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--UPDATED--
TUESDAY  SEPT. 21  3:11 p.m.  Levy, Dixie and Gilchrist counties


David Sechrist honored as Florida’s
2020 Forestry Firefighter of the Year


(from left) Florida Attorney General Ashley Moody, Gov. Ron DeSantis, 2020 Forestry Firefighter of the Year David Seachrist, Commissioner of Agriculture Nikki Fried and Chief Financial Officer and State Fire Marshal Jimmy Patronis pause for a moment in the Florida Cabinet Chambers today to provide a photo opportunity to honor Seachrist.


Story and Photo Provided
By FDACS Communications
Published Sept. 21, 2021 at 3:11 p.m.
     TALLAHASSEE –
Today (Tuesday, Spt. 21), Agriculture Commissioner Nikki Fried recognized Florida Forest Service (FFS) Senior Forest Ranger David Sechrist as the 2020 Forestry Firefighter of the Year.



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     The annual Florida Fire Service Awards are presented by Chief Financial Officer and State Fire Marshal Jimmy Patronis. Each year, the Florida Cabinet formally recognizes award recipients in the firefighting community for their outstanding accomplishments in Florida’s fire service industry.
     “Today, we gathered to honor all firefighters – individuals who chose this career knowing the inherent dangers of the profession and the possibility that one day they may have to give their own life so others may live,” Commissioner Fried said. “David’s service to his fellow firefighters through teaching, mentoring, training, and helping his colleagues recover from Hurricane Michael are exemplary, as are his professionalism in protecting not only life and property in Florida, but in the ongoing western wildfires, as well. I am grateful for Forest Ranger Sechrist’s outstanding integrity and service, and we are honored to recognize him as the 2020 Forestry Firefighter of the Year.”
     The state forester also commented on this recognition.
     “Florida’s wildland firefighters serve to protect our communities and natural resources both at home and across the country. they work in some of the most challenging conditions and risk their own personal safety,” said Erin Albury, State Forester and Director of the Florida Forest Service. “David Sechrist has always demonstrated strong leadership, and his willingness to support his fellow firefighters goes above and beyond the call of duty. I commend David on this well-deserved honor and thank him for his selfless commitment to serve.”
     Sechrist began his career with the Florida Forest Service in 2010, earning a promotion to Senior Forest Ranger in the Jacksonville Forestry District in 2018. He has built his career on a foundation of integrity, professionalism and commitment to the mission, and this was evident during the 2020 fire season.
     Sechrist was among the nation’s first Incident Management Team to respond to a wildfire during the COVID-19 pandemic.
     Sechrist and his team were instrumental in reevaluating fire line safety procedures to include CDC guidelines and developing daily protocols to ensure effective implementation. This commitment to a critical new component of the mission resulted in a successful first deployment with no positive COVID-19 test results.
     While Sechrist’s dedication to protect residents and communities is at the forefront, he has a passion for helping fellow firefighters recover and heal from tragic, stressful and life-altering events.
     Sechrist helped build the Florida Forest Service’s first Critical Incident Stress Management Team (CISM) and frequently takes a lead role to ensure FFS personnel and partner agencies, such as the Office of Agriculture Law Enforcement, have a safe and supportive environment. One of his most recent assignments includes having a key role on the Blue Ribbon Staff Ride, the agency’s national training exercise that studies the tragic deaths of two FFS wildland firefighters in 2011.
     Sechrist is a nationally certified Division Supervisor, serving on the FFS State Blue Incident Management Team. He frequently deploys on national wildfire assignments and has served as a Crew Boss for several years.
     Additionally, Sechrist is actively involved in training and mentoring firefighters within his home district, serving as an instructor with the Southern Area Engine Academy.
     The Florida Forest Service, a division of the Florida Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services, manages more than 1 million acres of state forests and provides forest management assistance on more than 17 million acres of private and community forests. The Florida Forest Service is responsible for protecting homes, forestland and natural resources from the devastating effects of wildfire on more than 26 million acres.

 


DUI arrest follows cruiser crash
By Jeff M. Hardison © Sept. 18, 2021 at 9:11 p.m.
     CITRUS COUNTY –
In the very early morning today (Saturday, Sept. 18), a Citrus County Sheriff’s Office cruiser crashed, and a secondary crash resulted in the Florida Highway Patrol arresting a man for driving while under the influence of alcohol or other drugs resulting in property damage, and careless driving, according to a Sept. 18 press release from the FHP.

     On Sept. 18 at 1:50 a.m., a marked Citrus County Sheriff's Office 2017 Ford Taurus patrol car, was westbound on West Dunnellon Road, east of West Rainbow Street in emergency response to a call for service, the FHP said.
     It was driven by a 40-year-old man from Inverness, the FHP said.
     An unoccupied 2008 Ford Expedition SUV, was parked facing east on the right shoulder of Dunnellon Road, disabled from an earlier crash, the FHP said.
     With the cruiser traveling over standing water, the CCSO deputy lost control of the patrol car, which hit the disabled vehicle, the FHP said. After that impact, the Ford patrol car and Ford sport utility vehicle that was hit by the cruiser both rotated to final rest in the center of the roadway and south shoulder respectively, the FHP said.
     At 2:18 a.m., a 2018 Toyota Tundra, was eastbound on Dunnellon Road, the FHP said.
     Callum Mansfield, 49, of Dunnellon was driving the Toyota, the FHP said, and he failed to observe the now disabled patrol car – which had its emergency lights activated.
     As a result, the left side of the Tundra sideswiped the left side of the patrol car, the FHP said.
     Following this second crash, the Tundra came to a controlled stop. FHP Troopers later determined that Mansfield, was impaired, the FHP said. Troopers arrested him for DUI property damage and careless driving.
     Mansfield provided a breath sample of .211, the FHP said, and the minimum limit for being considered under the influence is .08, according to Florida law. Therefore, there was evidence that Mansfield probably had a blood-alcohol content in excess of twice that lower limit to prove being under the influence of alcohol.
     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/

 


Train crash kills one, injures one
By Jeff M. Hardison © Sept. 18, 2021 at 10:11 a.m.
     MARION COUNTY –
A man from Morriston suffered serious injuries and a man from Ocala who was a passenger in the sport utility vehicle the Morriston man was driving died early this morning (Saturday, Sept. 18) when a train hit the SUV, according to information in a press release from the Florida Highway Patrol.

