Man arrested for shooting
during road rage incident

Marion County Road Rage Shooter Suspect  Arrested HardisonInk.com

 

 

Christino Aquino
Mug Shot By MCSO

 


By Lauren Lettelier
MCSO Public Information Officer
Published Jan. 17, 2019 at 10:08 p.m.
     MARION COUNTY --
Marion County Sheriff’s Office (MCSO) Deputy Christian Guerra arrested 85-year old Christino Aquino after Aquino followed a motorist home and shot at him in Marion Oaks Wednesday evening (Jan. 16) as a result of an apparent road rage incident.
     The victim happened to have a dash camera in his vehicle, which captured the entire incident on camera.
     On Wednesday, at approximately 6:30 p.m., a man who lives in Marion Oaks was driving home from work when he noticed a suspicious vehicle that kept flashing its high-beam headlights in his rear-view mirror.
     The vehicle, a white Mazda 4-door SUV, was being driven by Aquino and had a female passenger.

 

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     Aquino followed the victim back to his neighborhood and the victim called 9-1-1 because he was afraid to go home. The victim was able to get behind Aquino’s vehicle so he could begin giving the suspect’s tag number to dispatchers when Aquino started shooting at the victim.
     The victim was unharmed. His car was struck by several bullets. The victim fled the scene. Deputy Guerra made contact with him shortly after and obtained a copy of his dash camera video depicting the entire incident as the victim described.
     Deputy Guerra and Deputy Tim Marton then responded to Aquino’s home and took Aquino into custody.
     Deputies noticed that Aqunio matched the suspect’s description and was in possession of the suspect’s vehicle. Aquino declined to make a statement about the incident, but the female passenger told deputies that Aquino followed the victim’s vehicle to “see what he wanted.” She also stated that she saw Aquino holding the gun but did not know if he fired it or not.
     The victim told deputies that he did not know Aquino and did not know why he would follow him home and shoot at him.
     Aquino has been charged with one count of Aggravated Assault with a Deadly Weapon and is currently being held in the Marion County Jail on $2,000 bond.
     Any motorist who is involved in road rage incident, should call 9-1-1 immediately and drive to a safe area.


Joint investigation leads to
child pornography arrest

Porn suspect Levy County Inglis Sloan HardisonInk.com

 

Davin Slone
Mug Shot By LCSO

 


By LCSO Lt. Scott Tummond
Published Jan. 17, 2019 at 3:08 p.m.
     BRONSON --
A Levy County Sheriff's Office and Marion County Sheriff’s Office joint investigation conducted yesterday (Wednesday on Jan. 16) resulted in the arrest of Davin Slone, 25, of Inglis.
     A tip was received by the Marion County Sheriff’s Office Internet Crimes Against Children (ICAC) Division, which launched the investigation. The tip revealed a previously unidentified individual was using Internet sites to search and share images of children engaged in various sexual activities. The investigation determined the “user” did reside in the Town of Inglis in Levy County.
     Investigators from both agencies worked together to secure a search warrant for the home located at 77 Park St. in Inglis. Slone was located at this home and identified as the user of the Internet service.
      Investigators seized electronic devices owned by Slone and discovered he downloaded and shared a minimum of three images depicting children under the age of 18 engaged in sexual activities.
     Slone was arrested and charged with three counts of possession of obscene pornographic material (child pornography). He is being held in the Levy County Jail in lieu of a $450,000 bond.


Two teen vandals found
By DCSO Maj. Scott Harden
Published Jan. 17, 2019 at 2:48 p.m.
     DIXIE COUNTY --
As a result of the Dixie County Sheriff’s Office’s investigation into the damages caused near the New Year’s holidays, investigators have filed with the State Attorney's Office on a 16-year-old male juvenile and arrested a 17-year-old male juvenile.
     During the course of the investigation investigators identified the 16-year-old as a suspect. After interviewing him, the investigator was contacted the next day by the juvenile’s parent and asked if he would be willing to speak with them again.
     After meeting with the juvenile and his parents, the investigator was able to obtain the information needed to file with the State Attorney's Office, charging the 16-year-old with felony criminal mischief to Rock Sink Baptist Church, felony criminal mischief to farming equipment in the area and 12 counts of misdemeanor criminal mischief to residential mailboxes in the area.
     The 17-year-old boy also was identified and interviewed during the course of the investigation.
     During the interview, the investigator noticed an injury to the 17-year-old that could be consistent with blood found on one of the scenes.
     During further attempts to interview the 17-year-old, the investigator learned that the family had contacted an attorney. At this point, the investigator obtained a search warrant for the person of the 17-year-old to obtain DNA and fingerprints.
     Yesterday (Wednesday, Jan. 16), the investigator executed the search warrant and arrested the 17-year-old charging him with felony criminal mischief to Rock Sink Baptist Church, felony criminal mischief to farming equipment in the area and 12 counts of misdemeanor criminal mischief to residential mailboxes.
     After being booked on these charges, the 17-year-old was released to his parents according to the Florida Department of Juvenile Justice guidelines.


Man dies after
being hit by FHP cruiser

By Jeff M. Hardison © Jan. 16, 2019 at 7:48 p.m.
This Story Was Held Until Aftr Next Of Kin Were Notified
     MARION COUNTY
– A 73-year-old Belleview man died very early Wednesday morning (Jan. 16) after being hit by a Florida Highway Patrol cruiser, the FHP said.
     FHP Trooper Raul Umana, 25, of Ocala was driving a 2016 Dodge Charger FHP cruiser at 12:15 a.m. on Jan. 16 in Marion County when he was on duty, according to information in a press release by crash investigator FHP Sgt. Anthony Palese, with information provided by homicide investigator FHP Cpl. S. Crawford added.
     Walter P. Strauch, 73, of Belleview was the pedestrian, the FHP said.
     The cruiser was southbound on U.S. Highway 441, near Southeast 74th Terrace in the left travel lane, the FHP said
     Strauch was walking northbound in the southbound lane of U.S. Highway 441, the FHP said, when he vehicle struck the
pedestrian.
     The pedestrian was pronounced deceased on scene by Marion County Fire Rescue, the FHP said.
     This is an ongoing traffic homicide investigation, the FHP said.

 


Police chief approved
for purchase of new equipment

By Jeff M. Hardison © Jan. 16, 2019 at 7:38 p.m.
     CHIEFLAND –
Chiefland Police Chief Scott Anderson on Monday night (Jan. 14) received a 4-0 Chiefland City Commission vote of approval to purchase $15,000 worth of new equipment.
     Vice Mayor Chris Jones made the motion to approve the purchase, and it was seconded by City Commissioner Donald Lawrence. Mayor Betty Walker and City Commissioner Tim West voted in favor of the motion as did Jones and Lawrence.
     City Commissioner Rollin Hudson was absent.
     This money is for equipment to be used in special investigations. The $15,000 comes from the Law Enforcement Trust Fund.
     During the meeting, Chief Anderson spoke about a recent windfall that helped that trust fund.
     City Manager Mary Ellzey told the City Commission, before it agreed to this expense, that the fund had $60,697.38. Chief Anderson said $51,811 of that was deposited last week as a result of the raids by the CPD on eight Internet cafés in the city.
     The machines that were seized in the raids will be returned if they were leased, and the ones that were not leased will be sold at auction, Anderson said. Between now and the auction, there is a $1,000 storage fee because this seizure took a lot of space to store, Anderson said
     Gambling at machines in Internet cafés is legal in Georgia, according to what was said during the meeting.
     Chief Anderson provided the City Commission with a report to show activity by the CPD during the month of December. Through the efforts of CPD Sgt. D.J. Macy, Sgt. J. Yanok, Cpl. B. Murphy, Cpl. T. Brown and officers M. Watkins, W. Barnes, K. Schultz, D. Cothron and the reservist, there were more than 1,400 building checks in December.
     Additionally, these officers answered 257 calls in December, according to the information from Chief Anderson.
     There were 26 arrests that month. The CPD assisted other agencies 21 times in December. There were 49 warnings and 21 citations issued as well, the chief reported. Also, within that one month, the CPD investigated 25 traffic crashes, according to records.
     There were 10 trespass warning issued as well, according to records.

IN OTHER ACTION
     During the time when there were comments from the public, Jeff M. Hardison told the City Commission that he wanted to note his appreciation for Chiefland Police Officer Kyle Schultz and K-9 Blitz for their assistance after he broke his arm and shattered bones in his wrist on Dec. 8 during the Christmas Parade.
     The journalist was running backwards in the dark and tripped on a reflector in the middle of U.S. Highway 19, falling quickly to the ground with all of his weight going to one point on his left arm at the wrist.
     Officer Schultz allowed Hardison to wait for an ambulance in the CPD cruiser. The ambulance took the patient to North Florida Regional Medical Center, where emergency surgery resulted in a plate, four screws and some number of pins being added to hold bones together.
     Hardison spent two days in the hospital. During the moments immediately after he fell, Hardison felt some degree of comfort waiting for the ambulance thanks to the CPD Officer Schultz and his CPD K-9 Blitz.
     In other action at the Chiefland City Commission meeting, the vote was 4-0 to approve:
     * Moving forward with an application to the Florida Department of Transportation for Small County Outreach Program appropriations to improve Northwest 12th Drive; Southwest Second Street from State Road 320 to State Road 345; and Northwest 17th Avenue from U.S. Highway 19 to Levy County Road 341.
     * Accepting a subgrant agreement with the Federal Emergency Management Agency for reimbursement of $6,574.42 for overtime that resulted from Hurricane Irma in 2017.
     * Renew for 10 years the facility use agreement with the Chiefland Area Athletic Association.


