff M. Hardison © Oct. 13, 2021 at 8:11 p.m.
     LEVY COUNTY –
The deputies in the southern part of Levy County arrested six people suspected of violating Florida drug laws in fewer than 21 days, according to an Oct. 13 press release from Levy County Sheriff’s Office Lt. Scott Tummond, public information officer.

     LCSO deputies assigned to the Inglis area not only completed  six arrests, Tummond noted, but they seized all types of drugs including the deadly drug fentanyl.
     In the past four months, Tummond said, deputies have responded to three overdose reports, where deputies administered two doses of Narcan in each case to save the overdosed person.
     These statistics do not include the same type of potential overdose calls that the Levy County Department of Public Safety (Levy County Fire-Rescue EMS) responded to during those weeks.      Levy County Sheriff Bobby McCallum has increased drug enforcement in this community as a result, and as noted in a story exclusively published in HardisonInk.com, the sheriff brought the Levy County Legislative Delegation into awareness of the dire problem of drugs killing people in Florida.
     On Sept. 21, LCSO Deputy Nelson Macias conducted a traffic stop on a vehicle being driven by Samuel Lee Whitney, 57, of Bremerton, Washington.
     Deputy Macias seized methamphetamine, marijuana and drug equipment from the vehicle and arrested Whitney. Whitney is being held in the Levy County Detention Facility (also known as the jail) in lieu of a $32,000 bond, Tummond said.
     On Oct. 6, Deputy Macias made contact with two individuals pushing a shopping cart from Dollar General on the sidewalk away from the business. The cart was filled with personal items. During this contact Deputy Macias seized methamphetamine from April Bowers, 42, of Inglis. Bowers was arrested and is being held in the Levy County Detention Bureau in lieu of a $30,000 bond, Tummond said.
     On Oct. 8, Deputy Dean MacIntyre stopped Curtis Carter, 39, of Inglis as he was operating a bicycle in an unsafe manner, Tummond said. Deputy MacIntyre seized methamphetamine, Xanax, Alprazolam and marijuana. Carter was arrested and is being held in the Levy County Detention Bureau in lieu of an $86,000 bond, Tummond said.
     On Oct. 12, Deputy MacIntyre conducted a traffic stop on a vehicle being driven by Taylor O’Connor, 31, of Inglis. During the traffic stop investigation, K-9 Deputy Alton Horne walked his partner Behr around the vehicle and Behr detected the odor of illegal narcotics, Tummond said.
     A search of the vehicle uncovered heroin laced marijuana and drug equipment with methamphetamine residue. Deputy MacIntyre noticed O’Connor acting strangely and saw her fidgeting with her bra, Tummond said.
     Deputy MacIntyre asked her to remove the item she was hiding and she surrendered a baggie of methamphetamine. O’Connor was arrested and is being held in the Levy County Detention Facility and her bond had not been set as of the press release on Oct. 13.
     Today (Wednesday, Oct. 13), Deputy Cody Weaver watched as Joshua Mortez, 31, of Inglis, whom Deputy Weaver knew had a suspended driver’s license, Tummond said, enter a vehicle parked at the Circle K gas pump in Inglis and drive away.
     Deputy Weaver attempted to stop the vehicle, when it abruptly turned into the Palm Point subdivision. Deputy Weaver stopped the vehicle and saw Mortez had switched places with passenger Sydney Allen, 23, of Inglis. Both Mortez and Allen were detained.

     The following traffic stop investigation, which was assisted by K-9 Deputy Horne and his partner Behr, resulted in cocaine, fentanyl, marijuana, marijuana wax and heroin being seized, Tummond said.
     Deputies experience all types of peril in their daily duties.
     Fentanyl is an extremely dangerous drug and unfortunately Deputy Horne experienced a severe exposure during this investigation, Tummond said. Deputy Horne was exposed to Fentanyl while taking these subjects into custody, Tummond said.
     This exposure required him to be hospitalized at a local emergency center where he is being held in stable condition, Tummond said. Deputies believe the suspects attempted to throw these drugs out of the window of the moving vehicle causing it to blow inside the interior, covering most surfaces including the suspects, Tummond said.
     “We are praying for Deputy Horne and his speedy recovery,” Sheriff McCallum said. “Drugs are a constant danger our deputies face daily across the nation as they protect the innocent citizens in their communities. In this case these suspects are not first time offenders and must be held accountable by the criminal justice system as they are a deadly threat to our community.”