     The SUV was northbound on Southeast 62nd Avenue Road at 1:06 a.m. on Sept. 18, according to information from a report by crash investigator FHP Trooper B. Minton and homicide investigator FHP Cpl. L. Bard.
     The SUV with a37-year-old Morriston man driving and a 28-year old Ocala man as the passenger attempted to cross over the train tracks at Southeast 101st Place as it went north on Southeast 62nd Avenue Road, the FHP said.
     A northbound train hit the SUV as it crossed the tracks, the FHP said.
     The man from Ocala, who was the passenger of the SUV, was
pronounced dead at the scene and the driver was transported to a hospital, 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/

 


DTF busts three
suspected drug law violators

Suspected Drug Law Violators
(from left) Anthony Quinn Knight, Justin Ausburn, Christopher Michael Long

Mug Shots By LCSO

By Jeff M. Hardison © Sept. 18, 2021 at 3:11 a.m.
     BRONSON –
Members of the Levy County Sheriff’s Office’s Drug Task Force (DTF) arrested three men suspected of violating drug laws, according to information provided Friday afternoon (Sept. 17) by LCSO Lt. Scott Tummond, public information officer.

     On Wednesday (Sept. 15), Anthony Quinn Knight, 55, of Bronson was arrested for possession of a controlled substance  (methamphetamine) without a prescription, possession of drug paraphernalia and driving while license suspended or revoked. Combined bonds were set at $20,000, according to records.
     Also arrested then was Justin Ausburn, 28, of Bronson for possession of a controlled substance (methamphetamine) without a prescription and driving while license suspended or revoked. Combined bonds were set at $15,000, according to records
     The third man in this roundup was Christopher Michael Long, 35, two counts of possession of a controlled substance without a prescription (methamphetamine and fentanyl), and one count of possession of drug paraphernalia. Combined bonds were set at $20,000, according to records.
     In 2019, Knight became the subject of an investigation by the DTF, Lt. Tummond said. Detectives learned Knight was selling methamphetamine and other illegal street level drugs from his home in Bronson. Detectives began gathering evidence and recovered various types of drugs, which led to Knight’s first arrest in 2020, Tummond said.
     Early Wednesday morning, DTF detectives executed a search warrant at the home of Knight, Tummond said.
     Detectives arrested Knight and the two other men noted above who were located then and there with Knight, Tummond said.
      Knight’s home is known to be used by local individuals who buy and then use these illegal substances there, Tummond said.
     This investigation is ongoing and additional charges are expected to be filed on Knight and others identified during this investigation. 
     Levy County Sheriff Bobby McCallum has assigned detectives to the specialized Drug Task Force Unit to locate and arrest individuals who sell illegal drugs in Levy County. Detectives could potentially seize a home that is known to be operated and maintained using proceeds of illegal drug sales, Tummond said.
     “Seizing the drug dealers’ assets will hinder or halt their illegal actions,” Sheriff McCallum said. “I encourage all law-abiding Levy County citizens to call us when you see suspicious activities in your neighborhoods. By reporting your observations to us, we could potentially shut down these drug dealers and rid your neighborhood of these criminals and the associated crimes. When people decide to make their living by committing crimes, I assure you we will respond and stop them.”

 


National health care fraud enforcement
action results in charges involving
more than $1.4 billion in alleged losses

Story Provided
By United States Drug Enforcement Administration Public Affairs
Published Sept. 18, 2021 at 4:11 a.m.
     WASHINGTON, D.C.
– The Department of Justice announced Friday (Sept. 17) criminal charges against 138 defendants, including 42 doctors, nurses, and other licensed medical professionals, in 31 federal districts across the United States, for their alleged participation in various healthcare fraud schemes that resulted in approximately $1.4 billion in alleged losses.
     The charges target approximately $1.1 billion in fraud committed using telemedicine (the use of telecommunications technology to provide health care services remotely), $29 million in COVID-19 health care fraud, $133 million connected to substance abuse treatment facilities, or “sober homes,” and $160 million connected to other health care fraud and illegal opioid distribution schemes across the country.
     “Holding to account those responsible for health care fraud and diversion of prescription drugs is a priority for DEA,” said DEA Administrator Anne Milgram. “These fraudulent activities prey on our most vulnerable – those in pain, the substance-addicted, and even the homeless – those who are most susceptible to promises of relief, recovery, or a new start. Not only do these schemes profit from desperation, but they often leave their victims even deeper in addiction. We are grateful to our partners who stand with us to keep our communities safer and healthier through our collective efforts to prevent the misuse and over-prescribing of controlled medications.”
      “This nationwide enforcement action demonstrates that the Criminal Division is at the forefront of the fight against health care fraud and opioid abuse by prosecuting those who have exploited health care benefit programs and their patients for personal gain,” said Assistant Attorney General Kenneth A. Polite Jr. of the Justice Department’s Criminal Division. “The charges announced today send a clear deterrent message and should leave no doubt about the department’s ongoing commitment to ensuring the safety of patients and the integrity of health care benefit programs, even amid a continued pandemic.”
     These enforcement actions were led and coordinated by the Health Care Fraud Unit of the Criminal Division’s Fraud Section, in conjunction with its Health Care Fraud and Appalachian Regional Prescription Opioid (ARPO) Strike Force program, and its core partners – the Drug Enforcement Administration, the U.S. Attorneys’ Offices, Department of Health and Human Services Office of Inspector General (HHS-OIG), and FBI – and, as part of the department’s ongoing efforts to combat the devastating effects of health care fraud and the opioid epidemic. The cases are being prosecuted by Health Care Fraud and ARPO Strike Force teams from the Criminal Division’s Fraud Section, in coordination with 31 U.S. Attorneys’ Offices nationwide, and agents from DEA, HHS-OIG, FBI, and other federal and state law enforcement agencies.
      “Health care fraud targets the vulnerable in our communities, our health care system, and our basic expectation of competent, available care,” said Assistant Director Calvin Shivers of the FBI’s Criminal Investigative Division. “Despite a continued pandemic, the FBI and our law enforcement partners remain dedicated to safeguarding American taxpayers and businesses from the steep cost of health care fraud.”
      “We have seen all too often criminals who engage in health care fraud — stealing from taxpayers while jeopardizing the health of Medicare and Medicaid beneficiaries,” said Deputy Inspector General for Investigations Gary L. Cantrell of HHS-OIG. “Today’s announcement should serve as another warning to individuals who may be considering engaging in such illicit activity: our agency and its law enforcement partners remain unrelenting in our commitment to rooting out fraud, holding bad actors accountable, and protecting the millions of beneficiaries who rely on federal health care programs.”
      “Every dollar saved is critical to the sustainability of our Medicare programs and meeting the needs of seniors and people with disabilities,” said Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) Administrator Chiquita Brooks-LaSure. “CMS has taken actions against 28 providers on behalf of people with Medicare coverage and to protect the Medicare Trust Fund. Actions like this to combat fraud, waste and abuse in our federal programs would not be possible without the successful partnership of Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services, the Department of Justice and the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, Office of Inspector General.”