Man dies
after being hit by pickup truck

By Jeff M. Hardison © 10:28 p.m.
Story Held Until After Next Of Kin Notified
     DIXIE COUNTY --
A 61-year-old man from Old Town died Sunday night (Jan. 13) after being hit by a pickup truck, the FHP said.
     Calleen Thorpe, 51, of Old Town was driving a 2018 Chevrolet Colorado at 9:03 p.m. on Jan. 13. in Dixie County, according to a press release by Florida Highway Patrol Sgt. Lena Ward, based on information from crash investigator FHP Trooper Earl Mash and homicide investigator FHP Cpl. Steven Downing.
     David Thorpe, 9, of Old Town was a passenger in the pickup truck, the FHP said.
     Richard Vinson Gandy, 61, of Old Town was walking on the eastern shoulder of State Road 349, when for reasons unclear at the time, he walked into the path of the northbound truck, the FHP said.
     Gandy was pronounced dead at the scene of the crash, the FHP said. Both occupants of the truck were wearing seatbelts and neither one of them was injured, the FHP said. Blood-alcohol test results are pending on the pedestrian and on the pickup truck driver, the FHP said.
     Charges are pending completion of the traffic homicide investigation, the FHP said.


Teen dies in motorcycle crash

Fatal Crash In Citrus County HardisonInk.com

Fatal Crash In Citrus County HardisonInk.com
Photos Provided by Florida Highway Patrol


By Jeff M. Hardison © Jan. 12, 2019 at 5:08 p.m.
     CITRUS COUNTY –
A 19-year-old man from the unincorporated area of Citrus County known as Hernando died in the very early morning on Saturday (Jan. 12), the FHP said.
     Kenneth Ray Rumley, 45, of Inverness was driving a 1993 Mercury Marquis at 12:13 a.m. on Jan. 12, according to information from Florida Highway Patrol Sgt. Steve Gaskins, based on information from crash investigator FHP Trooper D. Alexander and homicide investigator FHP Cpl. D. Asbell.
     Christopher Rumley, 41, of Inverness was a passenger in the Mercury, the FHP said.
     Tanner James McFall, 19, of Hernando was driving a 2008 Suzuki GSX-R 750, the FHP said.
     The Mercury was westbound in the continuous left turn lane of East Gulf To Lake Highway, approaching South Lois Terrace, the FHP said.
     The Suzuki was eastbound in the outside lane of East Gulf To
Lake Highway approaching South Lois Terrace, the FHP said.
     The car attempted a left turn at South Lois Terrace, the FHP said, and it entered the path of the motorcycle.
     As a result, the front of the motorcycle collided with the right rear side of the car, the FHP said.
     Post-impact, both vehicles rotated to final rest within the roadway which was closed until 3:40 a.m. Saturday (Jan. 12), the FHP said.
     McFall suffered fatal injuries at the scene of the crash, the FHP said. He was wearing a helmet, the FHP said.
     Christopher Rumley suffered serious injuries and was taken to Ocala Regional Medical Center, the FHP said. Kenneth Ray Rumley was not injured, the FHP said. Both occupants of the Marquis were wearing seatbelts, the FHP said.
     No person involved in this crash is believed to have alcohol as being a factor, the FHP said.
     Charges are pending completion of the traffic homicide investigation.

 


Two women arrested
for drug possession


 Melanie Smith (left) and Kendall Arrington
Mug Shots By DCSO

By DCSO Maj. Scott Harden
Published Jan. 11, 2019 at 9:08 p.m.
     DIXIE COUNTY --
On the night of Jan. 9, a DCSO deputy conducted a traffic stop on U.S. Highway 19 for the driver's failure to stop at a stop sign before entering U.S. 19.
     Upon making contact with the driver and passenger, the deputy identified that driver as Kendall Arrington, 21, of Trenton and the passenger as Melanie Smith, 44, of Cross City.
     A subsequent search during the traffic stop led deputy to locate a smoking pipe, syringes and methamphetamine.
     As a result of these findings, the deputy arrested Smith for possession of methamphetamine, possession of less than 20 grams of marijuana and possession of drug equipment.
     Arrington was arrested and charged with possession of methamphetamine and possession of drug equipment.
     Smith is being held in the Dixie County Jail under a bond of $19,000 while Arrington is currently being held under an $18,000 bond.


Dispute leads to drug arrests
Garrett Dyals DCSO HardisonInk.com

Garrett Dyals
(Top Photo)


Tiffany Costenbade
(Bottom Photo)


Mug Shots By DCSO


 

By DCSO Maj. Scott Harden
Published Jan. 11, 2019 at 8:48 p.m.
     DIXIE COUNTY --
On the night of Jan. 9, a DCSO deputy was dispatched to a gas station in Old Town in regard to disturbance.
     When he arrived, two of the individuals had left the scene.
     After obtaining statements from those still on scene, the deputy then traveled to a residence to make contact with the other two.
     When he arrived at the residence, he found the female, Tiffany Costenbader, standing outside of the vehicle and the male subject, Garrett Dyals, still seated in the car.
     As he approached the car, the deputy saw a clear bag next to Dyals that appeared to contain methamphetamine.
    The deputy secured both Dyals and Costenbader and when he went to his patrol car with Costenbader, a syringe fell from the hoodie of her sweat shirt. The substance in the syringe later tested positive for methamphetamine.
     Garrett Dyals, 30, of Old Town, was arrested for possession of methamphetamine and Tiffany Costenbader, 37, of Old Town, was arrested for possession of methamphetamine, possession of drug equipment and battery (domestic related) for the incident that originally occurred at the gas station.
     Both Dyals and Costenbader remain in custody under a $15,000 bond and $21,000 bond respectively. 

 


Suspected of criminal mischief,
man gives false name


David Patrick Burns DCSO HardisonInk.com

 

David Patrick Burns
Mug Shot By DCSO


 

By DCSO Maj. Scott Harden
Published Jan. 11, 2019 at 8:28 p.m.
     CROSS CITY --
On the Tuesday night (Jan. 8), a deputy with the Dixie County Sheriff's Office was riding by the Dixie County Courthouse, when he saw a male subject digging up the flowers in the flower bed outside the courthouse.
     Upon the deputy making contact with the man, the man gave the deputy a name that the deputy could not confirm.
     After several attempts to identify the male subject, the deputy secured him in the back seat of his patrol car and was eventually able to learn that the subject’s name was David Patrick Burns.
     Burns, 59 of Old Town, was arrested and charged with criminal mischief, resisting an officer without violence and providing a false name to law enforcement. Burns has posted bond of $2,500, and is awaiting his next court appearance.
     Burns was released from prison in July of 2018.


Suspected drug law violator
lists many addresses


 

Dalton Hardin
Mug Shot By DCSO

 


By DCSO Maj. Scott Harden
Published Jan. 11, 2019 at 8:08 p.m.
     DIXIE COUNTY --
On the Monday afternoon (Jan. 7), a deputy with the Dixie County Sheriff's Office stopped a four-wheeler on Northeast 389th Avenue in Old Town.
     As the deputy was approaching the four-wheeler and driver, the driver sped away on the four-wheeler.
     The deputy returned to his patrol car and began to pursue the four-wheeler. The driver turned several times before driving off into the woods on Northeast 389th Avenue.
     The deputy exited his patrol car and chased the four-wheeler on foot, during which time the driver of the four-wheeler crashed into some discarded tires that had been dumped in the woods.
     After crashing the four-wheeler, the driver attempted to flee on foot.
    The deputy deployed his taser and tased the fleeing driver. The man was identified as Dalton Hardin, 19. Hardin shows multiple addresses of Ocala, Chiefland and Old Town.
     A search of Hardin revealed methamphetamine, a syringe and other drug equipment.
     Hardin was arrested and charged with fleeing and eluding, possession methamphetamine and possession of listed chemicals.