 


Arrest made after fatal crash
Steven Timothy Cano suspected of leaving the scene of a fatal crash

 

 

 

Steven Timothy Cano
Mug Shot By MCSO

 

 


By Jeff M. Hardison
© Oct. 13, 2021 at 2:11 p.m.
     MARION COUNTY –
The Florida Highway Patrol on Wednesday (Oct. 13) made an arrest after a fatal crash May 16, according to information in an Oct. 13 press release.
     Steven Timothy Cano, 45, of Fort McCoy was driving a motorcycle westbound on Northeast 127th Street Road on May 16 at 4:30 p.m. when he failed to negotiate a left curve, the FHP said.
     The vehicle veered off the roadway to the right and entered the northern grassy shoulder, according to information in the press release based on information from crash investigator FHP Cpl. B. Detweiler and homicide investigator FHP Cpl. C. Sollazzo.

     The motorcycle’s front hit brush or foliage and overturned, the FHP said.
     During the overturning event, the driver and passenger were both thrown from the motorcycle, the FHP said. The passenger, a 57-year-old woman from Fort McCoy, suffered fatal injuries and was pronounced dead at the scene by Marion County Fire Rescue, the FHP said.
     Cano left the scene of the crash without leaving any information and failed to report the crash, the FHP said.
     The driver and registered owner of the vehicle, Cano, was arrested for leaving the scene of a crash with death, the FHP said.
     FHP Cpl. Sollazzo made the arrest and booked Cano into the Marion County jail without further incident. He was also charged with operating a motor vehicle without a license, as well as two counts of violation of probation, according to records. 
     Combined bonds for the two traffic offenses are $12,000. On the two counts of VOP, Cano is being held without bond, according to records.

 


One dead, four others hurt in Ocala crash
OPD Fatal Crash
Story and Photos Provided
By Jeff Walczak, Public Information Officer
Ocala Police Department
Published Oct. 14, 2021 at 2:11 p.m.

     OCALA -- Munir Shrouf, 56, died in the hospital at 9:01 p.m. on Oct. 12 from injuries he suffered earlier that in a crash in Ocala.

OPD Fatal Crash

OPD Fatal Crash

 


     His family was notified of this tragedy.
     On Oct. 12, just before 7 p.m., a red Hyundai SUV left the Red Lobster parking lot, located in the 3300 block of State Road 200.
     Shrouf was driving the Hyundai SUV with his wife, 53, in the front passenger seat and daughter, 28, in the back seat. As the Hyundai SUV crossed the lanes of traffic to make a left, it was struck by a silver Scion traveling westbound.
     The Scion T-boned the driver’s side of the Hyundai SUV, which resulted in the Scion rotating counterclockwise, and into the path of a silver Honda.
     The Honda rear-ended the Scion, causing the Honda to rotate. At that point, the Hyundai SUV traveled westbound on SR 200 and struck a concrete light pole on the Northwest corner of Southwest 34th Avenue.
     The two other vehicles came to final rest facing east in the westbound lanes of State Road 200, at the intersection of Southwest 34th Avenue.
     The crash caused five people to be transported to the hospital. 
     Three people were trauma-alerted, with one person, Shrouf, losing his life in the hospital. Currently, the other victims are in stable condition.
     The driver in the Scion was 30 years old and the sole occupant of the vehicle. The driver of the Honda was 52 years old and the sole occupant of the vehicle.
     This crash is still under investigation (as of 10:31 a.m. on Oct. 14, when this press release was sent by email).

 


Two jailed
after Sunday morning fatal shooting

Suspects
Timothy Eugene Mack and Alexa Newton

Mug Shots By MCSO

By Jeff M. Hardison © Oct. 12, 2021 at 10:11 a.m.
     MARION COUNTY –
The shooting death of a 23-year-old woman early Sunday morning (Oct. 10) in Marion County has resulted in the arrest of two individuals, according to information provided by Marion County Sheriff’s Office (MCSO) Public Information Officer Valerie Strong.
     A defense of “stand your ground” is being used by the suspected shooter, and the case remains under investigation as evidence is being evaluated, according to information released yesterday evening (Monday, )ct. 11).
     On Sunday at approximately 3:40 a.m., the MCSO responded to the 2600 block of Southeast 56th Street, in Ocala, in reference to a shooting, which resulted in the death of 23-year-old Sonja Stahl, Strong said.
     Stahl appears to be the victim of a bullet not intended for her, according to information released about the investigation so far.
     Through interviews with witnesses and preliminary investigation, Strong said, it was revealed that shortly before the shooting, Alexa Newton, 22, drove to the home of her ex-boyfriend Timothy Mack, in the 2600 block of Southeast 56th Street.
     Stahl was a passenger in Newton’s vehicle. Witness statements indicate that once at Mack’s home, Newton exited her vehicle and broke the front door window of Mack’s home in an apparent attempt to gain entry, Strong said.
     Mack alleged that he was able to prevent Newton from entering the residence, Strong said, and that he asked her to leave the property several times. Mack further alleged that after he exited his residence Newton reentered her vehicle and began driving towards him, Strong said, at which time Mack fired his weapon at the vehicle in hope of striking the engine block and disabling the vehicle to prevent it from striking him.
     Evidence shows that one round hit Stahl, causing her fatal injury, Strong said.
     At this time, Major Crimes detectives continue to investigate the homicide and are awaiting the return of forensic evidence results, including ballistics and DNA evidence. As is customary for cases involving the “stand-your-ground” defense, detectives will review the case with the State Attorney’s Office regarding any homicide-related charges upon the completion of the investigation.
     In the meantime, Timothy Eugene Mack, 24, was arrested for possession of a firearm by a felon and evidence tampering. Mack was on probation for burglary of a dwelling and grand theft. He also was arrested for violating the terms of his probation.
     Mack is being held without bond in the Marion County Jail for his probation violations. Because Mack is a violent felony offender of special concern, under Florida law, he must remain in custody until his violation of probation case is resolved. His bond for the offenses of possession of a firearm by a felon and evidence tampering is set at $15,000, Strong said.
     Newton was arrested for aggravated assault with a deadly weapon, battery, and criminal mischief. She is being in the Marion County Jail on a $2,500 bond.

