Suspected speeder
racks up more charges

Dixie County Sheriff's Office HardisonInk.com


Terrell Royal

Mug Shot By DCSO

 


By Jeff M. Hardison
© Sept. 18 2019 at 12:09 p.m.
     DIXIE COUNTY --
A 33-year-old Cross City man became a short-term resident of the Dixie County Jail after he is alleged to have been driving while his license was suspended or revoked, as well as speed, driving in a wilful and wanton reckless manner, resisting arrest without violence, and possessing a misdemeanor amount of marijuana, according to information in a Sept. 16 press release from Dixie County Sheriff's Office Maj. Scott Harden.
     Combined bonds for this suspected criminal were $164,000, Maj. Harden said.

 

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     The report of Terrell Royal's alleged exploits shows his path to incarceration began Friday night (Sept. 13), shortly after 10 p.m., Maj. Harden said, when a DCSO deputy was parked along Northeast 592nd Street in Old Town.
     The deputy saw a car traveling 65 m.p.h. in a 45 m.p.h. zone, Harden said. 
     The deputy attempted to conduct a traffic stop on the vehicle, which then sped away and continued to Northeast 272nd Avenue.
     The trail of danger created by this driver went east, when he too the speeding vehicle toward State Road 349, Harden said.
     Once the vehicle reached SR 349, it turned south and began heading back toward Old Town -- during which time it reached speeds of 120 m.p.h., Harden said.
     Once the vehicle got to U.S. Highway 19, the vehicle turned back west toward Cross City, Harden said.
     It was traveling north in the southbound lanes of U.S. 19 for a short distance before reentering the northbound lanes and continuing northbound toward Cross City, Harden said.
     After going through Cross City, Harden said, the fleeing vehicle again entered the southbound lanes while traveling north. During this time, Harden added, the vehicle reached speeds in excess of 130 m.p.h.
     During this time, one of the deputies who was seeking to stop this dangerous driver attempted to get in front of the vehicle in an attempt to slow the vehicle’s speed, Harden said.
     While the deputy was passing the fleeing vehicle, the vehicle struck the side of the deputy's patrol vehicle, Harden said.
     When the vehicle slowed and the driver entered the median in an apparent attempt to reenter the northbound lanes, a deputy took this opportunity to ram the vehicle with his patrol vehicle disabling the suspect vehicle and ending the pursuit, Harden said.
     Royal exited the vehicle and attempted to flee on foot, Harden said, when he was grabbed by one of the deputies who attempted to restrain him.
     After Royal failed to comply and wouldn’t place his hands behind his back, Harden said, a DCSO K-9 was deployed. After receiving a control bite, Harden said, Royal complied with commands.
     He was taken to the Dixie County Jail and booked on the aforementioned charges with the bond noted earlier.


Sheriff pledges in
the AES Safety Patrol

Dixie County Sheriff's Office HardisonInk.com
Sheriff Dewey Hatcher Sr. stands with the Safety Patrol members.

Story and Photo
Provided By DCSO Maj. Scott Harden
Published Sept. 17, 2019 at 9:19 p.m.
     DIXIE COUNTY --
Dixie County Sheriff Dewey H. Hatcher Sr. was invited to James M. Anderson Elementary School in Cross City on Monday (Sept. 9) to meet with the Anderson Elementary School Safety Patrol.
     The purpose of their meeting was for Sheriff Hatcher to administer the School Safety Patrol Pledge to the members of the patrol. After participating in the pledge, the members were able to visit with the sheriff and have a group picture taken with him.
     The American Automobile Association (AAA) founded the School Safety Patrol program in 1920. Since that time, the program has grown to include more than 500,000 members in in excess of 50,000 schools in the United States and Canada.
     AAA provides training materials, badges and other materials including the familiar neon green or orange belts that have become a recognizable fixture of the School Safety Patrol members over the years.

 