Suspected drug law violator
also arrested for giving
false name to law enforcement


Beverlee Stanley DCSO HardisonInk.com

 

Beverlee Stanley
Mug Shot By DCSO


 


By Jeff M. Hardison
© Jan. 11, 2019 at 7:48 p.m.
     CROSS CITY --
A woman suspected as being a person who possessed methamphetamine and drug equipment had another charge added at the Dixie County Jail, according to information provided by Dixie County Sheriff's Office Maj. Scott Harden.
     Shortly before 11 p.m. on Sunday night (Jan. 6), Harden noted in the press release, a DCSO deputy saw a dark-colored pickup truck traveling on Northeast 349th Highway.
     The deputy noticed that the driver was having difficulty maintaining a single lane of travel.
     The deputy positioned himself behind the truck, Harden said, when the law enforcement officer observed the vehicle veer to the right of the white line several times before turning onto Northeast 272nd Avenue.
      While the male driver was completing that turn, Harden said, he failed to keep the truck in the roadway and ran onto the shoulder of the road briefly before the deputy initiated a traffic stop to investigate.
     Upon making contact with the male driver, the driver told the deputy he had his puppy in his lap and was dealing with him, Harden said.
     The deputy observed the small dog and a female passenger, Harden said.
     The female provided a name for the deputy, Harden said, and upon running the name, dispatch told the deputy that there could be a warrant -- but positive identification would be needed.
     The female denied having any identification, Harden said, and when the deputy attempted to locate something that would identify the female, the deputy found a smoking pipe in her purse that tested positive for methamphetamine.
     The female who identified herself by Paula was transported to the Dixie County Jail and charged with possession of methamphetamine and possession of drug equipment, Harden said.
     After being delivered to the jail, Harden said, the deputy learned that the female had used her sister’s name and that her real name was Beverlee Stanley, 51 of Old Town.
     Stanley was then charged with providing a false name to law enforcement.

 


Man dies in crash
By Jeff M. Hardison © Jan. 11, 2019 at 9:18 a.m.
(Story Held Until After Next Of Kin Notified)
     CITRUS COUNTY --
An 89-year-old Homosassa man died Thursday morning (Jan. 10) in a crash in Citrus County, the FHP said.
     Peter J. Lee, 89, of Homosassa was driving a 2017 Honda CR-V (SUV) at 7:51 a.m. on Jan. 10 in Citrus County, according to a press release by Florida Highway Patrol Sgt. Steve Gaskins, based on information from crash investigator FHP Trooper T. Cloud and homicide investigator FHP Cpl. K. Hamilton.
     Dairon Abreu, 31, of Orlando was driving a 2004 Freightliner semi-tractor trailer, the FHP said.
     The SUV was northbound on Green Park Boulevard, approaching the stop sign at U.S. Highway 98 (Ponce DeLeon Boulevard), the FHP said.
     The Freightliner was westbound on U.S. 98, the FHP said.
     The Honda failed to yield from a stop sign, the FHP said, and it went northbound across the westbound lanes of U.S. 98, where it entered the path of the semi.
     As a result, the FHP said, the front of the semi hit the right side of the SUV.
     Lee suffered fatal injuries at the scene of the crash, the FHP said. Abreu was not injured, the FHP said. Both drivers involved in the crash were wearing seatbelts, the FHP said, and alcohol was not a factor for either driver.
     No charges resulted from the crash, the FHP said.


Coast Guard rescues three
from a capsized boat
four miles west of Crystal River

USCG Yankeetown HardisonInk.com
In this stock photo, crew members from Coast Guard Station Yankeetown conduct checks on response boats on Oct. 10, 2018, in Yankeetown.

U.S. Coast Guard photo by Petty Officer 1st Class Jason Andrade

By the United States Coast Guard
7th District PA Detachment
Tampa Bay
Published Jan. 10, 2019 at 11:08 p.m.
     CRYSTAL RIVER --
The United States Coast Guard rescued three boaters Thursday (Jan. 10) who capsized four miles west of Crystal River.
     While searching for a 71-year-old missing boater, a Coast Guard boatcrew aboard a 27-foot Utility Boat-Medium (UT-M) from Coast Guard Station Yankeetown observed a flare Thursday at 3:32 a.m. near Crystal River.
     Watchstanders at Coast Guard Sector St. Petersburg command center were notified at 3:15 a.m. by 7th Coast Guard District watchstanders of an Emergency Position-Indicating Radio Beacon activation in the same area and relayed the distress to the UT-M boatcrew.
     The UT-M boatcrew diverted to the source of emergency alerts to find three boaters taking on water aboard a 30-foot boat. The boat capsized and all three were recovered by UT-M crew.
     "Equipment such as flares, life jackets and an electronic position indicating radio beacons are crucial in capsized vessel situations, and as you can see - played a huge factor in saving these three today,” said Senior Chief Allen Bozeman, officer in charge of Station Yankeetown.
     The UT-M crew transferred the boaters to a nearby Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission boatcrew who took the three to awaiting EMS in Crystal River.
     No injuries were reported.


Coast Guard, agency partners
search for 71-year-old man
30 miles S.W. of Crystal River

USCG Hercules Plane HardisonInk.com
In this stock photo an HC-130 Hercules aircraft at Air Station Clearwater is seen in July of 2013. This is the type of plane that is among the search vehicles used in this mission.

Photo by Petty Officer 2nd Class Michael De Nyse
United States Coast Guard District 7   


By the United States Coast Guard
7th District PA Detachment
Tampa Bay
Published Jan. 10, 2019 at 10:48 p.m.
     CRYSTAL RIVER --
The United States Coast Guard continued to search Thursday (Jan. 10) for a 71-year-old man 30 miles southwest Crystal River.
     Missing is Ernest Bishop from Crystal River.
     Watchstanders at Coast Guard Sector St. Petersburg command center received a 9-1-1 relay at 10:20 p.m. Wednesday from Bishop’s wife stating he was overdue. She stated he departed Wednesday at 10 a.m from the Fort Island Trail Park aboard his 23-foot fishing boat. He was to return before sunset and was wearing a tee shirt and khaki shorts.
     Watchstanders issued an Urgent Marine Information Broadcast, launched a 27-foot Utility Boat-Medium (UT-M) boatcrew from Coast Guard Station Yankeetown, a 45-foot Response Boat-Medium (RB-M) boatcrew from Station Sand Key and an HC-130 Hercules airplane crew from Air Station Clearwater.
     The Hercules aircrew spotted Bishop’s boat 15 miles south of Crystal River Thursday about 1 a.m. and the RB-M boatcrew confirmed it was unmanned and adrift.
     Search crews are saturating a 1,250 square mile area west of Crystal River in search of Bishop. Partner agency personnel from the Citrus County Sheriff’s Office and the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission are assisting with the search.
     The Coast Guard urges all boaters to file a float plan with someone on land before venturing out on the water. Please download the Coast Guard Boating Safety APP for many safety tips and tools.


Seven of eight zones remain
active No Wake, Idle Speed

FWC Idle Soeed HardisonInk.com
Rock Bluff boat ramp on Dec. 21. FWC photo by Karen Parker.

Story and Photo
By Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission
Regional Public Information Coordinator Karen Parker
Published Jan. 7, 2019 at 4:38 p.m.
     LAKE CITY --
Seven of eight of the idle-speed, no-wake zones are now active, with four on the Suwannee River and three on the Santa Fe, according to Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission (FWC) officials.
     The only zone deactivated is Zone 5. This zone runs from the Santa Fe River at the River Rise in O’Leno State Park downstream to the center line of the U.S. 27 Bridge when the river is 34.2 feet or higher on the High Springs gauge. That gauge is reading 32.97 feet today.
     On the Suwannee, the activated zones are:                   
     Zone 1 was activated Dec. 10 on the Suwannee and runs from the U.S. 90 Bridge at Ellaville south to the State Road 51 Bridge at Luraville. This 39-mile segment becomes an idle-speed, no-wake zone when the Suwannee River reaches 46.25 feet or more above mean sea level at the Ellaville gauge. Today, the gauge was at 49.40 feet.
     Zone 2 runs from the State Road 51 Bridge at Luraville to Little River Spring. This 18-mile segment becomes an idle-speed, no-wake zone when the Suwannee River reaches 25.25 feet or more at the Branford gauge. Today, the gauge is at 27.04 feet.
     Zone 3 runs from Little River Spring to the County Road 340 Bridge at Rock Bluff. This 23-mile segment becomes an idle-speed, no-wake zone when the Suwannee River reaches 23.25 feet at the Branford gauge. Today the gauge is at 27.04 feet.
     Zone 4 runs From the centerline of the County Road 340 Bridge at Rock Bluff to approximately 300 feet southwest of the New Clay Landing Boat Ramp, from approximately 6,000 feet north of the Camp Azalea Boat Ramp to approximately 1,300 feet south of the Yellow Jacket Landing, and from approximately 2,000 feet northeast of the Fowler’s Bluff Boat Ramp to approximately 1 mile southwest of the Fowler’s Bluff Boat Ramp when the river level is 8.35 feet or higher on the Wilcox gauge. Today, the gauge was at 11.05 feet.
The active zones on the Santa Fe are:
     Zone 6 starts at the centerline of the U.S. 27 Bridge downstream to .5 mile upstream from the State Road 47 Bridge when the river is 23.25 feet or higher on the Fort White gauge. Today, that gauge was at 24.21.
     Zone 7 on the Santa Fe runs from .5 mile upstream from the State Road 47 Bridge, downstream to an unnamed island at 29° 54.527’ N, 82° 46.074’ W. It becomes an idle-speed, no-wake zone when the Three Rivers gauge reaches 18.75 feet. This zone was activated Dec. 13. Today, the gauge was at 22.68 feet.
     Zone 8 was activated Dec. 10. This zone begins at an unnamed island approximately 4.25 miles upstream from the confluence of the Santa Fe and Ichetucknee rivers (coordinates: 29° 54.527’ N, 82° 46.074’ W) and ends at the confluence of the Suwannee and Santa Fe rivers. This includes the Ichetucknee River upstream to the U.S. 27 Bridge. This zone activates when the Three Rivers gauge reaches 16.25 feet. Today, the water level was at 22.68 feet.
An idle-speed, no-wake zone means a vessel must proceed at a speed no greater than what is required to maintain steerageway and headway. At no time is any vessel required to proceed so slowly that the operator is unable to control it or anything it may be towing.
     The zones will remain activated until the water level recedes below their activation points.
      “The higher water levels can create navigational hazards, such as floating debris, rocks, stumps and shoaling conditions for unsuspecting boaters. We want everyone to be safe,” said Capt. Clay Huff, area supervisor.
     For more information about the flood zones, call 386-758-0525. To report violations, call 888-404-3922.
     To obtain real-time river level information, visit http://www.mysuwanneeriver.com/.