 


Cedar Key police chief plans to retire
By Jeff M. Hardison © Oct. 12, 2021 at 8:11 a.m.
     CEDAR KEY –
After 38 years in the law enforcement profession, Cedar Key Police Chief Virgil Sandlin announced his plan to retire next May.

     In an Aug. 10 letter to the Cedar Key City Commission, Chief Sandlin noted his retirement will be effective May 11, 2022. That is almost a one-year notice rather than how some people leave a job with fewer than two weeks’ notice.
     The outgoing police chief noted his appreciation for being able to help the island community, and that it has been an honor to serve the residents and visitors of Cedar Key. During his tenure, the island city has been hit by hurricanes, including one that devastated the Post Office and other properties.
     During the first part of the outbreak of the global COVID-19 pandemic, the Cedar Key Police Department was called upon by the Cedar Key City Commission to stop visitors at the bridge from the mainland for a period of time – even with a literal specific order from the elected city officials to stop members of the press from visiting.
     Through all of the points where the members of the island police force were called upon to serve and protect -- in urgent and dire situations as well as for more common traffic and other daily law enforcement duties, the chief saw the people of Cedar Key overcoming obstacles and prevailing.
     Sandlin’s letter noting his plan to retire shows his start at the CKPD was not planned.
     “When I moved to Cedar Key in August of 1982,” he wrote, “I had no idea I would be here today in this position. I like to think I have been a good Chief and improved this agency and this city.”
     The chief wrote that he is retiring to give his family more attention. Chief Sandlin noted he has put service to the Florida Highway Patrol and the City of Cedar Key ahead of family members for many years now.

     While retirement offers Sandlin more time to be with family, he still is not abandoning his island neighbors as he noted for the Cedar Key City Commission that he “… will be here for the citizens of Cedar Key in any role you see necessary.”

 


Man dies after van hits boat on trailer
By Jeff M. Hardison © Oct. 11, 2021 at 12:11 p.m.
     MARION COUNTY –
A 68-year-old man died in a crash early Saturday evening, according to information in a press release from the Florida Highway Patrol.

      A 68-year-old man with an Oklawaha residential address was driving a van northbound on Marion County Road 464C at 5:05 p.m. on Oct. 10, the FHP said.
     Oklawaha is in the unincorporated part of Marion County.
     A 63-year-old man with an Ocala residential address was driving a pickup truck towing a trailer southbound on CR 464C, the FHP said. An 83-year-old man with an Ocala residential address was a passenger in the pickup truck, the FHP said.
     The van failed to maintain its lane, the FHP said, and it went  into the southbound lane.
     The van hit the left side of the boat being towed by the pickup truck, the FHP said, and then the van then exited the west side of the roadway.
     The van then struck a fence and a tree before overturning, the FHP said. The driver of the van was pronounced dead at the scene of the crash, the FHP said.
     Neither occupant of the pickup truck suffered any 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 that information via 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 used 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.
     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 its current blanket exclusion of some information as part of its process in sending press releases.
     Although the FHP adopted this new practice, not every law enforcement agency has done so.
     For instance, the Chiefland Police Department, the St. Petersburg Police Department and the Ocala Police Department all have provided crash information in press releases or traffic crash reports, except when there is an actual victim of a crime, as demonstrated in the reports provided to the press since the onset of the FHP’s revision in its press release practices in May of 2020.
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 arrests former building official
Fraud, extortion and misconduct suspected
Information Provided
By Jessica Cary. FDLE Office of Public Information
Published Oct. 9, 2021 at 7:11 a.m.
     CALHOUN COUNTY –
Ellie Dowling Parrish, 73, of Altha, a former Building Department official in Calhoun County, turned himself in on Oct. 7 pursuant to an FDLE warrant for engaging in a pay-to-play scheme with building contractors during post-Hurricane Michael recovery efforts.