Cement truck driver
dies in Monday crash

By Jeff M. Hardison © Sept. 17, 2019 at 7:09 a.m.
     MARION COUNTY –
One man died and a woman was injured Monday afternoon (Sept. 16) after a cement truck crossed the median of I-75 and hit three other vehicles, the FHP said.
     Michael W. Morris, 58, of Ocala was driving a 2006 Kenworth cement truck at 1:15 p.m. on Sept. 16, according to information in a press release by Florida Highway Patrol Sgt. M. Hathcock, based on information from crash investigator FHP Trooper Michael Reid and homicide investigator FHP Cpl. Mark Baker.
     Julie P. Fairbrother, 69, of Americus, Georgia, was driving a 2015 Honda CRV, the FHP said.
     Marvin T. Wheelock, 55, of Austell, Georgia, was driving a 2006 Ford F-150, the FHP said. Demarco Tyler, 28, also of Austell, was a passenger in the pickup truck, the FHP said.
     Floyd B. Franklyn, 45, of Lawrenceville, Georgia, was driving a 2017 Freightliner semi tractor-trailer, the FHP said.
     The northbound cement truck was in the center lane of Interstate-75 mile-marker 359, the FHP said, when, for unknown
reasons, the cement truck veered to the left into the median and colliding with the guardrail.
     The cement truck continued into the southbound lanes of I-75, overturning onto its right side, the FHP said.
     The Honda CRV was southbound on I-75 in the inside lane, the FHP said.
     The Ford F-150 was southbound on I-75 in the inside lane to the front right of the Honda, the FHP said.
     The semi tractor- trailer was southbound on I-75, the FHP said, directly behind the Ford F-150.
     The F-150 and the semi veered to the right and avoided the collision, the FHP said. The Honda attempted to avoid the collision but was unsuccessful, the FHP said.
     The front of the Honda collided with the rear end and tanker roof of the cement truck, the FHP said, as it was on its side.
     The F-150 and semi had minor damage from the debris that resulted on I-75 after the cement truck collided with the guardrail, the FHP said.
     Cement truck driver Morris was pronounced dead on the
scene.
     Honda driver Fairbrother was taken to Ocala regional Medical Center with non-life threatening injuries, the FHP said.


