OPD provides records
from theft of truck

By Jeff M. Hardison © July 24, 2014
     OCALA -- The Ocala Police Department provided public records to show that David Anthony Newmeyer Jr., 17, of Ocala is the boy who stole a truck, endangered lives by continuing a harrowing high-speed chase from Ocala through Williston, through Bronson, through Chiefland, through Old Town and was finally stopped by Dixie County Sheriff Dewey Hatcher Sr. who ran the stolen vehicle off the road.
     Newmeyer died as a result of injuries he suffered in the crash. Two teenaged passengers were treated and released from a hospital. Every account shared with HardisonInk.com by several eyewitnesses reflected the stolen vehicle was being operated with reckless indifference to life.
     The records provided by OPD Sgt. Angy Scroble, who is the OPD public information officer, provide the perspective of that agency's officers involved in the case, which is now closed because the single suspected thief died.
     Christopher Cheyenne Morris, 29, of Belleview had gone to the To Your Health Spa in a 2008 Dodge Ram 2500 (valued at $25,000). In addition to leaving his wallet, which had cash and credit cards, Morris left a .38 caliber Taurus semiautomatic pistol in the truck, according to the report by OPD Officers Arnoldo Colon and Douglas J. Russell.
     Morris placed the keys to the truck on a board at the establishment, which is provided for the convenience of people as they use the spa.
     He looked out a window and noticed the Ram missing at about 7 a.m. and it was reported to the OPD, which responded to the scene of the possible crime within seven minutes, records showed.
     Newmeyer had walked into the gym, where he was a member and took Morris’ keys, records showed. A BOLO (Be On The Look Out) was issued for the truck and the suspect, records showed. David Newmeyer Sr. was contacted by the owner, the OPD officers noted.
     The father is said to have reported that his son bragged about stealing his grandfather’s truck the day before, and that he intended to steal another vehicle, records showed.
     The two passengers, which were identified by the Florida Department of Law Enforcement as being teenagers, were not part of the vehicle theft, according to records. Hence, they were released from the hospital.


Sinkhole issue remains
unresolved for Williston
police and fire departments


WilChf072314       

Williston Police Chief Dennis Strow listens to the City Council on Tuesday night (July 22).

Story and Photo
By Jeff M. Hardison © July 23, 2014
     WILLISTON
– Discussion continued Tuesday night (July 22) about the building that houses Williston Police Department and Williston Fire Rescue sinking into the earth.
     City Manager Scott Lippmann told the City Council about a company called Ram Jack Foundation Repair that puts pilings under buildings. This new option is preferable to Lippmann, he said, because the potential of pouring grout into the sinkhole may damage the city’s wellhead for one of its major sources for drinking water.
     That wellhead is 160 feet deep and it is about 100 feet away from the building, Lippmann said.
     The insurance company is proposing the pumping of grout under the building, to resolve the issue caused by a sinkhole and some deteriorating organic matter, Lippmann said.
     Lippmann told the City Council that the insurance company must perform its own due diligence to determine if the Ram Jack method is a viable alternative. As of Tuesday night, there is no exact measurement to say the sinkhole is any certain width or depth, he said.
     Another possible option is for the insurance company to buyout the building, Lippmann said.
     In the meantime, the WFR is looking to relocate fire equipment. Fire Chief Lamar Stegall said he wants to keep some units near the center of the metropolitan area of Williston, rather than to move everything out to a space the city has at the Williston Municipal Airport.
     Stegall let the City Council know that there is no quick fix for this sinkhole problem. It may take a year or two, because as the metal building is brought up to a level point there are structural issues with windows, roof, doors and walls that may need attention, Stegall said.
     The WPD has found a place to lease, but there are some improvements needed, Lippmann said.
     Police Chief Dennis Strow said Northwoods has two buildings. Some partitions and other minor changes are needed, he said. Generators are another concern for the WPD and WFR, he said.
     After Mayor R. Gerald Hethcoat asked about more information on when the departments will move to temporary quarters, City Council President Jason Cason said this is a matter for the city manager and the police chief and the fire chief to decide.
     Cason asked if the collapse of the building was going to happen soon, or if there was time to negotiate with the insurance company.
     The city will monitor the building’s changes, Lippman said, “… and the point when anyone is uncomfortable with it, we are out of there.”
     “You’ve already had the expression that people are uncomfortable,” Mayor Hethcoat said. “That’s why they brought it to our attention to start with. They are uncomfortable with seeing what is happening with the windows popping and the beams twisting, and the concrete settling.
     Cason said that the city must cover expenses if it chooses action before the insurance company approves it.
     “We know there is a problem,” Hethcoat said.
    The mayor added that it is his opinion that the city must make a decision to protect the employees who are in that building 24-hours-a-day, seven days a week. Decide how to fix the building, or abandon the building and start moving toward a resolution.
     Lippmann said the insurance company can have portable facilities for the police and fire departments to use within 72 hours. If that happens, he said, then the insurance company will start its clock. If it determines that the building can be stabilized in four months, for instance, then the minute after four months passes, the expenses – including the temporary facilities -- after that minute become the city’s sole responsibility, he said.
     Those temporary facilities are expensive, he added.
     The mayor then asked when the insurance company was first notified. Lippmann said it was in April.
     “There’s your four months right there – they’ve used up,” the mayor responded. “We haven’t even started yet.”
     Cason reminded the City Council makes policy, and it depends on its staff to conduct the business of the city.
     “If your fire chief and your police are that uncomfortable,” Cason said, “then they need to get together with Mr. Lippmann and figure out how to make this work. This is an administrative issue, not a policy issue at this point.”
     Cason said he appreciates the update by the city manager.
     City Councilman Cal Byrd asked, before the next issue came before the City Council, if the city manager spoke to the city engineer. Lippmann said that due to the uncertainty of the condition under the building, he is recommending that the WPD and WFR move out.
     “Then why aren’t we moving?” Byrd asked Lippmann.
     “Because we are having to prepare a place to go,” the city manager answered.
     “If we’ve been told we need to move,” Byrd said, “then we need to move. That’s my opinion.”
     The insurance company has ignored the city for months “with people running around in circles doing nothing,” Byrd added.
     Byrd said he knows the City Council can talk about this for another year and still not wear it out, but he wants to see some action starting now.