Telemedicine Fraud Cases
     The largest amount of alleged fraud loss charged in connection with the cases announced today – over $1.1 billion in allegedly false and fraudulent claims submitted by more than 43 criminal defendants in 11 judicial districts – relates to schemes involving telemedicine. According to court documents, certain defendant telemedicine executives allegedly paid doctors and nurse practitioners to order unnecessary durable medical equipment, genetic and other diagnostic testing, and pain medications, either without any patient interaction or with only a brief telephonic conversation with patients they had never met or seen. Durable medical equipment companies, genetic testing laboratories, and pharmacies then purchased those orders in exchange for illegal kickbacks and bribes and submitted over $1.1 billion in false and fraudulent claims to Medicare and other government insurers. In some instances, medical professionals billed Medicare for sham telehealth consultations that did not occur as represented. The proceeds of the scheme were spent on luxury items, including vehicles, yachts, and real estate.
     The continued focus on prosecuting health care fraud schemes involving telemedicine reflects the success of the nationwide coordinating role of the Fraud Section’s National Rapid Response Strike Force, the creation of which was announced at the 2020 National Health Care Fraud and Opioid Takedown. The National Rapid Response Strike Force helped coordinate the prosecution of the telemedicine initiative, Sober Homes initiative, and COVID-19 cases that were announced today. The focus on telemedicine fraud also builds on the telemedicine component of last year’s national takedown and the impact of the 2019 “Operation Brace Yourself” Telemedicine and Durable Medical Equipment Takedown, which resulted in an estimated cost avoidance of more than $1.9 billion in the amount paid by Medicare for orthotic braces in the 20 months following that takedown.

COVID-19 Fraud Cases
     Nine defendants in the cases announced today are alleged to have engaged in various health care fraud schemes designed to exploit the COVID-19 pandemic, which resulted in the submission of over $29 million in false billings. In one type of scheme, defendants are alleged to have exploited policies that were put in place by the CMS to enable increased access to care during the COVID-19 pandemic, such as expanded telehealth regulations and rules. Defendants allegedly misused patient laboratory tests, including cancer genetic testing.
     The law enforcement action includes criminal charges against five defendants who allegedly engaged in the misuse of Provider Relief Fund monies. The Provider Relief Fund is part of the Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security (CARES) Act, a federal law enacted March 2020 designed to provide needed medical care to Americans suffering from COVID-19. The defendants allegedly used the moneys for their own personal expenses, including for gambling at a Las Vegas casino and paying a luxury car dealership.
     The COVID-19 cases build upon the success of the COVID-19 Health Care Fraud Takedown on May 26, a coordinated law enforcement action against 14 defendants in seven judicial districts for over $128 million in false billings. The law enforcement action and the cases announced today were brought in coordination with the Health Care Fraud Unit’s COVID-19 Interagency Working Group, which is chaired by the National Rapid Response Strike Force and organizes efforts to address illegal activity involving health care programs during the pandemic.

Sober Homes Cases
     The sober homes cases are announced on the one-year anniversary of the first ever national sober homes initiative in 2020, which included charges against more than a dozen criminal defendants in connection with more than $845 million of allegedly false and fraudulent claims for tests and treatments for vulnerable patients seeking treatment for drug and/or alcohol addiction. The over $133 million in false and fraudulent claims that are additionally alleged in cases announced today reflect the continued effort by the National Rapid Response Strike Force and the Health Care Fraud Unit’s Los Angeles Strike Force, with the participation of the U.S. Attorney’s Offices for the Central District of California and the Southern District of Florida, to prosecute those who participated in illegal kickback and bribery schemes involving the referral of patients to substance abuse treatment facilities; those patients could be subjected to medically unnecessary drug testing – often billing thousands of dollars for a single test – and therapy sessions that frequently were not provided, and which resulted in millions of dollars of false and fraudulent claims being submitted to private insurers.
     Cases Involving the Illegal Prescription and/or Distribution of Opioids and Cases Involving Traditional Health Care Fraud Schemes
     These cases involving the illegal prescription and/or distribution of opioids involve 19 defendants, including several charges against medical professionals and others who prescribed over 12 million doses of opioids and other prescription narcotics, while submitting over $14 million in false billings. The cases that fall into more traditional categories of health care fraud include charges against over 60 defendants who allegedly participated in schemes to submit more than $145 million in false and fraudulent claims to Medicare, Medicaid, TRICARE, and private insurance companies for treatments that were medically unnecessary and often never provided.
     Prior to the charges announced as part of today’s nationwide enforcement action and since its inception in March 2007, the Health Care Fraud Strike Force, which maintains 15 strike forces operating in 24 districts, has charged more than 4,600 defendants who have collectively billed the Medicare program for approximately $23 billion. In addition to the criminal actions announced today, CMS, working in conjunction with HHS-OIG, announced 28 administrative actions to decrease the presence of fraudulent providers.
     A complaint, information or indictment is merely an allegation, and all defendants are presumed innocent until proven guilty beyond a reasonable doubt in a court of law.

 


High school student arrested
for bringing loaded gun to school

Suspect gun toter is 15 years old

 

 

 


Jesse D. Jenkins Jr.
 