Chiefland attorney disbarred;
Florida Supreme Court
disciplines 22 attorneys

By Jeff M. Hardison © Sept. 16, 2019 at 9:09 a.m.
     TALLAHASSEE --
A Chiefland attorney who was admitted to practicing law in 1974 had his license to practice law revoked Aug. 1 by the Florida Supreme Court, according to an Aug. 29 news release from The Florida Bar, which in that press release noted 21 other Florida attorneys who were disciplined to varying degrees from June 6 to Aug. 22 as well.
     Court orders are not final until time expires to file a rehearing motion and, if filed, determined. The filing of such a motion does not alter the effective date of the discipline, according to information in the Aug. 29 press release, which is based on fact.
     Disbarred lawyers may not re-apply for admission for five years. They are required to go through an extensive process that includes a rigorous background check and retaking the Bar exam, according to information in the Aug. 29 press release, which is based on fact.
     Gregory Vance “Greg” Beauchamp, 70, of Chiefland, experienced disciplinary revocation effective immediately following an Aug. 1 Florida Supreme Court order. According to information from The Florida Bar, taken from Supreme Court case number SC19-640, Beauchamp misappropriated more than $200,000 of client funds from his trust account.
     From Feb. 25 through March 29, as noted in the previously published story in HardisonInk.com which can be seen by clicking HERE, Beauchamp was in the Levy County Jail as the result of former Circuit Court Judge Stanley H. "Stan" Griffis III incarcerating Beauchamp for indirect contempt of court.
     Since then, Judge Griffis resigned on April 30 from the bench. Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis has appointed Craig C. Dethomasis to be the person in that formerly vacant seat on the Eighth Judicial Circuit, which includes Alachua, Baker, Bradford, Gilchrist, Levy, and Union counties.
     As noted in a story by Christy Cain, communications coordinator of the Eighth Judicial Circuit, Court Administration, on the Business Page of HardisonInk.com, Circuit Court Judge Dethomasis is active and is scheduled to experience an investiture ceremony on Nov. 8.
     Attorney Moein Marashi also went to jail as a result of contempt before being disbarred, according to The Florida Bar press release, showing that Judge Griffis’ action in those months reviewed in the press release was not singular.
     The Florida Bar provided a well written press release published Aug. 29 that is shown below with only the slightest of editing.
Summaries of orders issued June 6 – Aug. 22
     The Florida Bar, the state’s guardian for the integrity of the legal profession, announces that the Florida Supreme Court in recent court orders disciplined 22 attorneys disbarring six, revoking the licenses of three, suspending 10 and reprimanding three. Three attorneys received additional discipline. Two lawyers had periods of probation and two were ordered to pay restitution.
     Disciplinary revocation is tantamount to disbarment.
     As an official arm of the Florida Supreme Court, The Florida Bar and its Department of Lawyer Regulation are charged with administering a statewide disciplinary system to enforce Supreme Court rules of professional conduct for the more than 107,000 members of The Florida Bar. Key discipline case files that are public record are posted to attorneys’ individual online Florida Bar profiles. To view discipline documents, follow the steps noted after clicking HERE.
     Information on the discipline system and how to file a complaint are available at https://www.floridabar.org/public/acap/.
      Following are the summaries of Supreme Court action alphabetically listed by last name with slight editing.
     ● Alexander Charles Annunziato of North Miami, suspended for 30 days, effective 30 days from an Aug. 1 court order. (Admitted to practice: 2015) Annunziato was arrested and charged with possession of a controlled substance after attempting to purchase from an undercover detective.  Thereafter, Annunziato was accepted into the drug court program.  Upon his successful completion of the program, all criminal charges are expected to be dropped.  (Case No. SC19-1230)
     ● Gregory Vance Beauchamp of Chiefland, disciplinary revocation effective immediately following an Aug. 1 court order. (Admitted to practice: 1974) Beauchamp misappropriated more than $200,000 of client funds from his trust account.  (Case No. SC19-640)
     ● Christopher M. Chestnut of Jacksonville, permanently disbarred effective immediately following an Aug. 22 court order. (Admitted to practice: 2006) In four combined grievance files, Chestnut was found guilty of failing to communicate with his clients and failing to diligently pursue their cases. He also made misrepresentations. As Chestnut is already disbarred, his permanent disbarment was effective immediately. (Cases No. SC18-1614)
     ● James M. Corrigan of Pensacola, suspended effective immediately, following a June 6 court order, and a referee ordered appointed to make a recommendation as to discipline. Corrigan was adjudicated guilty in Escambia County Circuit Court of the felony charge of racketeering and sentenced to 34.5 months in state prison. (Case No. SC19-927)
     ● Orlando Delgado of Miami, suspended for three years, effective nunc pro tunc to March 25, 2018, following a July 3 court order. (Admitted to practice: 1996) Delgado engaged in a short sale transaction in which his ex-wife was the seller and a limited liability corporation in which Delgado held exclusive ownership interest was the buyer. Four years later, ownership was transferred to Delgado.  The short sale was required to be arms-length, but Delgado’s interest in the limited liability corporation was not disclosed to the lender.  Additionally, Delgado failed to timely respond to the Bar’s official inquiries regarding the matter. (Case No. SC18-813)
     ● Joseph I. Harrison of Coral Gables, disciplinary revocation with leave to seek readmission after five years, effective 60 days from July 1, following an Aug. 8 court order. (Admitted to practice: 2006) The Bar received an insufficient funds notice regarding two checks issued from Harrison’s trust account. Harrison said the checks had been paid and no clients harmed. After the Bar issued subpoenas to audit his trust account, Harrison submitted a Petition for Disciplinary Revocation. (Case No. SC19-1121)
     ● Natalie Michelle Hutchinson of Coconut Creek, suspended for 90 days, effective 30 days from and Aug. 22 court order and after afterward placed on probation for three years. (Admitted to practice: 2013) Hutchinson represented a client in a medical malpractice case and a personal injury case. She allowed the statute of limitations to run on the medical malpractice case, withdrawing from representation days before it expired and not responding to the client’s emails or phone calls. Responding to the Bar, Hutchinson falsely stated that the statute of limitations was four years, instead of two years. (Case No. SC19-605)
     ● Daniel Stephen Lapina of Orlando, disciplinary revocation with leave to seek readmission after five years, effective 30 days from an Aug. 22 court order. (Admitted to practice: 2005) The Bar received notice that a check drawn on Lapina’s law office trust account was dishonored because of insufficient funds. A compliance audit revealed Lapina failed to maintain the account in substantial compliance with the Rules Regulating The Florida Bar, resulting in shortages. (Case No. SC19-991)
     ● John Arthur Leklem of Orlando, public reprimand by publication, restitution and two-year probation, effective immediately following an Aug. 15 court order. (Admitted to practice: 1976) Leklem represented a homeowners’ association and failed to diligently handle the case and to maintain clear and adequate communication. In a second matter, The Florida Bar’s audit of his trust account revealed technical violations, but no evidence of misappropriation, and no client lost any money. (Case No. SC19-159)
     ● Scott Maddox of Tallahassee, suspended 30 days from an Aug. 15 court order and a referee ordered appointed to recommend discipline. (Admitted to practice: 1995) Maddox pleaded guilty to three felonies in the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of Florida. The charges related to Maddox’s role as city commissioner and a co-defendant paying him on behalf of companies to influence votes in their favor. (Case No. SC19-1373)
     ● Moein Marashi of Tampa, permanently disbarred, effective immediately following an Aug. 8 court order. (Admitted to practice: 2002) Marashi misappropriated at least $84,772 of a client’s funds in a wrongful death lawsuit. He was arrested and held in contempt of court by a 13th Circuit Court judge. (Case No. SC18-2097)
     ● Brett Allen Mearkle of Atlantic Beach, disbarred, effective immediately, following a July 25 court order, and ordered to pay $2,500 restitution to one client. (Admitted to practice: 2003) Mearkle was hired and paid $2,500 to handle a business bankruptcy. He failed to file the case and communicate with the client. In another case, after appearing for a client in federal court, Mearkle subsequently failed to appear in court and did not communicate with his client. In both cases, he did not respond to court inquiries and grievance complaints. (Case No. SC19-110)
     ● Paula Elisabeth Pratt of Winter Park, suspended for three years, effective 30 days from an Aug. 8, court order. (Admitted to practice: 1991) Pratt had shortages in her trust account and commingled trust funds with operating funds. The Bar’s audit also revealed technical trust account violations. Pratt handled her firm’s administrative and financial affairs, and her law partner was unaware of the shortages. Pratt’s partner removed her from the firm’s trust account and retained a CPA to perform bi-monthly reviews. All shortages were refunded. (Case No. SC19-1240)
     ● Michael Joseph Presutti of Oviedo, publicly reprimanded, by an Aug. 8 court order. (Admitted to practice: 1989) Presutti represented the personal representative in an estate proceeding involving considerable litigation. The probate court assessed the full amount of the opposing party’s attorney’s fees and costs against Presutti personally, but not his client. In his appeal, Presutti included his client in the style of the appeal without obtaining a waiver from the client of the conflict of interest created by inclusion as an appellant. The appellate court granted the opposing party’s motion for attorney’s fees against Presutti and his client. (Case No. SC19-1225)
     ● Albert W. Pucylowski of Orlando, disbarred, effective immediately following an Aug. 1 court order. The court had ordered an emergency suspension Feb. 13. (Admitted to practice: 1998) Pucylowski abandoned his law practice without protecting his clients’ interests. In three separate matters, his failure to appear in court caused arrest warrants to be issued for his clients. In addition, Pucylowski did not participate in disciplinary proceeding. (Case No. SC19-190)
     ● Natt Owen Reifler of Oviedo, publicly reprimanded by publication and directed to attend Ethics School, effective immediately following an Aug. 22 court order. (Admitted to practice: 1995) Reifler self-reported that his former firm’s trust accounts were not in substantial compliance with The Rules Regulating The Florida Bar. While listed as a partner of the firm, Reifler was not a signatory on the trust accounts. He did not exercise reasonable diligence to determine the compliance of the firm’s trust accounts. (Case No. SC18-1598)
     ● Michael Anthony Saracco of Cocoa, suspended for 30 days, effective 30 days from an Aug. 8 court order. (Admitted to practice: 2012) In his brief regarding a trial court’s findings, Saracco made what appeared to be a material misrepresentation and did not correct this when opposing counsel pointed it out. In response to the 5th District Court of Appeal’s order to show cause why he should not be sanctioned, Saracco provided a written apology, assuring the court his conduct was not intentional and would not be repeated. The court entered an order accepting his apology. (Case No. SC19-1217)
     ● Bonne Zell Scheflin of Davie, suspended for 18 months, effective 30 days from an Aug. 15 court order. (Admitted to practice: 1989) During an extended absence because of illness, Scheflin permitted her office manager to run her title company with minimal oversight and supervision. The office manager misappropriated more than $400,000 from Scheflin’s trust account. (Case No. SC19-1268)
     ● William Jason Scheil of Lady Lake, disbarred effective immediately, following a July 25 court order. (Admitted to practice: 2011) Scheil engaged in felony criminal conduct involving drug possession. In disciplinary proceedings, he failed to appear for scheduled case management conferences, respond to the Bar’s discovery requests, and appear for the scheduled sanction hearing. (Case No. SC19-130)
     ● Jeffrey Robert Thibault of Tampa, suspended effective 30 days from an Aug. 2 court order. (Admitted to practice: 2011) Thibault failed to respond to official Bar inquiries and the Bar filed a Petition for Contempt and Request for Order to Show Cause. The Florida Supreme Court issued an Order to Show Cause and Thibault failed to respond. (Case No. SC19-565)
     ● Eric Allen Waraftig of Hialeah, disbarred effective immediately following an Aug. 1 court order (Admitted to practice: 1996) Waraftig was adjudicated guilty for federal felony convictions of wire fraud and conspiracy. (Case No. SC18-1606)
     ● Michael L Wolowitz of North Miami Beach, suspended for one year effective 30 days from a July 25 court order. (Admitted to practice: 2012) Wolowitz accepted fees from three clients but provided insignificant services and inadequately communicated with the clients. Additionally, he had insufficient fund payments from his trust account and did not respond to repeated inquiries from the Bar. (Case No. SC19-153)