     He has been charged with one count of organized scheme to defraud, 32 counts of official misconduct and nine counts of extortion by officers of the state.
     The investigation began in January, when FDLE agents met with Florida Department of Business and Professional Regulation (DBPR) to discuss information about a possible fraudulent scheme to license contractors. The investigation found that applicants seeking registered contracting licenses were given competency cards and/or occupational licenses in Calhoun County based on fictitious examination scores and other related false information.
     Parrish charged at least nine applicants “testing fees” for illegal examinations and collected at least $4,650 from those applicants. The “tests” were used to obtain an occupational license and/or registered contracting license.
     Parrish provided fictitious official documents to at least 32 applicants for occupational licenses and competency cards, which the candidates then used to obtain employment or a registered contractor’s license. In addition, he collected fees greater than the amount he was entitled to charge for his own personal benefit. 

 


In 2019, of the 534 licenses issued statewide, 142, or 25 percent, were issued from the Calhoun County Building Department. DBPR officials are working to address the issue of individuals who obtained contractor licenses as a result of this scheme.



     “This investigation revealed Parrish violated his position of trust as a county building official by victimizing some contactors and many citizens who were already struggling to recover from Hurricane Michael,” FDLE Pensacola Special Agent in Charge Chris Williams said. “We appreciate DBPR alerting us to this case and their partnership in investigating Parrish’s actions.”   
     The DBPR secretary commented about this matter/
     “Floridians deserve to have confidence and trust that a contractor license represents a valid measure of qualifications and competency to perform the repairs needed on their homes, especially in the aftermath of a devastating storm,” DBPR Secretary Julie I. Brown said. “I am proud of our investigators for taking action quickly to involve our law enforcement partners, and I appreciate the efforts FDLE has invested in pursuing this case to ensure accountability on these matters of public trust. We will continue to expend any resource needed to deter fraud that undermines the integrity of Florida’s licensing system and the welfare of Floridians who rely on the enforcement of its standards.”
     Parrish turned himself in to the Calhoun County Jail on the night of Oct. 7. The Office of 14th Judicial Circuit State Attorney Larry Basford is scheduled to prosecute this case. The 14th Judicial Circuit includes Bay, Calhoun, Gulf, Holmes, Jackson and Washington counties.

 


Monday crash information released 
No injuries, no citations

Story and Photos
By Jeff M. Hardison © Oct. 7, 2021 at 4:11 p.m.
     CHIEFLAND –
Patrolman H. Pagan of the Chiefland Police Department investigated a two-vehicle crash Monday afternoon (Oct. 4) and information from the crash was available Thursday.

     His investigation, according to information on the long form provided by the CPD after a public records request, showed Darvin J. Snyder, 76, of Bell was driving a 2014 Chevrolet Silverado pickup truck.
     Vicki L. Vanscoy, 40, of Chiefland was driving a 2009 Chrysler Town & Country van. Noah Vanscoy, 11, of Lake City was a passenger in the van, according to information on the report.
     Snyder said he was exiting the parking lot of Barbecue Bill’s Restaurant, 1901 N. Young Blvd. (U.S. Highway 19) via the southside exit onto Northwest 19th Avenue, the report showed.
     Snyder did not see the van that was westbound on Northwest 19th Avenue, Officer Pagan reported.
     The front of pickup truck he was driving hit the right rear passenger door of the van, causing relatively minor damage to both vehicles, according to information in the crash report.
     None of the three people involved in the crash required transport to a hospital, Pagan noted. While Snyder was seen to be at fault, he was not cited for the crash due to the lack of an independent witness, Pagan noted in the report.


Crash
These photos are captured at the scene of a crash at the intersection of U.S. Highway 19 and State Road 320 West (Manatee Springs Road, or Northwest 19th Avenue) in Chiefland on Monday.

Crash
This is a popular intersection for crashes, where the east-west and north-south motorists appear to not read the signs that tell motorists to give oncoming traffic the right-of-way rather than to turn in front of them. However the crash causing this delay was from a pickup truck driver hitting a van as the truck exited the barbecue restaurant, according to a traffic crash report.

Crash
This accident was investigated by the Chiefland Police Department.

Photos By Jeff M. Hardison © Oct. 5, 2021 at 8:11 a.m.
Updated Oct. 7, 2021 at 4:11 p.m.