 


Story and Photo Provided
By MCSO Public Information Officer Valerie Strong
Published Sept. 17, 2021
at 8:11 p.m.
      MARION COUNTY –
On Friday (Sept. 17), a Marion County Sheriff’s Office (MCSO) School Resource Officer at North Marion Middle School (NMHS) arrested 10th grader Jesse D. Jenkins Jr., 15, for possession of a firearm on school property and carrying a concealed weapon.
     Deputy Jon Allen, MCSO’s School Resource Officer for NMHS, received information that Jenkins was in possession of a loaded firearm while at school. Deputy Allen made contact NMHS Assistant Principal Michael Fritch, informing him of the tip.

     Deputy Allen and Assistant Principal Fritch promptly removed Jenkins from class and brought him to a teacher’s office. Assistant Principal Fritch began to search Jenkins’ backpack. Jenkins then became nervous and refused to allow Assistant Principal Fritch to search his crossbody bag.
     Deputy Allen observed an item in the shape of a firearm inside of the crossbody bag. Deputy Allen then immediately searched the crossbody bag and found a loaded semi-automatic firearm inside.
     Jenkins was arrested and transported to be placed into the custody of the Florida Department of Juvenile Justice.

 


Tallahassee woman arrested
in murder-for-hire plot

Information Provided
By United States Attorneys Office
Northern District of Florida
Published Sept. 17, 2021 at 8:11 p.m.
     TALLAHASSEE
 – Gretchen Buselli (who is also known as “Gretchen Yarbrough”), 47, of Tallahassee was arrested yesterday (Thursday, Sept. 16) on a charge of Use of Interstate Commerce Facility in the Commission of Murder-for-Hire.
     Jason R. Coody, Acting United States Attorney for the Northern District of Florida, announced the charge today (Friday, Sept. 17) after Buselli made her initial appearance in federal court in Tallahassee.
     The complaint alleges that between on or about June 17, 2021, and on or about Sept. 16, 2021, in the Northern District of Florida, Buselli did knowingly and intentionally use or cause another to use the mail or any facility of interstate commerce with the intent that a murder be committed in violation of the laws of the State of Florida, as consideration for the receipt of, or as consideration for a promise or agreement to pay anything of pecuniary value.
     Buselli was ordered temporarily detained until a preliminary and detention hearing on Sept. 22, at 1:30 p.m., at the United States Courthouse in Tallahassee.
     If convicted, she faces up to 10 years’ imprisonment.
     This arrest resulted from a joint investigation by the Federal Bureau of Investigation and the Tallahassee Police Department. The case is being prosecuted by Assistant United States Attorneys Eric Mountin and Lazaro Fields.
     A criminal complaint is merely an allegation by a sworn affiant that a defendant has committed a violation of federal criminal law and is not evidence of guilt.
     All defendants are presumed innocent and entitled to due process, to include a fair trial, during which it is the government’s burden to prove guilt beyond a reasonable doubt.
     The United States Attorney's Office for the Northern District of Florida is one of 94 offices that serve as the nation’s principal litigators under the direction of the Attorney General.

 


FSA and others honor
fallen officers at Memorial Wall

Information Provided
By Citrus County Sheriff’s Office
Published Sept. 17, 2021 at 8:11 p.m.
     TALLAHASSEE --
The Florida Sheriffs Association (FSA) is scheduled to conduct its annual memorial ceremony to honor those who have given their lives in the line of duty.
     Please join us to pay respects to these fallen heroes, their families, law enforcement colleagues, and all the men and women who gave their lives in service to Florida's citizens.
     Florida Sheriffs, community leaders and FSA leadership are anticipated to attend.
     The event will be Sunday (Sept. 19), starting at 2 p.m., at the Memorial Wall at the Florida Sheriffs Association Headquarters, 2617 Mahan Drive, in Tallahassee.
     FSA Immediate Past President, Gilchrist County Sheriff Bobby Schultz, is the keynote speaker.
     The names added to the Memorial Wall are:
     ● Broward County Sheriff's Office Deputy Benjamin Nimtz| End of Watch: July 21, 2019
     ● Broward County Sheriff's Office Deputy Shannon Bennett | End of Watch: April 3, 2020
     ● Palm Beach County Sheriff's Office Sergeant Jose Diaz Ayala | End of Watch: April 4, 2020
     ● Lake County Sheriff's Office Master Deputy Lynn Jones | End of Watch: June 24, 2020
     ● Lake County Sheriff's Office Master Detention Deputy Richard Barry | End of Watch: July 16, 2020
     ● Jacksonville Sheriff's Office Lieutenant Chris Cunningham | End of Watch: August 5, 2020
     ● Broward County Sheriff's Office Lieutenant Aldemar Rengifo | End of Watch: August 16, 2020
     ● Santa Rosa County Sheriff's Office Deputy Charles Pugh | End of Watch: August 18, 2020
     ● Palm Beach County Sheriff's Office Deputy Maurice Ford | End of Watch: August 29, 2020
     ● Palm Beach County Sheriff's Office Deputy Angela Chavers | End of Watch: September 12, 2020
     ● Clay County Sheriff's Office Sergeant Eric Twisdale | End of Watch: September 16, 2020
     ● Seminole County Sheriff's Office Sergeant James LaRue Rengifo | End of Watch: November 20, 2020
     ● Hardee County Sheriff's Office Major Maxwell "Randy" Dey Jr | End of Watch: November 27, 2014
     Established in 2002, the Florida Sheriffs Association incorporated the granite Memorial Wall to honor sheriff's officers who had fallen in the line of duty.
     It is a tribute to remember the sheriffs and deputies who have dedicated their lives to serve and protect Floridians, while respecting those who have passed.
     On the wall is an engraved verse that embraces these fallen heroes and the sacrifices they have made: "Greater love hath no man than this, that he lay down his life for his friend."
-- John 15:13.


Shot fired, no one is hit
OPD investigates
officer-involved shooting

Suspected Gun guy

 

 

 


Dallas Avery Dothard
Mug Shot By MCSO

 



By Jeff M. Hardison
© Sept. 17, 2021 at 11:11 a.m.
     OCALA –
An Ocala Police Department sergeant fired one round at an armed fleeing subject late yesterday afternoon (Thursday, Oct. 16), but the bullet missed the man who was seen with a semiautomatic pistol, according to information provided by OPD Public Information Officer Jeff Walczak.
     Ocala Chief of Police Mike Balken said he is certain every OPD officer, including the sergeant, performed incredibly well, and the sergeant correctly followed all protocol to keep people safe.