Man dies in crash
By Jeff M. Hardison © Sept. 11, 2019 at 8:49 p.m.
     LEVY COUNTY --
An 81-year-old man from Old Town died at Haven Hospice, the FHP said, after suffering injuries in a crash on Sept. 3, and the passenger in the car he was driving suffered serious injuries.
     Willie Jones, 86, of Chiefland was driving a 2004 Ford F-150 pickup truck at  1:08 p.m. on Sept. 3, according to a Sept. 11 press release from Florida Highway Patrol Lt. P.V. Riordan, based on information from crash investigator  FHP Trooper Kyle Skelly and homicide investigator Cpl. Nathan Morgan.
     Richard Higham, 81, of Old Town was driving a 2005 Ford Taurus, the FHP said. Tammy Blumenberg, 30, of Silver City, North Carolina, was a passenger in the Taurus, the FHP said.
     The northbound Ford F-150 was in the northbound left turn only lane of U.S. Highway 19 approaching the intersection with Northwest 137th Lane, the FHP said.
     The Ford Taurus V-2 was traveling south in the right southbound lane of U.S. 19, the FHP said, as it was approaching the intersection with Northwest 137th Lane.
     At the intersection with Northwest 137th Lane, the pickup truck turned left in front of the oncoming sedan, the FHP said.
     The front of Ford Taurus collided into the right side of the Ford F-150, the FHP said.
     Both drivers were transported from the scene by EMS to facilities in Gainesville. Blumenberg suffered serious injuries as well, however the press release did not show she was transported.
     Higham was pronounced dead at Haven Hospice on Sept. 7, the FHP said.
     Blood-alcohol content test results from Jones are pending, according to the press release, which also did not show that charges were pending completion of the traffic homicide investigation.