Woman dies after crash
By Jeff M. Hardison © July 23, 2014
     GAINESVILLE -- A woman who was involved in a crash in Williston on July 12 was critically injured and she succumbed to those injuries, and died on Wednesday (July 23), Williston Police Chief Dennis Strow said in a press release.

     Virginia Ann Ortiz, 44, of Ocala was the driver, Strow said.
     The crash was in the 600 block of Southeast Eighth Street, he said. A 2005 pickup truck of an unlisted make crossed over the southbound lanes and went into the grass median, Strow said. It went back across both lanes, onto the should of the road and then rolled over and struck a power pole, Strow said.
     The investigation is still active, he said, adding that speed appears to be a factor. The press release did not list if the driver was wearing a seat belt.


Joint force preps
for basketball mission

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The players on the joint-agency team are Levy County Sheriff’s Office Lt. Shawn Hunt, and deputies Chase Gregory, Mike Rome, Keagon Weatherford, Noel Ramirez, Kyle Schultz (Sheriff Schultz’s son) and Ryan Hinote. The participants from the GCSO are Gilchrist County Sheriff Robert D. 'Bobby' Schultz III, Sgt. Alex Gaston, Sgt. Steve Cruz, Deputy Matthew Rexroat and Correctional Officer Henry Howe. Participating but not pictured are Gilchrist County Sheriff Robert D. 'Bobby' Schultz III, LCSO Deputy Chase Gregory and Ryan Hinote.

Photo by Gilchrist County Sheriff Robert D. 'Bobby' Schultz III

By Jeff M. Hardison © July 21, 2014

     TRI-COUNTY AREA -- A team of officers from Levy and Gilchrist counties are scheduled to compete in the 2014 "Florida First Responders Games" in Palm Beach County on Aug. 8-10.
      They will be competing in the five on five basketball tournament on Aug. 8-10. The team has been practicing for the past three months in preparation, LCSO Lt. Shawn Hunt said.
     All 12 participants are excited at the opportunity to represent their respective communities and agencies Gilchrist County Sheriff Robert D. “Bobby” Schultz III said.
     The participants from the LCSO are Lt. Hunt, and deputies Chase Gregory, Mike Rome, Keagon Weatherford, Noel Ramirez, Kyle Schultz (Sheriff Schultz’s son) and Ryan Hinote.
     The participants from the GCSO are Sheriff Schultz, Sgt. Alex Gaston, Sgt. Steve Cruz, Deputy Matthew Rexroat and Correctional Officer Henry Howe.
     The team is looking for donations to help offset expenses. While Levy County Sheriff Robert “Bobby” McCallum Jr. is not going to play, he said he plans to donate "a couple of hundred dollars."
     “We can’t take money out of the agency’s budget, McCallum said. “This is all from our own pockets.”
     Sheriff Schultz said he is playing as part of the combined agencies’ team to help reinforce the theme of teamwork and camaraderie between Levy and Gilchrist counties.
     The two counties are on the brink of completing paperwork for the GCSO to join the LCSO and Chiefland Police Department in the multi-agency Drug Task Force.
     This event and the practice beforehand of the team provides opportunities for good exercise for the men. The sheriff’s presence on the team also helps represent Gilchrist County and the agency.
     For people interested in providing some financial support for the team, an account has been established. Please Deputy Weatherford at 352-949-5257 or Sgt. Gaston at 352-222-2571 for more details in that regard.