 


Oklawaha teens in pickup truck
seriously injured in crash
Three children in a school bus
suffer minor injuries as well

By Jeff M. Hardison © Oct. 7, 4:11 p.m.
     MARION COUNTY –
Two teens with Oklawaha (an unincorporated area of Marion County) residential addresses suffered injuries in a crash this morning (Thursday, Oct. 7), according to information from the Florida Highway Patrol.
     On Oct. 7 at 8:40 a.m., a 16-year-old girl was driving a Ford Ranger pickup truck, the FHP said in a press release. She had a 14-year-old girl as a passenger, and both girls are from Oklawaha, the FHP said.
     The Ford Ranger was on Marion County Road 464 east of Locust Road, the FHP said, when the driver attempted to pass a school bus in a passing zone. The bus was driven by a 51-year-old woman from Summerfield (an unincorporated area of Marion County), the FHP said.
     The right, rear of pickup truck hit the left, front of the school bus, which caused the pickup truck to leave the roadway to the right, the FHP said.
     The truck overturned and came to final rest upright in the
northern wood line facing northeast, the FHP said. The driver of the truck was wearing a seatbelt but the passenger was not, the FHP said.
     Both the truck’s driver and passenger suffered serious injuries and both girls were transported to Shands Pediatrics in Gainesville, the FHP said.
     There were 32 children on the bus. One child was transported to Advent Health with minor injuries, the FHP said. Two other children reported minor injuries on the school bus, the FHP said. The driver of the bus was not injured, 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.
     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 Chiefland Police Department, the St. Petersburg Police Department and the Ocala Police Department all have provided crash information in press releases of traffic crash reports, except when there is an actual victim of a crime, as demonstrated in the reports provided to the press since the onset of the FHP revision in its press releases in May of 2020.
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/

 


FBI Jacksonville launches
campaign concerning hate crimes 

By FBI Jacksonville PAO Amanda Videll
Published Oct. 7, 2021 at 12:11 p.m.
     JACKSONVILLE -
- The Federal Bureau of Investigation Jacksonville Division is launched earlier today (Thursday, Oct. 7) a yearlong public awareness campaign in communities across North Florida to encourage the reporting of potential hate crimes.

     This morning (Oct. 7) Special Agent in Charge Rachel L. Rojas kicked off the campaign, alongside leadership from the United States Attorney Office for the Middle District of Florida, Homeland Security Investigations, the Fourth Judicial Circuit State Attorney’s Office (Jacksonville), and the Jacksonville (Duval County) Sheriff’s Office.
     According to the FBI’s 2020 Hate Crime Statistics report, the number of reported hate crimes has increased by more than 20 percent over the past five years (2020: 7,764, 2016: 6,121). However, despite the steady increase year-after-year, federal civil rights investigators believe the number of incidents could be even higher.
     The FBI has determined that hate crimes often go unreported for a variety of reasons, including fear of retaliation, privacy concerns, or a lack of understanding or trust in the justice system.
     The FBI Jacksonville public awareness campaign is a multifaceted effort to help improve understanding of what constitutes a federal hate crime and how to report potential instances to law enforcement.
     The campaign includes advisories placed on social media, billboards, mobile apps, and in transit stations and local print publications in diverse areas including African American, Hispanic, Asian American, Jewish and LGBTQ communities and businesses (examples attached). FBI Headquarters is also launching a similar national campaign.
      “Hate crimes are not only an attack on the victim - they are meant to threaten and intimidate an entire community, which is why investigating hate crimes was recently elevated to a top national security priority for the FBI,” said Rachel L. Rojas, Special Agent in Charge of FBI Jacksonville. “This campaign is a way to enhance collaboration between the FBI and our law enforcement partners, as well support local community groups who serve victims of crime daily. We want all victims to know we are here for them, and together we can attack the problem of hate crimes head on. FBI Jacksonville and our local, state and federal law enforcement partners are committed to doing our part to help open lines of communication with anyone who might be living in fear.”
     The FBI is the lead investigative agency for criminal violations of federal civil rights statutes. Hate crimes are traditional criminal offenses with an added element of bias and are the highest priority of the FBI’s civil rights program.
     The FBI defines a hate crime as a “criminal offense against a person or property motivated in whole or in part by an offender’s bias against a race, religion, disability, sexual orientation, ethnicity, gender or gender identity.”
     If you believe you are a victim or a witness of a hate crime, the FBI encourages you to report it to the FBI by calling 1-800-CALL-FBI or submitting a tip at https://tips.fbi.gov/.

 


Police chief honored
by Legislative Delegation

WPD Chief Dennis Strow
(from left) State Sen. Jennifer Bradley, Police Chief Dennis Strow and State Rep. Joe Harding provide a photo opportunity Tuesday in the R. Gerald Hethcoat Community Room of Williston City Hall as the Levy County Legislative Delegation passes a resolution to honor Chief Strow for his 50 years of service in Florida in the law enforcement profession. This recognition was Tuesday morning (Oct. 5).