     Dallas Avery Dothard, 23, of Ocala was arrested for possession of a concealed firearm without a permit and resisting arrest without violence, according to records. Combined bonds were set at $3,000 for those two charges.
     Dothard has denied possessing the firearm that was recovered and that at least one witness confirmed seeing in his possession, according to records. The suspect told police that he had lost a wallet at the scene and was returning in his search for his wallet, according to records.

suspected gun
This picture of the 9 mm semiautomatic handgun that the suspect is accused of possessing was provided by the OPD.

bullets from the gun
This picture of the loaded 9 mm magazine with bullets in it that was taken from gun that the suspect is accused of possessing was made from a video provided by the OPD. That video shows the police chief explaining the incident, and the subsequent arrest, as well as showing body camera footage to prove what is stated by the OPD as being factual -- is fact.


     The defendant was jailed after a set of events caused the OPD to believe the man had violated Florida laws, according to records.
     On Sept. 16, at approximately 4:30 p.m., Ocala Police officers responded to a reported battery at the Promenade Apartments, 1421 S.W. 27th Ave., Walczak noted in a press release.
     While officers were on the scene investigating the altercation, witnesses indicated that one of the groups involved had left the complex stating that they were going to return with firearms and shoot the reporting parties, Walczak said.
     Officers immediately began conducting surveillance within the complex in an attempt to apprehend the subjects if they returned to the area, Walczak said. Officers observed a vehicle occupied by four subjects enter the complex and proceed to the south side of the property soon after that time, Walczak said.
     Witnesses then fled from that area, notifying officers that the vehicle was occupied by the subjects involved in the original altercation and who were now armed, Walczak said. As OPD officers approached to further investigate, two of the four subjects in that vehicle fled on foot, Walczak said. The first subject was quickly apprehended within the complex by the OPD Directed Patrol, Violent Crimes unit and he was arrested without further incident, Walczak said.
     That subject was 16 years old, and he was cited for a misdemeanor, Walczak said.
     The second subject, Dothard, was pursued throughout the complex and refused to comply with repeated instructions to stop and show his hands, Walczak said.
     During the foot chase, Dothard produced a handgun at which time the patrol sergeant who was in pursuit fired one round from his department-issued handgun, Walczak said. The round missed Dothard, Walczak said.
     Dothard then discarded his weapon and continued to flee on foot, Walczak said. The sergeant continued to chase and then apprehend Dothard a short distance away from where the shot was fired, Walczak said. Dothard taken into custody without further incident, Walczak said.
     This case is currently under investigation by the OPD Major Crimes Unit, Walczak said. 
     "It’s important to note that our officers performed incredibly well during this entire incident and I couldn’t be more proud of them,” Ocala Chief of Police Mike Balken said. “They responded quickly to a minor call for service, they quickly realized the potential for violence, and they responded in fine fashion to ensure the safety of numerous bystanders within the complex, many of whom were young children.
     “The bottom line here is that our officers prevented what certainly could have escalated into an active shooter situation within the complex which would have jeopardized the safety of many innocent people,” Chief Balken continued. “Although an investigation is currently underway, my initial review of the situation leads me to believe that the sergeant who discharged his weapon did so well within guidelines, and while demonstrating an incredible amount of restraint. We are extremely lucky that our sergeant was uninjured and quite frankly, Dothard is very lucky that he’s still alive. This incident is yet another example of the difficult and sometimes very dangerous job that our folks do on a daily basis. And it should serve as an example of the great work they are doing out there to ensure the safety of our community."
     The OPD is not releasing the name of the sergeant involved in the shooting to give him and his family some privacy, Walczak said.
     As is normal under these circumstances, he has been placed on administrative leave pending the outcome of the investigation, Walczak added.

 


Sign stolen from Seahorse Key
Replacement costs exceed $5,000

Seahorse Key
In this June 2021 photo, members of the Youth Conservation Corps crew are seen in front of the sign that was stolen in August.

Information and Photo Provided
By The Friends of the Lower Suwannee
& Cedar Keys National Wildlife Refuges and Others
Published Sept. 16, 2021 at 12:11 p.m.
     SEAHORSE KEY --
Someone stole a unique sign from Seahorse Key.

     Established in 1929, the 800 acre Cedar Keys National Wildlife Refuge (NWR) is managed by the United States Fish and Wildlife Service (USFWS) for wildlife and wildlife-oriented outdoor recreation.
     The primary purpose of the Refuge is to serve as breeding grounds for colonial nesting birds. The Cedar Keys is one set of islands that comprise more than 540 National Wildlife Refuges that protect 100 million acres of land throughout the United States.
     Cedar Keys NWR consists of 13 offshore islands ranging from one-acre to 165 acres. Four of the islands (Snake, Bird, North and Seahorse) are designated as wilderness areas. The most recent addition to the Refuge is Atesna Otie Key just offshore from the City of Cedar Key. Atesna Otie Key is owned by the Suwannee River Water Management District and managed under a cooperative agreement by the USFWS.
     In 1952, the University of Florida established its marine laboratory on Seahorse Key, part of the Cedar Keys National Wildlife Refuge. Ever since then, the island's flora, fauna, history and unique geographic structure have provided outstanding teaching and research opportunities for students, faculty and members of the local community as well as visitors from other areas.
     Regarding the theft of the unique sign built for Seahorse Key, which is a National Wildlife Refuge, the Refuge Manager would greatly appreciate any information anyone provides to help apprehend the thieves. As for the law enforcement agency responsible for the island, it is not the Levy County Sheriff’s Office or the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission.
     As shown in in the photo at the top of this story, the sign was affixed on three telephone poles. It was well-embedded into the dune.
     It has survived the ravages of tropical systems since 2015. Refuge Manager Andrew Gude noticed this sign was missing on Aug. 27 at 10 a.m. 
      The cost of a replacement sign’s production, shipping and installation is currently estimated in the range of upwards of $5,000. It is a custom produced sign that identified Seahorse Key, Cedar Key National Wildlife Refuge, and the partnership with the University of Florida and Santa Fe College.
     The best method to report a wildlife crime on National Wildlife Refuge property, including anonymously, to the United States Fish and Wildlife Service, is via email at fws_tips@fws.gov or call 1- 844-397-8477.