FHP to focus
on aggressive drivers

Published July 18, 2014
     TALLAHASSEE –There’s little doubt what can happen when a passenger car collides with a tractor- trailer that is 80 feet long and weighs up to 20 tons. Such a crash can easily turn deadly.
     On Friday (July 18), the Florida Highway Patrol Commercial Vehicle Enforcement troopers will start another phase of Ticketing Aggressive Cars and Trucks (TACT), a safety campaign aimed at educating motorist on the danger of aggressive driving when interacting with large trucks on the road.
     “FHP is committed to making our highways safer and one way to do that is by reducing the number of commercial vehicle related crashes” said Lt. Col. Kelly Hildreth, deputy director of the Florida Highway Patrol. “Most crashes involving trucks involve driver error by both the car and truck driver. We can reduce crashes if we all share the roadways and avoid aggressive driving behaviors and practice patience around big trucks.”
     The TACT campaign runs from July 18-31. Troopers will be looking for car and truck drivers who display aggressive behavior, such as following too closely, unsafe lane changes and speeding.
     Do you drive defensively around big trucks? Protect yourself and your passengers by learning how to share the road. FHP offers these tips for driving around large trucks:
     * Stay out of the No Zone: Watch for the huge blind spots (No Zones) around large trucks.
     * Pass trucks with caution: Pass on the left side for maximum visibility and maintain a constant speed.
     * Don’t cut trucks off. Large trucks simply can’t stop as quickly as cars.
     * Practice patience. Try to be predictable. Avoid making erratic moves if a truck isn’t going as fast as you’d like.


State agency warns
not to leave children in hot cars;

Two dead in Florida so far in 2014
Published July 14, 2014
Updated July 21, 2014

     TALLAHASSEE -- The Florida Department of Highway Safety and Motor Vehicles is reminding everyone to take additional steps to ensure that no child is left unattended in a vehicle this summer.
     This year, there have been two reported cases in Florida of children dying of heatstroke after being left in cars. Don’t be distracted when leaving your vehicle and take a second look in the back seat to ensure a child is not left behind. Getting into a car that has been sitting in the sun on a hot summer day in Florida can be unbearable. The inside of a vehicle can heat up by 20 degrees in just 10 minutes and cracking a window open does little to keep the vehicle cool. A child’s body temperature can rise three to five times faster than an adult’s and heatstroke in a closed vehicle can occur when the temperature is as low as 57 degrees outside. For the safety of your children, never leave a child unattended in a vehicle, even for a short period of time.
     Florida law makes it a criminal offense to leave a child under the age of 6 years unattended in a vehicle.
     Tips for preventing heatstroke deaths in vehicles:
     • NEVER leave any child unattended in a vehicle.
     • Put something in the back seat that you will need at your final destination like a purse, briefcase, cell phone or shoe that will remind you to look in the back seat.
     • If you see a child unattended in a vehicle, call 911.
     • After checking to make sure your vehicle is empty, always lock it and teach children not to play in vehicles.
     • Pets are also susceptible to heatstroke if left unattended in a closed vehicle as well.
     A study by researchers at San Francisco State University showed that, on average, 38 children die each year as a result of heatstroke after being left in a closed vehicle. Since 1998, 66 child heatstroke deaths have occurred in Florida for this reason, more than any other state.
     The Florida Department of Highway Safety and Motor Vehicles provides highway safety and security through excellence in service, education and enforcement. The Department is leading the way to A Safer Florida through the efficient and professional execution of its core mission: the issuance of driver licenses, vehicle tags and titles and operation of the Florida Highway Patrol.

Free teen driver program offered
Published April 24, 2014
Updated July 17, 2014

     LEVY COUNTY -- The Levy County Sheriff’s Office, Community Relations Division, is offering a Teen Driver Improvement Program to all Levy County students who have a current Operator's License or Learner's Permit or who are about to get their Learner's Permit.
     The goal of this program is to educate the teen drivers of Levy County of the dangers of aggressive driving, distracted driving, impaired driving, and to reinforce the benefits of seatbelt use. These four issues have been found to be major causes of teen involved crashes, injuries and fatalities.
     This program is free of cost and is four hours in duration. This program consists of classroom instruction, videos, power point presentations and hands-on time during which the students will drive golf carts through a course to learn firsthand the dangers of their choices they make while driving.
     This is a graphic presentation that will show students the human consequences of their driving choices. Parent waivers are required due to the graphic nature of the presentation. Waivers are available online at www.levyso.com. Go there, and then click on the Teen Driver Improvement Icon on left side of screen.
     All students will be required to pre-register for the class by calling Lt. Sean Mullins or Sgt. Max Long at 352-486-5111, ext. 276 or via e-mail smullins@levyso.com or mlong@levyso.com. This class has a minimum of five students for the class to take place so these dates are tentative.
     ALL CLASSES BEGIN AT 9 a.m. The Class Is Four Hours Long. Lunch is Not Served.
* Williston High School - July 31; and Aug. 5 and 6
* Chiefland High School - July 28 and 29; and Aug. 7 and 11
* Bronson High School - July 30; and Aug. 12
* Yankeetown School - Aug. 4