 


FHP investigation continues;
Five vehicles, 7 dead, and 8 injured
By Jeff M. Hardison © Jan. 4, 2018 at 7:18 p.m.
     ALACHUA COUNTY –
An accident Thursday afternoon (Jan. 3) that involved five vehicles, where seven people died and eight others were injured remains under investigation as of a 5:07 p.m. Jan. 4 press release from Florida Highway Patrol Lt. P.V. Riordan.
    FHP Lt. Riordan based his press release on information from crash and homicide investigator FHP Col. Gabriel Keyes.
     Steve Holland, 59, of West Palm Beach was driving a 2018 semi-truck that was hauling a box van at 3:40 p.m. on Jan. 3, the FHP said.
     Holland’s vehicle was northbound on I-75, in the right lane, the FHP said. There were no passengers in that vehicle, the FHP said.
     Robin Rattray, 41, of Gainesville was driving a 2007 Honda five-door northbound on I-75, the FHP said, in the center or left lane. There were no passengers in that vehicle, the FHP said.
     Amy Joffrion, 45, of Mansura, La., was driving a 2006 Chevy van southbound on I-75, in the center lane, the FHP said. There were 11 passengers in that church van that was on its way to Disney World from Louisiana.
     The passengers were Ali LaBorde, 30, Chelsea LaBorde, 11, Karen Descant, 50, Cara Descant, 13, Brieana Descant, 10, Joel Cloud, 14, Jeremiah Warren, 14, and Cierra Bordelan, 9, all of Marksville, La.; and Noah Joffrion, 14, of Mansura, La.; and Trinity Woodward, 9, and Chance Bernard, 9, both of Hessmer, La., the FHP said.
     Douglas Bolkema, 49, of Albuquerque, N.M., was driving an unknown year, make and model of semi-truck (a semi-tractor trailer) that was southbound on I-75, in the right lane, the FHP said.
     Mark Houghtaling, 61, of Gainesville was driving a 2006 Chevy pickup truck was southbound on I-75 behind the church van and behind the semi-truck driven by Bolkema in the center or right lane, the FHP said.
     For an unknown reason, the semi-truck driven by Holland went toward the left into the path of 2007 Honda five-door, the FHP said.
     The left side of the semi-truck Holland was driving made contact with the right side of the 2007 Honda 5-door and both of those vehicles traveled into the center median, the FHP said.
    Both Holland’s semi-truck and the Honda 5-door impacted the guardrail and traveled into the southbound lanes, the FHP said.
     The semi-truck driven by Holland struck the driver side of church van and that van overturned multiple times, ejecting an unknown number of occupants, the FHP said.
     Holland’s semi-truck then struck Bolkema’ semi-truck, the FHP said.
     Holland’s semi-truck, the Honda 5-door and Bolkema’s semi-truck all caught on fire, the FHP said.
     The Chevy pickup truck driven by Houghtaling struck at least one occupant of church van after that occupant had been ejected, after the impact with Holland’s semi-truck.
     Five children from Louisiana were among the dead. Following are the people listed as killed and injured
     The dead are: Steve Holland, 59, of West Palm Beach; Joel Cloud, 14, of Marksville, La.; Jeremiah Warren, 14, of Marksville, La.; Cierra Bordelan, 9, of Marksville, La.; Cara Descant, 13, of Marksville, La.; Brieana Descant, 10, of Marksville, La.; and Douglas Bolkema, 49, of Albuquerque, N.M., the FHP said.
     Karen Descant, 50, of Marksville, La., was listed in critical condition at Shands, the FHP said.
     The people with serious injuries were Robin Rattray, 41, of Gainesville; Amy Joffrion, 45, and Noah Joffrion, 14, both of Mansura, La of Mansura, La.; Ali LaBorde, 30, of Marksville, La.; Chelsea LaBorde, 11, of Marksville, La.; Trinity Woodward, 9, and Chance Bernard, 9, both of Hessmer, La.
     Houghtaling was not injured.
     Most of the injured were taken to Shands, the FHP said, and the others were taken to North Florida Regional Medical Center.
     As noted, the FHP continues to investigate this crash.
     All northbound lanes of I-75 are open.
     One southbound lane is open. The southbound center lane is expected to open mid-afternoon.
     There is damage to the roadway, so drivers need to prepare for delays in the area.
     Travelers may want to find an alternate route. Call 5-1-1 for traffic condition updates.
    

 


Reward offered in search
of answer to suspicious deaths

MCSO victims HardisonInk.com
This is a picture of the couple.

Photo Provided by MCSO

By Jeff M. Hardison Published Jan. 4, 2019 at 4:08 p.m.
     OCALA --
The Florida Sheriff’s Association Criminal Apprehension Assistance Program and Marion County Crime Stoppers are now offering $5,000 for any information leading to an arrest in the deaths of Robert Lee Cooper, 37, and Ariel Vanessa Prim, 29, MCSO Public Information Office Lauren Lettelier noted in a Jan. 4 press release.
     Cooper and Prim were found deceased in their home after it had burned to the ground on July 28, 2018, and their deaths are considered to be suspicious, Lettelier said.
     Marion County Sheriff’s Office (MCSO) Major Crimes detectives are again asking for the public’s
help in revealing any information that may bring some clarity to the suspicious circumstances surrounding their deaths at 4030 S.E. 84th Lane Road in Ocala, Lettelier said.
     When they arrived on scene, firefighters discovered the burnt remains of a mobile home, and the bodies were inside, Lettelier said.
     Anyone with any information on this case who would like to be eligible for the reward, is asked to please contact the Marion County Crime Stoppers at 352-368-STOP, Lettelier said.

 


Vandals strike residential,
farm and church property

Vandals In Dixie County HardisonInk.com

Vandals In Dixie County HardisonInk.com
Some of the damage done on Rock Sink Baptist Church and one side of one van is shown here.

Photos provided by the Dixie County Sheriff’s Office.

By Jeff M. Hardison © Jan. 3, 2018 at 11:08 p.m.
     DIXIE COUNTY --
The Dixie County Sheriff's Office is seeking the help of the people of Dixie County to find and arrest vandals and thieves who struck mailbox owners, farmers and Christians in northern Dixie County, according to information released by DCSO Maj. Scott Harden.
     Several acts of vandalism had been reported on Wednesday (Jan. 2), Harden said.
     Farmers had to replace tires that had been slashed on different equipment, Harden said.
     Vandals went through the county damaging and even burning street-side mailboxes, Harden said.
     Mailboxes are protected by federal law, and crimes against them and the mail they contain are considered a federal offense. 
     Violators can be fined up to $250,000 or imprisoned for up to three years for each act of vandalism against a mailbox, according to federal law.
     Damaged mailboxes have to be replaced, costing the owner time, money and inconvenience. Meanwhile, the mail cannot be delivered. Many people depend on receiving monthly checks and other financial support through the mail; so, doing without their mail negatively affects their lives. And some damaged mail cannot be replaced – family photos, letters from sons and daughters serving in the military overseas, and other priceless keepsakes that mean so much to the recipient, the United States Postal Service has noted.
     Also reported during this spree was damage to a local church, he added.
     Rock Sink Baptist Church reported damage to buildings and church vans, Harden said. Some of the damage at the church included the church vans’ tires being cut, he said.
     The vandals are also thieves, he added, because they stole fuels from at least one of the vans. Other damage at the church included the vans and church walls being spray painted with graffiti, Harden said.
     By late Wednesday afternoon most of the painted surfaces at the church had been cleaned or repainted by church staff and members of the congregation, Harden said.
     DCSO investigators were in the area again Thursday (Jan. 3) interviewing residents as the law enforcement officers attempt to identify suspects involved in the incident.   
     Anyone with any information regarding the damage in this area or the damage to the Rock Sink Baptist Church, is asked to call the Dixie County Sheriff’s Office at 352-498-1245. Any vandal of thief who wants to voluntarily surrender can call the same telephone number.