 


Sheriff offers insight
about courthouse evacuation

By Jeff M. Hardison © Sept. 15, 2021 at 12:11 p.m.
     TRENTON –
Gilchrist County Sheriff Bobby Schultz this morning (Wednesday, Sept. 15) provided more insight regarding the suspicious package at the Gilchrist County Courthouse found yesterday afternoon (Tuesday, Sept. 14).

     As noted in the story on the COMMUNITY PAGE about the Dixie County Legislative Delegation Hearing, the Bronson town election and the need to reschedule the Gilchrist County Legislative Delegation Hearing as a result of the courthouse being evacuated, Sheriff Schultz greatly appreciates the help of all the assisting agencies.
     The investigation into the source of the package is complete, Sheriff Schultz said. There was not any danger from that package, and there are actions being taken to avoid what led to something being misplaced there like that again.
     The sheriff was on the scene yesterday, he said, and he allowed his team members to perform their jobs. 
     Out of an abundance of caution, Sheriff Schultz said, every member of the Gilchrist County Sheriff’s Office did exactly as they knew they should.
     The series of events quickly led to Lt. Keagon Weatherford being in command of the scene. Every constitutional officer and all of the staff and others in the courthouse acted properly and professionally, Sheriff Schultz said, when they were asked to vacate the building.
     “We know our protocol and procedures work,” Schultz said.
     He added there are some relatively new employees in the courthouse, and there are visitors who were there yesterday who adjusted quickly to the requests, with everyone taking the directions as seriously, just as they should.
     Sheriff Schultz said this is only the second time in 10 years that he knows of a need to evacuate the Gilchrist County Courthouse. It is not a common occurrence.
     The sheriff said some people might say now that the package proved to be nothing of any danger that this was too much of a practice of safety procedures; however, he knows the members of the GCSO and everyone involved with the incident Tuesday afternoon did exactly as the situation demanded.
     Again, he noted his appreciation for the quick response by the Alachua County Sheriff’s Office Bomb Squad, the Trenton Public Safety Department, Gilchrist County Fire Rescue and the whole team of the GCSO, as well as all the people who patiently waited to continue their business in the courthouse, despite the inconvenience caused by a person improperly placing a package.

 


Murderer sentenced to life in prison
Story Provided 
By The Citrus County Sheriff’s office
Published Sept. 15, 2021 at 9:11 a.m.
     CITRUS COUNTY –
On Tuesday (Sept. 14), Fifth Judicial Circuit Court Judge Richard "Ric" Howard sentenced 19-year-old Carlos Antonio Hallowell of Beverly Hills to life in prison for the premeditated murder of his adoptive mother.

     The Fifth Judicial Circuit included Citrus, Marion, Hernando, Lake and Sumter counties. There are 20 judicial circuits in Florida.
     On July 13, 2019, the Citrus County Sheriff's Office (CCSO) began an investigation into the murder of 57-year-old Denise Hallowell. Detectives diligently worked to unearth various pieces of evidence to prove then, 17-year-old Carlos Hallowell murdered his own mother.
     Hallowell was found guilty of premeditated murder on July 9, 2021.
     "CCSO Major Crimes detectives worked quickly to solve this shocking case," Citrus County Sheriff Mike Prendergast said. "Here we had a mother, who was brutally murdered in her bedroom during the night by her son. All the forensic evidence and interviews pointed to the only other person inside Denise's home that night, her own son."
     The sheriff has noted this case has been a team effort, and the CCSO is proud of the dedication from every employee involved in this case.
     “To our patrol units, crime scene specialists, major crimes unit, dive team, high tech crimes unit, United States Secret Service, (Fifth Judicial Circuit) State Attorney's Office and the citizens of Citrus County, thank you for your time, dedication and patience,” the sheriff said soon after the investigation of the murder began.

 


Suspected sex offender arrested by OPD
Antonio Abreu a suspected criminal caught in Ocala HardisonInk.com

 

 

 

 


Antonio Abreu
 

 

 

 

 


Information and Photo Provided
By Jeff Walczak
OPD Public Information Officer
Published Sept. 11, 2021 at 10:11 a.m.
     OCALA --
On Sept. 8, Ocala Police officers responded to a hotel on State Road 200 near to I-75, regarding the report of a criminal sex offense.


     Antonio Abreu, 51, is reported to have entered a hotel room while it was being cleaned by two female employees. Abreu allegedly locked the door, attempted to undress, and approached the women. He then said he was going to rape them, according to the witnesses.
     When one victim used her work radio to call for help, Abreu fled. When officers located Abreu, he gave them a fake name.
     Officers quickly learned his identity and found that he is a registered sex offender from Maine and he has multiple active warrants for his arrest.
     Abreu was arrested and now sits in the Marion County jail with numerous charges, including attempted sexual battery, false imprisonment, and burglary. He is being held without bond, according to records.
     OPD Detectives believe Abreu has been in Ocala for about three weeks and is homeless. Anyone who has been victimized by Abreu is encouraged to call Det. Drake at 352-369-7000.

 


OPD headquarters lobby
closed until further notice

OPD lobby closed
Story and Photo Provided
By Jeff Walczak, Public Information Officer
Ocala Police Department
Published Sept. 7, 2021 at 12:11 p.m.
     OCALA --
In an effort to keep the community safe and limit the spread of COVID-19, the Ocala Police Department headquarters lobby, located at 402 S. Pine Ave., in Ocala, will be temporarily closed to the public until further notice.
     Though the lobby is closed, citizens are still able to receive services:
     • An outside phone is available for anyone who needs to speak with an officer.
     • The drive-thru window is open for record requests.
     • To make a police report online, click HERE.
     For additional information, please call the OPD Communications Center at 352-369-7000.