 


Four die in crash
By Jeff M. Hardison © Aug. 31, 2019 at 6:09 p.m.
Published Sept. 10, 2019 at 1:19 p.m.
Story Held Until After Next-Of-Kin Notified
     ALACHUA COUNTY --
Four people died as the result of injuries suffered in a head-on collision in the very early morning hours Friday (Aug. 31), the FHP said.
     David Craig Ridenour, 34, of Williston was driving a Toyota Highlander SUV, according to an Aug. 31 (3:07 p.m.) press release from Florida Highway Patrol Lt. P.V. Riordan, based on information from crash investigator FHP Trooper Brett Pittman and homicide investigator FHP Cpl. Shaun Lattinville.
     Jerry J. Leffert Jr., 54, of Archer, was driving a 2011 Ford Expedition SUV, the FHP said. Passengers in that vehicle were Theresa M. Leffert, 54, James E. Sweet, 75, and Linda M. Sweet, 72, all of Archer, the FHP said.
     The Ford Expedition was northbound in the northbound lane of Southwest Williston Road (State Road 121), one-tenth of one mile south of U.S Highway 441 (13th Street), the FHP said.
     The Toyota was southbound in the Northbound lanes of Southwest Williston Road, the FHP said.
     The two SUVs struck each other in a head-on collision, the FHP said.
     After the collision, the Toyota erupted into fire prior to its driver getting out of the vehicle, the FHP said.
     Both vehicles came to final rest in the northbound lanes of Southwest Williston Road.
     Ridenour, Jerry Leffert Jr., James E. Weet ad Linda M. Sweet all died in the crash, the FHP said.
     Theresa M. Leffert suffered serious injuries and was taken to Shands Hospital, the FHP said.

 


Murder suspect arrested
Ocala murder suspect HardisonInk.com

 

 


Isaiah Wilshaun Maeweathers
Mug Shot By MCSO

 


By Cecelia Koon
MCSO Public Information Officer
Sept. 10, 2019 at 10:39 a.m.
     MARION COUNTY –
Yesterday (Monday, Sept. 9), Marion
County Sheriff’s Office (MCSO) Major Crimes detectives arrested Isaiah Wilshaun Maeweathers, 23, of Ocala for the 2018 murder of Melvin Bea Thompkins.
     On Dec. 29, 2018, MCSO detectives discovered a body with trauma to the skull and extensive burns. The death was ruled a homicide.
     Detectives located the victim’s vehicle being driven by Maeweathers.
     After DNA testing, blood‐stained clothes located in the trunk of the car were determined to be the victim’s clothing.
     Evidence processing techniques indicated the presence of blood in the trunk. Maeweathers also was found to be in possession of the victim’s cellphone.
     Maeweathers was placed under arrest and charged with one count of second-degree murder. He is being held in the Marion County Jail with no bond, awaiting trial.


Suspected wrong-way driver
gets cited after car hits
Sheriff's Office's patrol unit

By Jeff M. Hardison © Sept. 10, 2019 at
     DIXIE COUNTY --
A 55-year-old Chiefland woman was issued two citations late Monday night after the vehicle she was allegedly driving became suspected of crashing into a Dixie County Sheriff's Office patrol vehicle, the FHP said.
     Crash investigator Florida Highway Patrol Trooper Glen Ganus cited Susan D. Neal, 55, of Chiefland for failure to wear a seatbelt and driving on the wrong side of the highway, FHP Sgt. L. Ward noted in a press release Tuesday morning (Sept. 10).
     Neal allegedly was driving a 2014 Toyota Camry southbound in the northbound lane of U.S. Highway 19, south of Cross City (south of 571st Street, the FHP said, when it crashed at 11:10 p.m. on Sept 9, according to the FHP press release sent at 5:28 a.m. on Sept. 10.
     The press release showed that neither Andrew A. Martin, 23, of Gainesville, who was driving the DCSO’s 2016 Chevrolet Tahoe, nor Neal were injured. The FHP noted, too, that both vehicles sustained minor damage.
     Alcohol is not believed to have been a factor in the crash, the FHP press release showed.
     The inside lane of northbound U.S. 19 was shutdown for a short period of time, the FHP said.