 


Gun and drugs
linked to convicted felon


Jason Kit-Patrick Patterson
Mug Shot By LCSO

 


By Jeff M. Hardison
© Jan. 3, 2019 at 2:28 p.m.
     BRONSON --
During the very early morning hours of Wednesday (Jan. 2), deputies with the Levy County Sheriff's Office arrested a convicted felon who they found reasonable cause to believe was in possession of a firearm, and a variety of drugs, according to information from LCSO Lt. Scott Tummond.
     At 4:45 a.m. that Wednesday morning, Tummond said, LCSO deputies responded to 11151 N.E. 83rd Place in Bronson after receiving a 9-1-1 call, in which the caller told dispatchers a man was beating on the front door and demanding to see his girlfriend.
     The 9-1-1 caller gave the dispatcher a description of this person and said he could see this man was holding a gun, Tummond said. The man entered the vehicle described by the 9-1-1 caller, Tummond said, and attempted to leave just prior to the deputies’ arrival.
     Deputies stopped Jason Kit-Patrick Patterson, 37, of Gainesville as he left the Bronson property, Tummond said.
     Deputies took Patterson into custody and began their investigation, Tummond said.
     Patterson went to this home to find his girlfriend, Tummond said, whom he suspected was cheating on him with another man. The investigation determined the girlfriend was at the home, Tummond said, but the 9-1-1 caller did not know who Patterson was.
     The gun described by the 9-1-1 caller was found on the ground near where the caller told dispatchers he was standing just prior to their arrival, Tummond said.
     Patterson was searched.
     Deputies found 18 Xanax, nine grams (about one-third of one ounce) of methamphetamines, eight grams of powder cocaine (about one-third of one ounce) and two pieces of crack cocaine in his pockets, Tummond said.
     Deputies then discovered Patterson is an 18-time convicted felon in Florida and is prohibited from possessing a firearm, Tummond said. 
     Patterson was arrested and booked into the Levy County Jail under the charges of possession of a firearm by a convicted felon, possession of cocaine, possession of a controlled substance (Xanax) without a prescription and possession of methamphetamine. He is being held in lieu of a $226,000 total in combined bonds, Tummond said.


When you see flashing lights,
MOVE OVER;

Give first responders
and utility workers room to work

By FHP Lt. Derrick Rahming
Published Jan. 2, 2019 at 8:08 p.m.

     TALLAHASSEE –
January is Move Over month and the Florida Department of Highway Safety and Motor Vehicles (DHSMV) urges all motorists to move over for emergency and service vehicles stopped along the roadway.
     Preliminarily in 2018, there were 231 crashes and almost 17,000 citations issued for motorists failing to move over. DHSMV and the Florida Highway Patrol (FHP) are partnering with the Florida Department of Transportation, Florida Police Chiefs Association, Florida Sheriffs Association and AAA – The Auto Club Group to ensure all law enforcement, first responders, service and utility workers and Road Rangers Arrive Alive in 2019.
      “When a crash occurs, law enforcement and first responders are there. When a disabled vehicle needs assistance, Road Rangers or tow truck drivers are there. When power lines need repairs, utility and service workers are there,” said DHSMV Executive Director, Terry L. Rhodes. “The Move Over Law is in place to protect those who serve all of us on the roadways, giving them a safe space to do their jobs. Move Over, Florida, and help ensure that these public servants come home safely each day.”
     The Move Over Law was added to section 316.126, Florida Statutes, in 2002. The statute, which was originally introduced in 1971, requires motorists to move or yield right-of-way to emergency vehicles and in 2014, utility and sanitation vehicles were added to the Move Over Law.
     The Move Over Law states that drivers must move over as soon as it is safe to do so for any authorized law enforcement, emergency or service vehicles displaying any visible signals while stopped on the roadside, including Road Rangers, sanitation vehicles and tow trucks.
      “Troopers, first responders and utility workers put their lives on the line every day on our roadways,” said Col. Gene S. Spaulding, Director of the Florida Highway Patrol. “Protect the men and women that answer the call for service in Florida and Move Over, so they can return home to their families.”
     When motorists cannot vacate the lane closest to the emergency or service vehicle, they must slow to a speed that is 20 miles per hour less than the posted speed limit. Failure to yield or move over puts law enforcement officers, emergency first responders and public service workers in danger while they are on the job protecting and serving the citizens and visitors of Florida.
Florida Department of Transportation Interim Secretary Erik R. Fenniman said, “The Department's Road Rangers provide important assistance to motorists, lessen delays and support the Florida Highway Patrol on Florida’s roadways. We want each of our Road Rangers, and all responders, to remain safe while maintaining Florida roads and encourage all drivers to Move Over for service and emergency vehicles.”
      “Police chiefs around the state of Florida work hard to ensure that their officers return home safely at the end of each shift. However, the Florida Police Chiefs Association (FPCA) knows that we can’t do it alone. Law enforcement needs our citizens help to ensure the safety of each and every officer and first responder out on our roadways,” said FPCA President and Florida State University Police Chief David Perry. “The FPCA reminds you to always slow down and move over so that law enforcement can quickly and safely assist Florida’s drivers so they can return home to their loved ones.”
      “Our deputy sheriffs, along with other first responders, willingly place themselves in harm’s way daily to proudly protect the citizens we serve. Our Florida sheriffs fully support the ‘Move Over, Florida!’ campaign to protect those who protect us,” said Sheriff Mark Hunter, President of the Florida Sheriffs Association.
      “This law is in place to protect the ones who protect us,” said Matt Nasworthy, Florida Public Affairs Director, AAA - The Auto Club Group. “Not focusing on the road puts your life and others at risk. To help ensure everyone’s safety, drivers should also move over if a motorist is stranded on the side of the road.”
     To comply with the Move Over Law drivers must:
Multi-Lane Roadway:
     • Vacate the lane closest to the stationary emergency vehicle, sanitation vehicle, utility service vehicle, Road Ranger or wrecker and always signal the intention to change lanes.
     • Slow down to a speed of 20 mph below the posted speed limit if a driver cannot move over safely.
     • Be prepared to allow those who are attempting to move over into the next lane.
Two-Lane Roadway:
     • Slow down to a speed of 20 mph below the posted speed limit.
     • Travel at 5 mph if the speed limit is 20 mph or less.
     The public is encouraged to report aggressive drivers by dialing *FHP (*347).


Man arrested
for murder in Cedar Key


Murder Suspect Levy County Cedar Key HardisonInk.com
 

 


Matthew Thomas Whyte

Mug Shot by LCSO



By LCSO Lt. Scott Tummond
Published Jan. 2, 2018 at 10:48 a.m.
     CEDAR KEY --
At 11:55 p.m. on Sunday (Dec. 30), the Levy County Sheriff’s Office 9-1-1 Center received an emergency call.
     A Cedar Key man reported to a third party that he had witnessed a murder and frantically asked for law enforcement to be called.
     Cedar Key Police Department was the first on scene where they spoke to the witness.
     This initial witness interview led police officers to 3011 D St., where they discovered the victim’s body lying face down in the edge of the water behind this home. Cedar Key Police additionally located and detained another potential witness and an individual suspected of causing the death.
     Cedar Key Police Chief Virgil Sandlin responded to the scene and contacted the Levy County Sheriff’s Office Criminal Investigations Division (CID) for assistance.
     The Levy County Sheriff’s Office CID personnel and the LCSO Crime Scene Unit responded to the scene. Shortly after arrival, Chief Sandlin asked the LCSO on scene CID supervisor to assume responsibility for this investigation. The following investigation led to the arrest of one person, Matthew Whyte, 27, of Cedar Key for first degree murder.
     Investigators learned earlier that evening of Dec. 30, Whyte, an eyewitness, Whyte’s roommate and the victim, identified as Thomas Rafferty, 55, were all hanging out and drinking together. The four men, who were all acquainted with each other, live next door to each other.
     The eyewitness reported he and Whyte’s roommate got into an argument that was eventually broken up by Whyte.
     Whyte left the home for several hours and when he returned Rafferty was still instigating the argument. Rafferty wanted the eyewitness to fight Whyte’s roommate.
     Whyte, as the investigation determined, was under the influence of methamphetamine, and he became irate with Rafferty and punched him.
      The eyewitness stepped in between the two and separated them. When the eyewitness stepped away, Whyte kicked Rafferty knocking him backwards out of a doorway which led onto the back-deck area of the home.
     A second kick by Whyte toppled Rafferty over the railing causing him to fall approximate six feet onto the shell encrusted marsh area.
     The eyewitness reported that Whyte then jumped down into the marsh area, picked up a board and struck Rafferty twice.
     Whyte then dragged the victim to the edge of the waterline, dropped him face down and held Rafferty’s face in the water until he drowned.
     Evidence identified at the scene confirmed the eyewitness’ account of the murder. Additional evidence was discovered after a search warrant was served at Whyte’s home. 
     Whyte was booked in at the Levy County Detention Facility for First Degree Murder and is being held on NO BOND. An additional charge of possession of a drug without a prescription was made against Whyte and bond was set at $50,000 for that charge.
     Investigators are still conducting interviews and anyone who has information is asked to contact LCSO Investigator C.J. Perryman at 352-486-5111 extension 276.

This story was first published Dec. 31, 2018 at 4:18 p.m. with fewer details.
 