Story and Photo
By Jeff M. Hardison © Oct. 6, 2021 at 12:11 p.m.
     WILLISTON –
Williston Police Chief Dennis Strow was honored Tuesday morning (Oct. 5) as the Levy County Legislative Delegation signed and delivered to him a resolution to recognize his 50 years of service in the law enforcement community.


Police Chief Dennis Strow
This is a picture of the very 1973 Buick that Dennis Strow owned, back when the Marion County Sheriff’s Office deputies owned their patrol cars.
Photo Provided By Dennis Strow

Police Chief Dennis Strow
Y- This is a 1973 retro Mercury patrol car like those from that time in Marion County, which was restored by WPD Chief Dennis Strow.
Photo Provided By Dennis Strow

     Rep. Harding read the resolution before making the presentation. 
     The resolution calls for Oct. 5, 2021, to have been a day of recognition for Chief Strow’s 50 years of service in the law enforcement profession for the people of Florida, Levy County, Marion County and Williston.
     In the “whereas” parts of the resolution by the 2021 Levy County Legislative Delegation -- State Sen. Jennifer Bradley (R-Fleming Island, Dist. 5) and State Rep. Joe Harding (R-Williston, Dist. 22), some of his history in the field is recorded.
     First the document notes he is “a beloved member of the Levy County community.”
    He served his first 38 years with the Marion County Sheriff’s Office.
    The chief shared a little insight with HardisonInk.com after the presentation of the resolution.
    Strow joined the MCSO at the age of 16 through a work program, where he went to school in the morning and then worked – starting out at the jail. He was a junior in high school at the time.
     The Sheriff’s Office back then provided the badge and the uniform, and that is all.
     When he started as a deputy at the age of 18, having graduated high school, deputies had to purchase their own bullets, handguns and shotguns and drive their own cars as cruisers. The MCSO reimbursed deputies for miles, Strow added.
     Back when he turned 18 years old in 1973, the mandatory minimum age to purchase bullets in Florida was 21 years old, he said. During his first three years of service as an MCSO deputy, his mom had to buy him bullets. The chief added that the MCSO did provide the bullets for deputies during their target practice.
     Also back then, he said, the MCSO did not provide bulletproof vests to deputies. His mother bought him a bulletproof vest.
     “I was the only deputy at the Sheriff’s Office with a bulletproof vest,” Strow said. “That was a good thing, but it was not such a good thing. Every time, there was something dangerous, they said, ‘You’ve got the bulletproof vest, you go.’”
     During his 38 years with the MCSO, Strow served the people as a deputy, an assistant bureau chief, a public information officer, and as a watch commander and supervisor, the resolution noted.
     Looking more at the set of “whereas” statements in the resolution presented by the Levy County Legislative Delegation on Oct. 5, it noted the Williston City Council appointed Strow as Williston’s police chief in August of 2011.
     The resolution notes further that “Chief Dennis Strow is a devoted family man, Christian, public servant and friend to all in Levy County, and
     “Whereas, Chief Dennis Strow has always been a pillar of strength and support to all in his community, now therefore,” the Levy County Legislative Delegation called for that day to be one of recognition for his 50 years of service.

 


Newberry teen dies in crash
By Jeff M. Hardison © Oct. 6, 2021 at 11:11 a.m.
     ALACHUA COUNTY –
A 19-year-old man with a Newberry residential address died in the very early morning hours today (Wednesday, Oct. 6), according to information from the Florida Highway Patrol.
     The sedan he was driving westbound on State Road 26 was traveling at a high rate of speed at 3 a.m. on Oct. 6 when it was east of Alachua County Road 219A, the FHP said.
     The car went off of the roadway onto the southern grassy shoulder, where it overturned and then hit a large tree, the FHP said.
     The driver was pronounced dead at the scene, 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.
     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 Chiefland Police Department, the St. Petersburg Police Department and the Ocala Police Department both have provided crash information in press releases, except when there is an actual victim of a crime, as demonstrated in the reports provided to the press since the onset of the FHP revision in its press releases in May of 2020.
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/

 

 


One hurt in two-car crash
Crash In Bronson Florida

One of the two sedans involved in a crash this morning (Tuesday, Oct. 5) at the intersection of Picnic Street and Hathaway Avenue (U.S. Alt. 27) in Bronson is seen here.

Story and Photo
By Jeff M. Hardison © Oct. 5, 2021 at 10:11 p.m.
     BRONSON –
A 50-year-old Bronson woman suffered minor injuries Tuesday morning (Oct. 5) after being involved in a two-car crash, the Florida Highway Patrol said in a press release.