 


Crash in Levy County
claims female's life;

Victim's ID still unknown
By Jeff M. Hardison © Aug. 1, 2019 at 7:09 p.m.
* Updated Sept. 10, 2019 at 8:39 a.m.
     LEVY COUNTY –
A female who is currently not identified died in a fiery crash in Levy County Wednesday evening (July 31), according to a press release from Florida Highway Patrol Sgt. Tomas Dillon.
     * As of 8:39 a.m. on Sept. 10, the FHP had still not identified the victim.
     FHP Trooper Chrystal Sollazzo was the crash investigator and the homicide investigator was 719-39-011, according to the press release.
     The female, who is unknown, was driving a 2007 Ford Edge at 5:48 p.m. on Northeast 25th Street near Northeast 212th Court, the FHP said.
     The Ford was westbound on Northeast 25th Street (a dirt road), the FHP said.
     The vehicle veered left across the roadway, the FHP said, and went onto the southern grass shoulder of Northeast 25th Street near Northeast 212th Court.
     The Ford then veered right, and traveled across the roadway and onto the northern shoulder before the front end of the vehicle hit a tree, the FHP said.
     After impacting the tree, the FHP said, the Ford rotated clockwise before coming to final rest facing north blocking all of Northeast 25th Street.
     The Ford caught fire upon impact with the tree with driver still inside, the FHP said. The driver was pronounced dead at the scene of the crash by personnel with the Levy County Department of Public Safety’s Fire-Rescue staff.
     The crash investigation and positive identification of the driver are ongoing, the FHP said.


Case remains active
for car versus high school;

Police chief justifies
redacted public records

Chiefland Florida HardisonInk.com
Photos and Graphic By CPD

By Jeff M. Hardison © Sept. 9, 2019 at 11:29 p.m.
     CHIEFLAND --
A 56-year-old woman allegedly crashed a 1997 Mercury Grand Marquis into Chiefland High School at 1:40 p.m. on Aug. 2, according to Chiefland Police Department records released Monday (Aug. 9).
     Since it was Labor Day, school was not in session. If school had been in session, there may have been other vehicles or people damaged, hurt or killed.
     CPD Chief Scott Anderson said on Aug. 9 that the case remains active, and that is why some parts of the Florida Traffic Crash Report (long form) released to the press include redactions.
     Elisabeth Marie Tripp, 56, of Inverness crashed the car into the school after being in the car behind the steering wheel as it smashed through the small brick wall that runs parallel with North Main Street (North Young Boulevard - U.S. Highway 19) in front of the school, according to records, which base this information on witnesses and physical evidence.
     Interestingly, this brought a Tri-County Area response from people who saw different aspects of the crash and aftermath, according to records.
     Witnesses from Chiefland (Levy County), Bell (Gilchrist County and Old Town (Dixie County) spoke with CPD Officer Dean Crislip as he investigated the crash, according to records.

Chiefland HardisonInk.com

     From witness accounts and physical evidence at the scene, CPD Officer Crislip determined that Tripp was westbound on Northeast Eighth Avenue (U.S. Alt. 27), approaching the traffic signal that leads into the parking lot of Chiefland High School, according to records.
     Rather than taking the slight turn to the left to reach the traffic light at the intersection of U.S. Alt. 27 and U.S. 19, the Mercury, which the officer noted was traveling at a high rate of speed, continued in a straight-line to the west.
     Crislip said the car jumped the curb and then crashed over a stop sign and a caution turn arrow near the cul-de-sac to the south of Ralph’s Burgers, according to records.
     After going over the traffic signs, Crislip noted in the traffic crash report, the Grand Marquis proceeded through an empty lot. It jumped the median barrier which divides the four lanes (two northbound and two southbound) of U.S. 19, Crislip said. Then, the vehicle continued west where it smashed through the small brick wall, coming to rest after it hit the exterior wall of the high school administration building, the CPD officer noted in his report.
     Tripp was not compliant with Levy County Department of Public Safety rescue workers, Officer Crislip said. Although she did not report any injuries, she was taken to North Florida Regional Medical Center to be checked out, Crislip said.
     Tripp has been cited for careless driving, according to records. Chief Anderson said the case remains active, though, and some parts are redacted to help reduce the ability of any person to tamper with the witnesses, or otherwise hinder the investigation. If the investigation shows reasonable cause to add another charge, or charges, then that may occur.
     Meanwhile, Chief Anderson said some sentences, and some data or some words will remain redacted until the case is no longer in an active investigation status, per the exclusions from public records that are allowed by law.
     In regard to exemptions from the disclosure of public records to the public and the press, Florida’s public records law notes that when a public record contains information that is exempt from disclosure, the records custodian must redact the exempt information and disclose the remainder of the public record.
     The Florida Constitution requires the Florida Legislature to enact exemptions by general law. Such laws must specify the public necessity justifying the exemption and be narrowly tailored to accomplish its goal. While Chapter 119 must be liberally construed in favor of open government, exemptions are to be strictly construed so they are limited to their stated purpose.
     The First Amendment Foundation maintains a website with an updated database of exemptions under Florida law, as well as more information about the foundation. It is at https://floridafaf.org/.
     PUBLISHER’S NOTE: In this case, the police chief appears to be acting reasonably as far as the redacted or censored material, according to the law and the information regarding this crash so far.