Pedestrian dies
in New Year’s Eve crash

By Jeff M. Hardison © Jan. 1, 2019 at 6:18 p.m.
     MARION COUNTY –
A 61-year-old Ocala man died New Year’s Eve (Dec. 31) when he was hit by a car, the FHP said
     Walter E.  Martin, 62, of Reddick was driving a 2006 Toyota Camry, according to a Jan. 1 press release by Florida Highway Patrol Sgt. Anthony Palese, based on information from crash investigator FHP Trooper J. Hilliard and homicide investigator FHP Cpl. J. Roberts.
     The Toyota Camry was northbound on U.S. Highway 441 in the inside travel lane at 7:50 p.m. on Dec. 31, the FHP said. 
     Gary D.  Allen, 61, of Ocala was standing or walking in the inside lane during nighttime hours with no ambient lighting, the FHP said.
     Martin failed to see Allen, the FHP said.
     The Toyota struck the pedestrian, the FHP said, throwing the man onto the vehicle’s hood and windshield, the FHP said.
     The pedestrian was pronounced dead on the scene by Marion County Fire Rescue, the FHP said. Martin was not injured, the FHP said.
     Blood-alcohol content results are pending on the pedestrian, the FHP said. Alcohol was NOT a factor on the driver, the FHP said.
     Charges pending completion of the traffic homicide investigation, the FHP said.

 


Late night fatal crash
discovered the next morning

By Jeff M. Hardison © Dec. 30, 2018 at 10:28 p.m.
     MARION COUNTY --
A fatal vehicular crash late Saturday night (Dec. 29) was not discovered until early Sunday morning, the FHP said.
     On Dec. 30 at approximately 7:44 a.m., the Florida Highway Patrol was contacted in reference to a fatal crash in the area of Marion County Road 314 near the intersection of Northeast 112th Avenue, FHP Lt. Daniel A. DeWeese noted in a Sunday night press release, based on information from crash and homicide investigator FHP Cpl. Richard S. Crawford.
     The FHP discovered that a 2017 Harley Davidson trike, was northbound on CR 314 approaching a hard right curve at the intersection of Northeast 112th Avenue at 11:57 p.m. on Dec. 29, the FHP said.
     Scott Sayer, 60, of Salt Springs (Marion County) failed to negotiate the curve and the trike continued northbound onto the west shoulder of CR 314, the FHP said.
    The vehicle continued on its travel path across 112th Avenue before going onto the north shoulder, the FHP said. The Harley Davidson traveled on this north shoulder until the left side of the trike collided with a tree, the FHP said.
     After the initial collision with tree, the FHP said, the vehicle rotated before overturning and coming to a final rest facing northwest in the residence located at 4465 N.E. 112th Ave.
     Due to the collision with the tree, the FHP said, Sayer was thrown from trike into the tree.
     Sayer and was pronounced dead on the scene by Marion County Fire Rescue, the FHP said. This crash was not called in until the Sunday morning when it was discovered by a passing motorist, the FHP said.
     Sayer was not wearing a helmet, and blood-alcohol content test results are pending to determine if alcohol was a factor in the crash, the FHP said.


MCSO investigates
discovery of human remains




Melvin Thompkins



The scene where the remains were found is cordoned off as investigators review what they find.
Photos Provided by MCSO

By Jeff M. Hardison © Dec. 30, 2018 at 5:08 p.m.
     MARION COUNTY --
The identity of human remains found on Saturday afternoon (Dec. 29) have been identified, Marion County Sheriff's Office Public Information Officer Public Information Officer Lauren Lettelier noted in a Sunday afternoon press release.
     The next of kin have been notified and the MCSO is investigating the death as being suspicious, she said.
     The victim in this case has been positively identified as Melvin Thompkins, 63, Lettelier said.
     At approximately 2 p.m., on Saturday, MCSO deputies responded to the 5300 block of Northwest 17th Street in the Ocala Ridge subdivision in reference to human remains that were found at the location, Lettelier said.
     MCSO Major Crimes detectives, forensic technicians and the Medical Examiner Office responded and are continuing their investigation, Lettelier said.
     Anyone with any information regarding this incident, is asked to please contact Detective Travis O’Cull at 352-369-6805 or call the Crimestoppers of Marion County at 353-368-STOP.


Chiefland man arrested
for armed robbery
of a homeless man and more;

Bond set at $887,000

Victor Scoggins Suspected Armed Robber HardisonInk.com

 

Victor Todd Scoggins
Mug Shot By LCSO

By Jeff M. Hardison
© Dec. 27, 2018 at 9:38 p.m.

     CHIEFLAND – A 55-year-old Chiefland man was arrested over a two-day period for misdemeanor possession of marijuana; possession of drug equipment; driving while license suspended or revoked (DWLSR); aggravated assault with a deadly weapon without intent to kill; damaging property - criminal mischief $300 or less; trespassing in an occupied structure or conveyance; grand theft between $300 to $5,000; and robbery with firearm, according to records.
     The total bond for all of these charges against Victor Todd Scoggins, 55, of Chiefland is $887,000, according to records.
    The DWLSR, paraphernalia possession, misdemeanor marijuana possession and burglary of an occupied structure or conveyance charges were on Dec. 19, according to records.
     The arrest on charges of armed robbery with a firearm and all of the other crimes Scoggins is accused of doing were on Dec. 18, according to Levy County Jail records.
     Chiefland Police Department Cpl. Blake Murphy is the primary arresting officer, according to records, and CPD Officer F.D. Macy assisted, according to Murphy’s incident report.
     While Scoggins was the alleged armed robber, the alleged victim’s name is Samuel Melendez, 45, who has been living in a tent in the Chiefland area since March, according to records.
     Leonard Robert Boyette Jr., 74, of Chiefland is listed among the witnesses, and he was reportedly with Scoggins on one of the two trips where Scoggins allegedly victimized a homeless man, according to records.
     Cpl. Murphy met with Melendez at the Chiefland Police Department in reference to a theft, according to records.
     On Dec. 18, the victim was met by two unknown white males at his campsite, according to records.
    Melendez stated that he is homeless and has been living in a tent in the woods off of Northwest 14th Street behind Betts Big T, according to records.
     Melendez stated that he had several pieces of property taken from his campsite, according to records.
    The victim stated that he did not know that where he was camping was on private property, according to records. The incident report does not show Scoggins or Boyette as being the property owners.
     Melendez sad he was two unknown white males approach him at his campsite, and that one of them introduced himself later as “Victor,” according to records.
     While one of the men who was at the scene of the crimes is known by police officers to be Scoggins, the other one is believed to be Boyette, according to records. And after questioning, Boyette told Cpl. Murphy information to substantiate the crimes Scoggins is under arrest for allegedly having committed, according to records.
    Cpl. Murphy had the victim write down what happened in the campsite area.
     According to the victim, on Dec. 18 at approximately 4:30 p.m. Blade Bailey, Melendez’s friend, came to visit him at his campsite. They left the campsite and Melendez returned about a half hour to 45 minutes later, according to records.
     When Melendez returned, he noticed someone had rummaged through his belongings, according to records.
     The victim discovered that his bicycle, a five-speed Beachcomber was missing. He was missing beer a 10-pack of Budweiser, his compound bow and case, and his backpack which was gray, battery packs, and his pay of $240 in cash as well as some other personal items, according to records
     Many of his belongings had been tossed on the ground, according to records. And a clothesline that held up his clothes was cut, according to records.
     The victim texted his friend, telling him what had happened, according to records.
     At approximately 6:15 p.m., Melendez heard people, according to records, and he walked out into the open.
     As he was coming out of the woods, he saw one older man, according to records.
     The victim said “Hello.”
     The man asked the victim and if he had permission to be there.  The victim said he did not know that it was whether it was private or public property, according to records.
      That’s when Scoggins began approaching the victim holding either a rifle or shotgun and yelling at him to stand still and “Don’t fucking move,” according to records.
     According to the victims’ statement, Scoggins told him to hug a tree and to give Scoggins his wallet and his phone, according to records.
     It was then that Scoggins smacked a machete just inches away from the Melendez’s head, according to records, and told the victim to keep hugging the tree.
     The victim mentioned that it was evident that both men had been drinking alcoholic beverages, according to records.
     The victim explained to them and that he had started working at Bett’s Big T, according to records, and that he had been camping in this area since March.
     As he was talking to them, he heard is his property being destroyed, according to records.
     He asked for the return of his wallet from, according to records, and then a gunshot went off.
     Scoggins made trips to the campsite twice, according to records. The first time he went to the campsite, Scoggins stole a gray backpack worth approximately $35 containing approximately $240 in United States currency and four battery chargers each worth $50 for combined total of $200.
     The approximate value of the items Scoggins stole totaled $985, according to records. The approximate value of the property returned to the victim by the CPD’s work was $510. The approximately value of the property destroyed by Scoggins was $228, according to records.
     This case was closed by arrest, Cpl. Murphy noted.