 


Dixie County man dies in crash
By Jeff M. Hardison © Sept. 7, 2021 at 8:11 a.m.
     DIXIE COUNTY –
A 49-year-old man with a Horseshoe Beach residential address died Friday evening (Sept. 3) from injuries suffered in a two-vehicle crash, according to information from the Florida Highway Patrol sent via email on Sept. 7.
     On Sept. 3, at approximately 6:45 p.m., the two-vehicle crash occurred on Dixie County Road 351 just north of Southeast 94th Street, the FHP said.
     A small passenger car and a pickup truck that was pulling a boat trailer collided disabling both vehicles, the FHP said.
     A 23-year-old man with an Old Town residential address was driving the sedan in which the 49-year-old Horseshoe Beach man was riding as a passenger, the FHP said. That driver suffered minor injuries, the FHP said. That driver was not wearing a seatbelt, and it is unknown if the man who died was wearing a seatbelt at the time of the crash, the FHP said.
     A 65-year-old man with an Old Town residential address was driving the pickup truck that was pulling the boat trailer, the FHP said. A 14-year-old boy, also with an Old Town residential address was riding as a passenger in that pickup truck, the FHP said.
     Neither the driver nor the passenger of the pickup truck was wearing a seatbelt, the FHP said, and they both suffered minor injuries.
     This crash is remaining under investigation, according to the FHP’s Sept. 7 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.
     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/

 


WPD Gets Two AEDs
WPD Gets Two AEDs
Two new AEDs purchased with funds donated by the Ocala Elks Lodge to the Friends of Williston Police are now in use. An Automated External Defibrillator is a portable electronic device that automatically diagnoses the life-threatening cardiac arrhythmias of ventricular fibrillation and pulseless ventricular tachycardia. It can be used to treat them through defibrillation, the application of electricity which stops the arrhythmia, allowing the heart to re-establish an effective rhythm. These AEDs are carried by on-duty WPD officers. Seen holding the lifesaving devices here are WPD Sgt. Mike Bracaglia (left) and WPD Officer Tim O’Hara.
Published Sept. 4, 2021 at 8:11 a.m.

Information and Photos Provided By WPD Chief Dennis Strow

 


Woman dies after crash
By Jeff M. Hardison © Sept. 3, 2021 at 3:11 p.m.
     DIXIE COUNTY –
A 34-year-old woman with an Old Town residential address died Sept. 1 after she suffered injuries in a Dixie County crash on Aug. 31, according to information provided by the Florida Highway Patrol on Friday (Sept. 3).
     The woman was driving a 2015 Chevrolet Camaro at 5:55 p.m. on Aug. 31, according to information provided by FHP Lt. P.V. Riordan based on a report by crash investigator FHP Trooper Jairus McConnell.
     The Camaro was southbound on Dixie County Road 349, approximately 1,000 feet north of Southeast 536th Street, the trooper reported, when the driver lost control of the vehicle.
     The Camaro went off the roadway onto the eastern shoulder of the road and then it struck a tree, the FHP said.
     The woman was transported to Shands (UF Health) in
serious condition, the FHP said. She died on Sept. 1, 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/

 


Fallen officers honored
Information Provided
By Citrus County Sheriff’s Office
Published Aug. 31, 2021 at 7:11 p.m.
     TALLAHASSEE --
The Florida Police Chiefs Association (FPCA) and the Florida Sheriffs Association (FSA) are again this year designating the month of September to honor the service and sacrifice of Florida law enforcement officers killed in the line of duty in 2021.
     Sadly, this includes the growing number of those who have succumbed to COVID-19 while protecting our communities. We continue to raise awareness of the ongoing threat to law enforcement from COVID-19.


More than 220 law enforcement officers in the United States have died in the line of duty, including more than 115 officers who succumbed to COVID-19.



     The FPCA and the FSA issued a proclamation declaring September as the month to honor fallen officers of law enforcement and corrections.
     The FPCA president shared his thoughts.
     "Law enforcement officers understand their oath of service means sacrifice. Over the past 18 months, that's meant willingly exposing themselves to COVID-19 in the line of duty, and potentially exposing their families when they return home," said FPCA president and Daytona Beach Shores Public Safety Department Director Stephan Dembinsky.
      "So far this year, 21 officers gave all and made the ultimate sacrifice with their lives, including 14 who died from COVID-19, which is more than last year at this time," Dembinsky continued, "Now, to honor and remember their fallen colleagues, the Florida Police Chiefs Association calls on all law enforcement to wear mourning bands the entire month of September and publicly salute the service of all fallen law enforcement officers in the state of Florida."
     The president of the FSA addressed the time for recognition.
     "Alongside our law enforcement partners, the sheriffs of Florida salute those who have lost their lives in the line of duty," said Levy County Sheriff Bobby McCallum, President of the Florida Sheriffs Association. "We will never forget those who bravely served their community and gave the ultimate sacrifice. We look to the entire nation to join us in honoring these heroes throughout this September recognition."
     The top prosecuting attorney in Florida gave her input as well.
     Attorney General Ashley Moody said "It takes a special person to take the oath and wear a badge. When we lose one of these heroes, it wounds every member of Florida's strong law enforcement family. In Florida, we back our officers and when we grieve, we grieve together, vowing to never forget the contributions each and every one of our fallen officers has made to the safety and strength of our state."
     More than 220 law enforcement officers in the United States have died in the line of duty, including over 115 officers who succumbed to COVID-19.
     Law enforcement officers serve their communities daily, and often are exposed to COVID-19 in the line of duty; they may expose their families when they return home. The FPCA and FSA are grateful for the sacrifice of law enforcement officers who protect those they serve, even at risk to themselves and their families.