 


Scammers spoofing
FDLE phone numbers
in fraud schemes

By the FDLE Office of Public Information
Published Sept. 6, 2019 at 10:19 a.m.
     TALLAHASSEE --
The Florida Department of Law Enforcement has received reports of some of its phone numbers being spoofed by scammers.
     These reports span the state, from Pensacola to Palm Beach, with scammers purporting to be FDLE members in order to defraud citizens.
     Spoofing is when a caller makes it appear as though they are calling from a different number than they actually are. For example, a scammer calling from a different area code might spoof a local number to make their targets more likely to pick up.
     Scammers may also spoof publicly available numbers of law enforcement agencies or entities like the Internal Revenue Service to give credibility to their fraudulent threats.
     Scammers may call threatening some sort of legal action, such as arrest or freezing of the victims’ Social Security numbers or bank accounts. They then demand immediate payment, usually in gift cards, wire transfers or other difficult-to-trace methods, in order to make these legal problems go away.
     This is not how the American legal system works, and FDLE does not call people like this. Scammers attempt to prey on victims’ fear and confusion to steal and defraud, but one of the best counters to their schemes is an informed public.
     Anyone who receives a call from someone purporting to be with the FDLE, is encouraged to call the FDLE at 850-410-7000 to report it.


Suspected child rapist arrested

Levy County Florida HardisonInk.com

 

John E. Biles
Mug Shot By LCSO

 


By LCSO Lt. Scott Tummond
Published Aug. 5, 2019 at 11:09 a.m.
     BRONSON --
Child abuse in any form is one of the worst things a child should have to endure.
     This is true, especially when that abuse is at the hands of someone the child knows or respects. Children talk daily with adults and are sometimes just dismissed.
     In this case, a teacher listened and encouraged the child to say something to law enforcement officials. This is a case where a child was horribly sexually abused. It took every ounce of courage she could muster to end her own abuse.
     Detectives with the Levy County Sheriff's Office responded with investigators from the Florida Department of Children and Family Services after a call to the ABUSE hotline was received.
     Detectives spoke to a child who described multiple forms of sexual abuse allegedly perpetrated by John E. Biles, 35, of Morriston. Detectives listened to hours of testimony this child gave. Investigators developed probable cause to arrest Biles.
     Biles was been booked on Aug. 29 (Saturday) into the Levy County Jail on three counts of capital sexual battery and one count of lewd and lascivious battery on a child. His bond was set at $2.5 million.
     This did not end the investigation.
     Based on the testimony of this child, detectives lawfully seized Biles’ cell phone that the child said Biles used to record her abuse. Detectives discovered images from this abuse on Biles' phone. Other electronic items are being examined and additional charges will be filed when this investigation is completed.
     “This is another horrible crime of abuse committed against an innocent, vulnerable child victim," Levy County Sheriff Bobby McCallum said. "Our prayers are certainly with this child and I am so thankful for her bravery in speaking out and reporting this to her teacher, someone she truly trusted. 
     This case is another example of the system of investigators and agencies working together to stop the abuse for this victim, the sheriff said.
     "I especially applaud and commend the teacher for having a relationship of trust with this child that initiated this investigation," Sheriff McCallum said. "From the teacher to the DCF investigator to the Child Protection Team at UF and my detectives, I offer my commendations for a job well done, and for the arrest bringing this perpetrator to justice and ending this cycle of abuse on this child.”

 


Marion County -
Hurricane Dorian Update;
Schools reopen tomorrow

By MCSO Sgt. Paul Bloom
Public Information Director
Published Sept. 4, 2019 at 9:49 a.m.
     MARION COUNTY --
Marion County Emergency Management officials are continuing to monitor the effects of Hurricane Dorian. The easternmost portions of Marion County in the Ocala National Forest area are expected to be the most affected by the storm.
     According to the National Weather Service, residents in those areas have the potential to see tropical storm-force wind gusts.
School information
     Marion County Public Schools as well as the College of Central Florida will remain closed today (Wednesday), Sept. 4. Marion County public schools will be reopened Thursday and Friday (Sept. 5 and 6).
     At this time, all shelters and sandbag locations have been closed.
     Citizens can contact the Citizen Information Line at (352)-369-7500 with any questions regarding Hurricane Dorian. This line will be closing today (Wednesday, Sept. 4) at noon (12 p.m.).