Two traffic stops lead to four
drug arrests in Dixie County

Four suspects in Dixie County HardisonInk.com
Mug Shots By DCSO

By Jeff M. Hardison © Dec. 26, 2018 at 5:48 p.m.
     DIXIE COUNTY --
Deputies with the Dixie County Sheriff's Office brought in four people suspected of drug crimes on Friday night (Dec. 21), DCSO Maj. Scott Harden noted in a press release on Dec. 26.
     Amber Butler-Hyder, 42, of Cross City and Richard G. Powers, 34, of Old Town were two suspects that went to jail that night, Harden said,
    Bobby L. Ellis, 41, of Old Town and Ernest E. Holifield III, 37, of Steinhatchee are second set of two suspects who were put into the custody of DCSO detention officers at the Dixie County Jail that night, Maj. Harden said.
     Here’s how the first duo became incarcerated, according to information from Maj. Harden.
     A DCSO deputy was on U.S. Highway 19 when he saw a vehicle southbound without a license plate on the vehicle, Harden said. 
     The deputy then conducted a traffic stop on the vehicle and identified Butler-Hyder as the driver. A registration check of the vehicle revealed that it was in fact not registered, Harden said.
     During the stop, passenger Powers was identified, Harden said, and a syringe-needle with methamphetamine and a bag with “crystal” methamphetamine were found.
     Both Butler-Hyder and Powers were arrested and charged with possession of methamphetamine and possession of drug equipment, Harden said.
     Butler-Hyder also was charged with operating a motor vehicle without a registration, Harden said. Butler-Hyder has posted a bond of $17,000 and Powers has posted a bond of $15,000, Harden said, and both defendants are out of custody pending future court appearances.
     The next two suspected drug law violators were taken into custody that night, Harden said, when a deputy was patrolling in the area of Northeast 272nd Avenue in Old Town.
     The deputy he saw a pickup truck run off of the roadway into the grass and back onto the roadway, Harden said.
     The deputy then conducted a traffic stop on this vehicle.
     The deputy identified the driver as Ellis and the passenger as Holifield, Harden said.
     Ellis was found to have a revoked driver’s license and was arrested for driving on a suspended license, Harden said.
     A subsequent search of the vehicle revealed a small amount of marijuana, methamphetamine, a hypodermic syringe-needle, less than 20 grams of marijuana, a firearm and ammunition, Harden said.
     As a result of the items being discovered, Harden said, Ellis was arrested on the additional counts of; possession of a controlled substance (methamphetamine), possession of less than 20 grams of marijuana, possession of drug equipment and possession of ammunition by a convicted felon.
     Holifield was charged with possession of a controlled substance (methamphetamine), possession of less than 20 grams of marijuana and possession of drug equipment, Harden said.
     Ellis is currently being held in the Dixie County Jail under a $44,000 bond, Harden said.
    
Holifield posted bond of $21,000 and is out of custody pending further court appearances, Harden said.


Palmetto Police arrest
Chiefland man
wanted for attempted murder

Suspect In Attempted First Degree Murder Levy County HardisonInk.comAntonio Delossantos
Mug Shot By LCSO

 

By Jeff M. Hardison © Dec. 26, 2018 at 2:48 p.m.
     BRONSON --
A 60-year-old Chiefland man suspected for the Dec. 15 alleged attempted premeditated murder of a woman was arrested later the same day by an officer with the Palmetto Police Department in Manatee County, Levy County Sheriff's Office Lt. Scott Tummond said.
     The victim did not die, Tummond said on Wednesday (Dec. 26).
     Deputies responded to 1850 N.W. U.S. Alt. 27, between Chiefland and Bronson, after receiving a 9-1-1 call from the victim’s family member, Tummond said.
     The victim was stabbed multiple times and was rushed to a local hospital where she was treated for her injuries, Tummond said.
     The suspect is Antonio Delossantos, 60, of Chiefland. He is in the Levy County Jail in lieu of a $2 million bond on the charge of attempted first degree murder, according to records.
     LCSO deputies had been told that Delossantos has family members in Manatee County, Tummond said.

 


Trenton man found dead
in Old Town neighborhood

By Jeff M. Hardison © Dec. 23, 10:38 p.m.
     DIXIE COUNTY --
The body of a 52-year-old Trenton man was found Saturday (Dec. 22) after a search for him started Friday (Dec. 21), according to a Sunday (Dec. 23) evening press release from Dixie County Sheriff's Office Maj. Scott Harden.
     The body of Roland Keith Bonner, 52, of Trenton had floated from a canal and was under a flooded home in the neighborhood, Harden said.
     The search began on Friday afternoon at approximately 2:30 p.m., Harden said, when a DCSO deputy was dispatched to the Suwannee River Bend Campground and RV Park in reference to a possible drowning.
      The campground is in Old Town and is bordered by canals from the Suwannee River on two of the three sides of the campground, Harden said. As the deputy was on the way to the location, and additional information was being obtained, Harden said, DCSO officials requested the Dixie County Dive and Rescue Team to respond as well.
     Officials learned that Bonner was camping in a site next to the canal where he kept his boat docked, Harden said.
     At this time however, Harden said, the river and canal are flooded; so, the victim’s boat sits several yards into the water from land. It has been Bonner’s practice to swim to his boat during these flooded times after heavy rains, Harden said, and he would turn on the boat’s bilge pump to remove the rainwater.
     An acquaintance of Bonner’s said the he left the camper at about daybreak on Friday morning to pump the boat after Thursday night’s rain, Harden said.
     It was later Friday morning when some of the other campers noticed Bonner’s boat was sitting very low in the water, Harden said, so they boated over and pumped Bonner’s boat out.
     When talking with others, they learned that Bonner had left that morning to pump the boat, Harden said, which is when they realized that Bonner never made it to the boat.
     Divers with Dixie County arrived and dove the canal waters late Friday afternoon, Harden said, but they were unable to locate Bonner.
     Due to the frigid water Friday afternoon, Harden said, the divers returned Saturday morning with additional gear for the frigid water. They began diving again around 8 a.m. on Saturday.
     Early Saturday afternoon, an individual called for responders to come to an area, where river flood waters had flooded a neighborhood across the canal from the campground, Harden said.
     It was there, Harden said, that personnel discovered the body of Bonner had floated from the canal and was under a flooded home in the neighborhood.
     Bonner’s body was recovered and transported to the Eighth Judicial Circuit Medical Examiner’s Office in Gainesville for an autopsy to determine the cause of death, Harden said.

 


Rabies alert issued
for portions of Dixie County

Published Dec. 12, 2018 at 1:08 p.m.
     CROSS CITY –
The Florida Department of Health in Dixie County issued a rabies alert for portions of Dixie County today (Wednesday, Dec. 12).
     This is in response to an unvaccinated pet dog that tested positive for rabies on Dec. 10.
     All residents and visitors in Dixie County should be aware that rabies is present in the wild animal population and domestic animals are at risk if not vaccinated. The public is asked to maintain a heightened awareness that rabies is active in Dixie County.
     Alerts are designed to increase awareness to the public, but they should not get a false sense of security to areas that have not been named as under an alert.
     The recent rabies alert is for 60 days. The center of the rabies alert is near Northeast 596th Street in Old Town, and includes the following boundaries in Dixie County:
     • Highway 351 to the north and west
     • Highway 349 to the east
     • Northeast 582nd street to the south
     An animal with rabies could infect other wild or domestic animals that have not been vaccinated against rabies. All domestic animals should be vaccinated against rabies and all wildlife contact should be avoided, particularly raccoons, bats, foxes, skunks, otters, bobcats and coyotes.
     Rabies is a disease of the nervous system and is fatal to warm-blooded animals and humans. The only treatment for human exposure to rabies is rabies specific immune globulin and rabies immunization. Appropriate treatment started soon after the exposure, will protect an exposed person from the disease.
     Residents and visitors are advised to take the following precautions:
     • Keep rabies vaccinations up to date for all pets.
     • Keep your pets under direct supervision so they do not come in contact with wild animals. If your pet is bitten by a wild animal, seek veterinary assistance for the animal immediately and contact animal control at 352-498-1231.
     • Call your local animal control agency to remove any stray animals from your neighborhood.
     • Do not handle, feed, or unintentionally attract wild animals with open garbage cans or litter.
     • Never adopt wild animals or bring them into your home.
     • Teach children never to handle unfamiliar animals, wild or domestic, even if they appear friendly.
     • Prevent bats from entering living quarters or occupied spaces in homes, churches, schools, and other similar areas, where they might come in contact with people and pets.
     • Persons who have been bitten or scratched by wild or domestic animals should seek medical attention and report the injury to the Florida Department of Health in Dixie County at 352-498-1360.
     For more information on rabies, click HERE or call the Florida Department of Health in Dixie County at 352-498-1360, or Dixie County Animal Control at 352-498-1231.

 



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
Jan. 7 Through Jan. 13

Updated Jan. 14, 2019 at 11:08 p.m.