 


Alleged promised
presidential pardon
leads to indictment

Information Provided
By Elizabeth "Libby" Lastinger
United States Attorney's Office
Northern District of Florida
Published Aug. 31, 2021 at 6:11 p.m.
     PENSACOLA –
Stephen M. Alford, 62, of Fort Walton Beach, was indicted by a federal grand jury on counts of wire fraud and the attempted prevention of seizure of an electronic device, Acting United States Attorney for the Northern District of Florida Jason R. Coody announced.
     Alford was arrested today (Tuesday, Aug 31) and made his initial appearance in federal court to face the charges.
     The indictment alleges that, between March 16, and April 7, 2021, Alford engaged in a scheme to defraud a victim out of $25 million.
     As articulated in the indictment, Alford is alleged to have been involved in a scheme to obtain money based upon false promises or guarantees he made to the victim that Alford could deliver a Presidential Pardon for a family member of the victim.
     Alford is currently being held in the custody of the United States Marshals Service. Alford faces up to 25 years imprisonment on the charged crimes.
     An indictment is an allegation by a grand jury that a defendant has committed a violation of federal criminal law and is not evidence of guilt. All defendants are presumed innocent and entitled to a fair trial, during which it will be the government’s burden to prove guilt beyond a reasonable doubt at trial.
     The case was investigated by the Federal Bureau of Investigation. The case is being prosecuted by Assistant United States Attorneys David L. Goldberg and Lazaro P. Fields.
     The United States Attorney's Office for the Northern District of Florida is one of 94 offices that serve as the nation’s principal litigators under the direction of the United States Attorney General.

 


Two more FHP members die
from COVID-19 on same day
FLHSMV & FHP mourn the loss

COVID 19 Kills 2 more FHP Troopers
Information and Graphic Provided
By Florida Department of Highway Safety and Motor Vehicles
Published Aug. 29, 2021 at 9:11 a.m.
     TALLAHASSEE, Fla.
– The Florida Department of Highway Safety and Motor Vehicles (FLHSMV) Executive Director Terry L. Rhodes and Florida Highway Patrol (FHP) Deputy Director Lieutenant Colonel Troy Thompson released at 10:56 p.m. on Aug. 28 the following statement regarding the passing of FHP Trooper Sean Hryc and Compliance Investigator Ernest "Ernie" Brown:
     “Today (Saturday, Aug. 28), the Florida Highway Patrol and FLHSMV family is deeply saddened and collectively heartbroken as we mourn the passing of FHP Trooper Sean Hryc and Compliance Investigator Ernie Brown. Trooper Hryc and Investigator Brown were both valued members of the Florida Highway Patrol, selflessly serving and protecting the residents of Florida for more than 17 and 30 years, respectively. Please keep their families and team members in your thoughts and prayers.”
     Trooper Sean Hryc and Commercial Vehicle Enforcement (CVE) Compliance Investigator Ernie Brown of Troop I – Marion County, both lost their fight with COVID-19 today (Saturday, Aug. 28).
     Trooper Hryc served the residents of Florida with the Florida Highway Patrol for more than 17 years. Prior to joining FHP, Trooper Hryc began his career in law enforcement with the Dade City Police Department.
     Compliance Investigator Brown served the residents of Florida with the Florida Highway Patrol for more than 30 years. Prior to joining FHP, Brown began his law enforcement career with the Bushnell Police Department and was a member of the Sumter County Sheriff’s Office.
     Please respect the privacy of their families as they grieve this devastating loss.

 


Cement truck tries U-turn,
pickup truck crashes

crash in City of Fanning Springs
The ambulance from Levy County Fire Rescue is seen in front of the quick-response squad truck of Fanning Springs Volunteer Fire Department a bit after 2 p.m. Thursday afternoon (Aug. 26) at the scene of a crash.

Story and Photos
By Jeff M. Hardison © Aug. 27, 2021 at 11:11 p.m.
     FANNING SPRINGS –
A 73-year-old man with a Mayo (Lafayette County) residential address suffered serious injuries Thursday afternoon (Aug. 26) during a crash in the City of Fanning Springs (the Levy County part of the city), according to information provided by Florida Highway Patrol Lt. P.V. Riordan, public information officer.

 

crash in City of Fanning Springs
Fanning Springs Firefighter Dennis McCullers works at the scene of the crash. By this point, the victim was being treated in the Levy County Fire Rescue ambulance before being taken to the hospital. Fanning Springs Volunteer Fire Rescue Capt. Nicholas Barrett was the other member of the Fanning Springs Volunteer Fire Rescue Department who responded to the emergency. The 1999 Ford Ranger pickup truck is on the other side of Firefighter McCullers in this photo.

crash in City of Fanning Springs
A 2015 Mack concrete truck and an SRM support vehicle pickup truck with the same company logo on its front tag is seen here.

crash in City of Fanning Springs
The 2015 Mack concrete truck that was involved in the crash on Thursday is parked on the western shoulder facing south on U.S. Highway 19 in the City of Fanning Springs.

Levy County Fire Rescue
A Levy County Fire Rescue ambulance leaves the scene of the crash Thursday afternoon (Aug. 26) in Fanning Springs. FHP Trooper J. ‘Richard’ Allen investigated.


     The crash was investigated by FHP Trooper J. “Richard” Allen, according to the press release and the trooper himself.
     A 45-year-old man with a Lake City (Columbia County) address was driving a 2015 Mack concrete truck at 1:50 p.m. on Aug. 26, the FHP said. A 51-year-old man with a Lake City residential address was a passenger in the concrete truck that had a Gadsden County tag and had SRM Concrete painted on its side, according to the FHP and what was seen at the crash scene.
     The northbound concrete truck attempted a U-Turn on U.S. Highway 19, the FHP said, when the southbound 1999 Ford Ranger pickup truck hit the concrete truck.
     After impact with the concrete truck, the FHP said, the pickup truck went off the roadway heading to the west southwest and plowed through some very thick underbrush, missing nearby trees, coming to final rest in the wood line.
     Post collision, the concrete truck came to final rest facing south on the western shoulder, about 500 feet north of the intersection for Levy County Road 346-A, the FHP said
     The 73-year-old pickup truck driver was transported to
Shand's Hospital (UF Health) in Gainesville with serious injuries, the FHP said.
     Neither the passenger nor the driver of the concrete truck suffered any injuries, the FHP said.
     Everyone involved in the crash was wearing seatbelts, 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 Criminals Put In The Levy County Florida Jail and published in HardisonInk.com

Published Sept. 20, 2021 at 3:11 p.m.


 


Suspected Criminals Put In The Levy County Florida Jail

Published Sept. 20, 2021 at 3:11 p.m.

 



Suspects arrested in Gilchrist County Florida
Published Sept. 20, 2021 at 3:11 p.m.
 


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Here Inky the cat Hardison performs three Olympic jumps to rival the athletes in Brazil in 2016. Wait for it -- JUMP!
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