 


Two charged
after gasoline payment dispute

Dixie County Florida HardisonInk.com
John Corey Taylor and Meegan Robson

Mug Shots By DCSO

By Jeff M. Hardison © Sept. 3, 2019 at 1:09 p.m.
     CROSS CITY --
A dispute over payment for gasoline on Wednesday evening (Aug. 28) resulted in the arrest of a man and woman on various charges, according to a Sept. 3 press release from Dixie County Sheriff's Office Maj. Scott Harden.
     Dixie County deputies were dispatched to a business in Old Town, Maj. Harden said, where there was a dispute about the payment over gasoline.
     During the course of taking the complaint, the parties involved consented to the search of the vehicle, Harden said. During the course of the search, Harden said, deputies found methamphetamine, syringes and a firearm.
     Two of the parties involved in the dispute were arrested and charged in connection with the incident, Harden said. 
     John Corey Taylor, 37, of Lacey Springs, Alabama, was arrested and charged with possession of methamphetamine, possession of drug equipment, possession of a firearm by a convicted felon and petit theft (gasoline).
     Meegan Robson, 47, of Old Town, was arrested and charged with possession of methamphetamine.

 


Suspected firearms thief arrested

Dixie County HardisonInk.com

 

 

 

Shawn F. Hensley
Mug Shot By DCSO

 


By Jeff M. Hardison
© Aug. 27, 2019 at 10:09 p.m.
     CROSS CITY --
A man who is suspected of having sold a stolen firearm to a pawn shop was arrested on Aug. 21, according to information in an Aug. 26 press release from Dixie County Sheriff's Office Maj. Scott Harden.
     Shawn F. Hensley, 40 of Old Town, was arrested last Wednesday (Aug. 21), Maj. Harden said, as a result on an investigation into the theft of two firearms.
     Hensley and an acquaintance stayed with the 65-year-old victim briefly, Harden said reports showed, and during that time, the victim had two firearms stolen.
     DCSO investigators and deputies located one of the stolen firearms in a pawn shop, Harden said, and the found a witness who said that Hensley attempted to sell them one of the firearms.
     Hensley was identified as the individual who pawned the firearm and records of the transaction were retrieved, Harden said.
     Hensley was arrested and booked into the Dixie County Jail on the charges of grand theft, dealing in stolen property and tampering with physical evidence.


Woman suspected
of meth possession

Dixie County HardisonInk.com

 

 

Angela Cunningham
Mug Shot By DCSO


By Jeff M. Hardison
© Aug. 27, 2019 at 10:09 p.m.
     CROSS CITY --
A 60-year-old woman from the Horseshoe area of Dixie County joined the ranks of people arrested as a suspected possessor of methamphetamine, according to an Aug. 26 press release from Dixie County Sheriff's Office Maj. Scott Harden.
     On Tuesday, Aug. 20, a DCSO deputy was in the area of Northeast 210th Avenue in Cross City, Maj. Harden said, when he saw a vehicle being driven east on Northeast 210th Avenue with only one headlight.
     After conducting a traffic stop on the vehicle, Harden said, the deputy identified the driver as Angela Cunningham, 60, of Horseshoe.
     During the course of the stop, Harden said, a search of the vehicle was conducted and three plastic sandwich bags of methamphetamine were discovered. The deputy also found a straw that tested positive for methamphetamine, Harden said. 
     Cunningham was arrested and charged with possession of methamphetamine and possession of drug paraphernalia.


 


 

AdDCSOLogo2016
Following are some common abbreviations:

DUI - Driving While Under the Influence of Alcohol or Some Other Drug
DWLSR - Driving While License Suspended or Revoked
RWOV - Resisting Arrest Without Violence
Poss. - Possession
VOP - Violation of Probation
FTA - Failure to Appear
ROR - Released on their Own Recognizance


Suspects Arrested
Sept. 9 Through Sept. 15 

Updated Sept. 16, 2019 at 9:09 p.m.

 

Dixie County Arrests HardisonInk.com

 




AdGCSOLogo2016

Following are some common abbreviations:

DUI - Driving While Under the Influence of Alcohol or Some Other Drug
DWLSR - Driving While License Suspended or Revoked
RWOV - Resisting Arrest Without Violence
Poss. - Possession
VOP - Violation of Probation
FTA - Failure to Appear
ROR -  Release on their Own Recognizance


Suspects Arrested
Sept. 9 Through Sept. 15 

Updated Sept. 16, 2019 at 9:09 p.m.

 

Gilchrist County Arrests HardisonInk.com

 




AdLCSOLogo2016

Following are some common abbreviations:

DUI - Driving While Under the Influence of Alcohol or Some Other Drug
BUI - Boating While Under the Influence of Alcohol or Some Other Drug
DWLSR - Driving While License Suspended or Revoked
RWOV - Resisting Arrest Without Violence
Poss. - Possession
VOP - Violation of Probation
FTA - Failure to Appear
ROR - Released On their Own Recognizance


Suspects Arrested
Sept. 9 Through Sept. 15 

Updated Sept. 16, 2019 at 9:09 p.m.


Levy County suspects HardisonInk.com

--UPDATED--
WEDNESDAY  SEPT. 18  12:09 p.m.
Levy, Dixie and Gilchrist counties



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Here, Goldy the cat Hardison
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By Jeff M. Hardison
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The people shown above are the most wanted currently by the Levy County Sheriff's Office.
Published Sept. 16, 2019 at 9
:09 p.m.

 


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