JANUARY 7
     Micah Dash Banda, 20, of Bronson was arrested for an out-of-county warrant. Bond $1,000.
     William G. Buesing, 38, of Cedar Key was arrested for DWLSR – first offense, marijuana – poss. not more than 20 grams, drug equipment – poss. and/or use. Bond $3,000.
     Christian J. Howard, 47, of Inglis was arrested for an out-of-county warrant. Cash only $609.
     Bryce Alan Murphy, 31, of Jacksonville was arrested for non-support of children or spouse. Cash only $100.
JANUARY 8 
     Mark Stuart Allen, 26, of Trenton was arrested for battery – touch or strike. Bond $1,000.
     Bettye Equilla Collins, 36, of Williston was arrested for fraud – false statement to obtain reemployment assistance. ROR.
     Teri Heberling, 28, of Chiefland was arrested for poss. controlled substance without prescription. No bond amount was given.
     Annette Foster Hill, 58, of Williston was arrested for battery – touch or strike. Bond $1,000.
     Gary McCabe, 34, no address was arrested for aggravated battery by person detained in prison or jail facility. Bond $25,000.
     Kali Lynn Roberts, 23, of Chiefland was arrested for DWLSR – first offense, marijuana – poss. not more than 20 grams, poss. drug paraphernalia/ advertise. Bond $3,000.
     Pamela Renaie Tucker, 53, of Bronson was arrested for disorderly intoxication in a public place causing a disturbance. Bond $500.
JANUARY 9
     Roddrick Jovon Anthony, 25, of Bronson was arrested for poss. of weapon or ammo by convicted Florida felon. Bond $100,000.
     Joshua Paul Benz, 27, of Naples was arrested for an out-of-county warrant. No bond.
     Thomas Lee Ellis, 41, of Archer was arrested for simple assault – intent to do violence, drug equipment – poss. and/or use. Bond $11,000.
     Richard Wayne Hall, 59, of Trenton was arrested for sexual predator violation – fail to register as required. ROR.
JANUARY 10
     Charles Leon Bell, 27, of Williston was arrested for FTA. ROR.
     Jose Luis Castro, 32, of Tampa was arrested for battery – touch or strike, cruelty toward child – aggravated child abuse. Bond $55,000.
     Gary Randall Hammock, 58, of Trenton was arrested for poss. cocaine, marijuana – poss. not more than 20 grams, drug equipment – poss. and/or use. Bond $27,000.
     Robert Hayden Huffman, 42, of Chiefland was arrested for poss. harmful new legend drug without prescription, poss. controlled substance without prescription. Bond $31,000.
     Crystal Starr Millender, 42, of Bristol was arrested for poss. controlled substance without prescription, marijuana – poss. not more than 20 grams, drug equipment – poss. and/or use. Bond $7,000.
     Kwanteria Alizeyh Richardson, 21, of Chiefland was arrested for battery – touch or strike, damage property – criminal mischief over $200 under $1,000, burglary with assault or battery, larceny grand theft $300 to less than $5,000. Bond $32,000.
     Carlo Charles Sinnard, 44, of Chiefland was arrested for battery – touch or strike, poss. controlled substance without prescription, drug equipment – poss. and/or use. Bond $46,000.
     Shaun Lenley Standridge, 44, of Archer was arrested for an out-of-county warrant, DWLSR – third or subsequent offense. Bond $3,000.
     Rudolph Norman Weeks, 33, of Chiefland was arrested for an out-of-county warrant. No bond.
JANUARY 11
     Robert Mathew Andrews, 30, of Trenton was arrested for violation of condition of release. No bond.
     Joshua Aaron Johns, 30, of Williston was arrested for non-support of children or spouse. Cash only $390.
     Cecil McCray, 33, of Gainesville was arrested for flee/elude LEO at high speed, DWLSR – third or subsequent offense, carry concealed weapon/ firearm, poss. of weapon or ammo by convicted Florida felon, RWOV, deliver/ distribute methaqualone or mecloqualone derivative – schedule 1, poss. with intent methaqualone or mecloqualone derivative – schedule I, poss. cocaine, poss. controlled substance without prescription, marijuana – poss. not more than 20 grams. Bond $341,000.
     Steven Lee Nilsen II, 32, of Morriston was arrested for FTA. Bond $5,000.
     Kyeisha Talyah Strong, 20, of Chiefland was arrested for carrying concealed weapon/ firearm, RWOV, poss. controlled substance without prescription. Bond $60,000.
     Stanley Thomas Trammell, 60, of Morriston was arrested for an out-of-county warrant. Bond $20,000.
JANUARY 12
     Holly Lynn DeWees, 36, of Trenton was arrested for VOP. No bond.
     Andrew Gebrehawariat, 50, of Gainesville was arrested for an out-of-county warrant. No bond.
     Derik Allen Strevel, 37, of East Point was arrested for an out-of-county warrant. No bond.
     Anthony Dwayne Thomas, 39, of Ocala was arrested for larceny – grand theft $300 to less than $5,000, larceny – resist arrest – comm. theft – resist recovery of property, RWOV. Bond $75,000.
     Ebony Sherese Williams, 35, of Trenton was arrested for an out-of-county warrant. No bond.
JANUARY 13
     Linda Ann Burrill, 60, of Williston was arrested for violation of condition of release. No bond.
     Travis DeWayne English, 27, of South Port was arrested for battery – touch or strike. ROR.
     Ronald Merritt Kingsley, 29, of Gainesville was arrested for poss. controlled substance without prescription. No bond amount was given.
     Deanna Nicole Miles, 27, of Archer was arrested for drug equipment – poss. and/or use, VOP. Bond $10,000. No bond on VOP.
     Shane Christopher Mozdzer-Mackey, 24, of Bronson was arrested for VOP. No bond.
     Johnny Calvin Sheppard, 51, of Chiefland was arrested for battery – touch or strike, obstructing justice – tampering in misdemeanor proceeding. Bond $25,000.

 

 



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
Jan. 7 Through Jan. 13

Updated Jan. 14, 2019 at 11:08 p.m.


JANUARY 7
JANUARY 8

     John C. Greenfield, 23, of Old Town was arrested for two VOPs. No bond amounts were given.
     Jonathan A. Branch, 25, of Live Oak was arrested for VOP. No bond amount was given.
     David P. Burns, 59, of Cross City was arrested for criminal mischief, RWOV, providing false name to LEO. Bond $500.
JANUARY 9
     Tiffany Lynn Costenbader, 37, of Old Town was arrested for poss. of controlled substance, battery – simple (domestic), poss. drug equipment. Bond $15,000.
     Garrett John Dyals, 28, of Old Town was arrested for poss. meth. Bond $15,000.
     Dalton Blane Hardin, 19, of Chiefland for revoked pretrial release. No bond amount was given.
     Kendall C. Arrington, 21, of Old Town was arrested for poss. of a controlled substance, poss. of drug equipment. Bond $15,000.
     Melanie S. Smith, 44, of Cross City was arrested for poss. of controlled substance, poss. of less than 20 grams of marijuana, poss. of drug equipment. Bond $15,000.
JANUARY 10
     Christopher Dane Hubbert, 50, of Old Town was arrested for a Polk County warrant. No bond amount was given.
     George Wayne Miller, 58, of Old Town was arrested for controlled substance, two counts poss. drug equipment, poss. less than 20 grams marijuana, no motor vehicle registration. No bond amounts were given.
JANUARY 11
     Timothy Wayne Yanson, 48, of Old Town was arrested for RWOV, poss. drug equipment, poss. controlled substance. Bond $1,500.
     Jon S. Prentice, 39, of Trenton was arrested for poss. of less than 20 grams of cannabis, poss. of drug equipment, DWLSR. Bond $1,000.
     Bobby J. Robinson, 50, of Bristol was arrested for poss. of obscene material. Bond $60,000.
     John M. Golden, 60, of Old Town was arrested for violation of injunction, criminal mischief. No bond amount was given.
JANUARY 12
     Edward Clifton Anderson, 40, of Old Town was arrested for poss. of less than 20 grams of cannabis, tamper with/ fabricate evidence. Bond $1,000.
     Brian Lee Bowmer, 30, of Old Town was arrested for DWLSR, DUI – alcohol or drugs, leave accident involving damage. Bond $3,000.
JANUARY 13
     Ronald C. Peavy, 42, of Old Town was arrested for a Marion County warrant, DWLSR. No bond amounts were given.
     Karen Bradham-Williams, 41, of Old Town was arrested for poss. less than 20 grams of cannabis. Bond $3,000.

 

 





 

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
Jan. 7 Through Jan. 13

Updated Jan. 14, 2019 at 11:08 p.m.


JANUARY 7
     Chad Michael Slocum, 52, of Bell was arrested for battery on officer/ firefighter/ EMT, etc., assault – intent threat to do violence, resisting arrest with violence. Bond $5,500.
JANUARY 8
     Brian Alphonzo McGee, 34, of Trenton was arrested for three misdemeanor VOPs. Bond $1,500.
     Joel Luis Valles, 33, of Gainesville was arrested for two VOPs. No bond.
     Joyce Coleman Ferrante, 62, of Archer was arrested for VOP. No bond.
JANUARY 9
JANUARY 10
JANUARY 11
JANUARY 12

     Kenda Elizabeth Bell-Auman, 21, of Bell was arrested for an out-of-county warrant. Cash only $333.
JANUARY 1

--UPDATED--
FRIDAY  JAN. 18   6:28 a.m.
Levy, Dixie and Gilchrist counties



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