 

Crash In Bronson Florida
Two ambulances from Levy County Fire Rescue (also known as the Levy County Department of Public Safety) stand ready to serve injured occupants. One person was taken to the hospital with minor injuries, the FHP said.

     On Oct. 5 at approximately 8:18 a.m., FHP Trooper K. Skelly investigated a two-vehicle crash on Hathaway Avenue (U.S. Alt. 27) and Picnic Street in Bronson, the FHP said.
     A 2015 Toyota Camry driven by a 24-year-old Bronson man was northbound on U.S. Alt. 27, the FHP said.
     A 1998 Volvo S90, driven by a 50-yearold Bronson woman was southbound on U.S. Alt. 27 and it was in the middle turning lane, the FHP said. The Volvo entered the northbound travel lane in front of the Toyota, failing to yield the right-of-way to oncoming traffic, causing the right rear of the Volvo to strike the front of the Toyota.
     The driver of the Toyota was transported to the hospital with non-life threatening 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.
     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 and the Ocala Police Department both have provided crash information in press releases, except when there is an actual victim of a crime, as demonstrated in the reports provided to the press since the onset of the FHP revision in its press releases in May of 2020.
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/

 


Suspected ATV and
dirt bike thief arrested

Suspected ATV thief

 

 

 


Ja’mori Stephen Javon Smith
 

 

 


Story and Mugshot Provided
By Zachary Moore
MCSO Public Information Officer
Published Oct. 5, 2021 at 4:11 p.m.
     OCALA --
On September 30, 2021, Marion County Sheriff’s Office (MCSO) Property Crimes Detective Wady Sedan arrested Ja’mori Stephen Javon Smith, 20, for seven counts of grand theft of motor vehicle, six counts of using a two-way communication device to facilitate a felony, one count of illegal interception of communication, one count of fleeing and eluding, and one count of possession of cocaine with intent to sell.

     Combined bonds are $37,000, according to records.
     Between Aug. 13 and Sept. 27, multiple MCSO deputies were dispatched to reports of motor vehicle thefts involving ATVs and dirt bikes. In each case, the victim provided a consistent description of the suspect, his means of stealing the vehicles, and location of the sale.
     During the investigation, detectives learned the suspect would find victims selling vehicles using OfferUp, Facebook Marketplace, or Craigslist.
     The suspect would then contact the victims to arrange a meeting to buy their vehicle and request a test drive. While conducting the test drive, the suspect would then flee on the stolen vehicle. Through Det. Sedan’s investigation, he was able to develop Smith as a possible suspect in the cases.
     A photo lineup was conducted with each victim. They all identified Smith as the one who stole their vehicles. On Sept. 29, arrest warrants were obtained for Smith.
     On Sept. 30, Det. Elijha Serrano located Smith driving a vehicle and attempted to conduct a traffic stop on him to place him under arrest for the charges listed in the warrants.
     Smith fled, ultimately driving into a ditch in front of his home, and then attempting to run inside. Before he could make it inside, Smith surrendered and was arrested without incident. A search of Smith’s vehicle revealed he was in possession of cocaine, 50-60 baggies, and a scale.
     Smith was arrested and transported to the Marion County Jail. While he was in custody, Smith was arrested by the Ocala Police Department for grand theft of motor vehicle and using a two-way communication device to facilitate a felony.
     In February, Smith was released from state prison after serving a 24-month sentence for stealing cellular phones from victims using the same modus operandi that he used to steal the ATVs and dirt bikes.

 


OPD seeks help solving homicide
By Jeff Walczak, Public Information Officer
Ocala Police Department
Published Oct. 2, 2021 at 9:11 p.m.
     OCALA --
On Oct. 2, 2021, around 2:07 a.m., Ocala Police Department responded to a shooting that took place outside near the 1200 block on Southwest Fort King Street.

     One man Searron Brookes Sr., 42, was found with a single gunshot wound to his chest and was trauma-alerted to a local hospital. Sadly, Brookes passed away from his injuries while at the hospital. Brookes' family has been notified and OPD is working closely with them during this tragedy.
     Detectives are actively investigating this homicide. This shooting appears to be an isolated event and is not connected with any prior or recent shooting incidents.
     Ocala Police is asking anyone who has any information on this shooting, to call detectives at 352-369-7000. Or, you can submit an anonymous tip to Crime Stoppers of Marion County at 352-368-STOP (7867). Tips can also be submitted online at OcalaCrimeStoppers.com. If you use Crime Stoppers and your tip leads to an arrest, you may be eligible for a CASH REWARD!

 


Bell man dies in crash
By Jeff M. Hardison © Oct. 2, 2o21 at 7:11 a.m.
     GILCHRIST COUNTY –
A 22-year-old man with a Bell residential address died after the pickup truck he was driving was hit by a semi tractor-trailer on Friday afternoon (Oct. 1), according to information provided by the Florida Highway Patrol.

     A 2018 Toyota Tacoma was eastbound on Gilchrist County Road 232 approaching the intersection of State Road 47 at 1:46 p.m. on Oct. 1, the FHP said.
     A 2006 International tractor pulling an empty fuel tank trailer was northbound on SR 47 approaching CR 232. The FHP said. The semi was driven by a 48-year-old man with a Jacksonville residential address, the FHP said.
     FHP Trooper Jairus McConnell was the crash investigator and FHP Cpl. Nicholas Hagedorn was the homicide investigator, the FHP said.
     The driver of the pickup truck attempted to cross the intersection, the FHP said, when that vehicle went into the oncoming path the semi.
     The front of the semi hit the right side of the pickup truck, the FHP said. After that collision, the pickup truck came to final rest facing south on the eastern shoulder of State Road 47, the FHP said. The semi came to final rest on the eastern shoulder with the cab facing southwest, the FHP said
     The driver of the pickup truck, A 22-year-old man with a Bell residential address, was pronounced dead at the scene of the crash, 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.
     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 and the Ocala Police Department both have provided crash information in press releases, except when there is an actual victim of a crime, as demonstrated in the reports provided to the press since the onset of the FHP revision in its press releases in May of 2020.
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/

 


Marion County kicks off Litter Task Force
By Bobbi Perez, Public Relations Director
Published Oct. 1, 2021 at 7:11 a.m.
     OCALA --
Marion County officially kicked off its task force dedicated to curbing litter in our community on Sept. 27. 

    This task force was established via resolution during the county commission meeting on Sept. 14. It consists of seven voting members; an appointee of each county commissioner as well as the sheriff and the school board superintendent.
     The task force includes non-voting members representing the interests of Marion County’s various municipalities, the Ocala Metro Chamber & Economic Partnership, and state agencies such as the Florida Department of Transportation, Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission, the Florida Forest Service, and the Fifth Judicial Circuit State Attorney’s Office, in addition to several commercial waste haulers.
     This diverse advisory committee has been tasked with presenting a report to the county commissioners within 180 days of recommendations for the best strategies to reduce litter and illegal dumping in Marion County. They will consider a wide range of viewpoints, research tactics that have worked in other communities, and ensure that their recommendations are fiscally responsible.
     Commissioner Craig Curry, who serves as liaison to the task force, gave a warm welcome to the task force members during their first meeting on Sept. 27. Curry also introduced the Litter Task Force Chairman, Beth McCall, who expressed her excitement to get this much-needed committee launched.
     The Litter Task Force is conducting an open-ended survey on social media to gauge the public’s opinion about litter in our community. The real-time results of this survey were dispersed at the kick-off meeting. Survey results conveyed that participants believe litter reduction should be a top priority in the community. Participants were asked to list areas of most concern within the county.
     During the kick-off meeting, members were assigned subcommittees, all of which will hold recurring public meetings. The subcommittees have been tasked with developing tangible goals while focusing on the following topics: Ordinances & Enforcement, Marketing, and Community Outreach & Education. The subcommittees will bring their goals to the next task force meeting on Nov. 1. The Task Force is expected to compile the committee’s overall tangible goals in a presentation to the county commission on April 4, 2022.
Marion County Litter Task Force roster
Voting members:
Chair - District 1 Representative - Beth McCall
District 2 Representative - Sam McConnell
District 3 Representative - Shane Alexander
District 4 Representative - Jack Stackman
District 5 Representative - Tom Schmitz
Marion County Sheriff's Office - Capt. Jon Turner
Marion County Public Schools - Lauren Debick
Non-voting members:
Ocala/Metro Chamber & Economic Partnership - Joe Riechel
City of Ocala - Darren Parks
City of Dunnellon - Chief Mike McQuaig
City of Belleview - Shawna Chancey
Florida Department of Transportation - Scott Stutson
Florida Forest Service - Antoinette Davis
Florida Fish & Wildlife Conservation Commission - Robby Creech
Office of the State Attorney, Fifth Judicial Circuit - Bill Gladson
Waste Pro - Gerry Lourenco
Waste Management - Mike Bresnahan
Florida Express Environmental - John Paglia III
Realty World - Mike Smith

 




Suspected Criminals Put In The Levy County Florida Jail and published in HardisonInk.com
Levy County Suspected Criminals Part Two

Published Oct. 11, 2021 at 3:11 p.m.


 


Suspected Criminals Put In The Dixie County Florida Jail

Published Oct. 12, 2021 at 3:11 p.m.

 



Suspects arrested in Gilchrist County Florida
Published Oct. 12, 2021 at 3:11 p.m.
 


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Here, Goldy the cat Hardison (Aug. 12, 2009-Aug. 25, 2021)
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