 LCSOStar1LCSO arrests
to July 20

Publisher’s note: The following information was provided by the Levy County Sheriff’s Office in regard to people arrested. These defendants were arrested by the LCSO and other agencies. People suspected of Failure To Appear (FTA) or of Violation of Probation (VOP) are not listed here. Every person suspected of a crime is presumed innocent until he or she is proved to be guilty beyond a reasonable doubt.
DWLSR– Driving While License Suspended or Revoked
Poss. – Possession
DUI – Driving while Under the Influence of alcohol or other drugs
LEO – Law Enforcement Officer
RWOV– Resisting Arrest Without Violence
 
JULY 14
     James Virgill Boatwright Sr., 50, of Chiefland was arrested for RWOV. Bond $500.
     Tammy Kerr, 39, of Chiefland was arrested for DWLSR. Bond $1,000.
JULY 15
     Nicole Mummert, 22, of Chiefland was arrested for petit theft from merchant – second offense. Bond $1,000.
JULY 16
     Coleman Wesley Jordon, 25, of Chiefland was arrested for a warrant. Bond $50,000.
JULY 17
     Jessica Sweat, 39, of Chiefland was arrested for two counts of animal cruelty. Bond $200,000.
JULY 18
     Cody A. McClurg, 25, of Williston was arrested for leave scene of crash involving damage to property, obstruct without violence. No bond amount was given.
JULY 19
     Pavel Beno, 48, of Williston was arrested on four counts of domestic violence. Bond $100,000.
     Ronald Register, 32, of Webster was arrested for leaving scene of crash involving damage to property, accident – unattended vehicle or property without leaving ID, DUI – alcohol or drugs, drive with license from other state when Florida license suspended. No bond amount was given.
     Frederick Anthony Roesch, 44, of Bronson was arrested for giving false information or reports to police, DWLSR – habitual offender, DUI and damage to property. Bond $15,000.
     Brian Eldon Wright, 35, of Williston was arrested for battery – touch or strike. Bond $2,000.
JULY 20
     Jorge Rodriquez, 22, of Bronson was arrested for an out-of-county warrant and poss. cocaine. No bond amount was given.
     Tracy James Smith, 40, of Trenton was arrested for three counts of controlled substance without prescription, obstruct without violence, poss. of weapon or ammo by convicted Florida felon. Bond $60,000.
     Franklin Leamon Tyndal, 29, of Williston was arrested for battery – domestic violence. No bond amount was given..


GCSOGCSO arrests
to July 20

 
Publisher’s note: The following information was provided by the Gilchrist County Sheriff’s Office in regard to people arrested. These defendants were arrested by the GCSO and other agencies. People suspected of Failure To Appear (FTA) or of Violation of Probation (VOP) are not listed here. Every person suspected of a crime is presumed innocent until he or she is proved to be guilty beyond a reasonable doubt.
DWLSR– Driving While License Suspended or Revoked
Poss. – Possession
DUI – Driving while Under the Influence of alcohol or other drugs
LEO – Law Enforcement Officer
RWOV– Resisting Arrest Without Violence
 
JULY 15
     Mark Richard Affuso, 49, of Alachua was arrested for sell cocaine – schedule II, drug equipment – poss. and/or use. Bond $255,000.
     Marcus Detron Hicks, 30, of Alachua was arrested for sell cocaine – schedule II. Bond $200,000.
JULY 16
     Joshua Brent Griffin, 32, of Lake City was arrested for battery – domestic battery by strangulation, battery on office/ firefighter/ EMT, etc., neglect child with great bodily harm, resist office with violence, escape. Bond $375,000.
JULY 18
     Shannon Juanity Trenary, 32, of Trenton was arrested for DWLSR – second offense. No bond amount was given.
JULY 19
     Jason Paul Deavitt, 36, of Old Town was arrested for carrying concealed weapon firearm. Bond $10,000.
     Jena M. Hindsley, 26, of Bell was arrested for DWLSR – knowingly. Bond $2,000.
JULY 20
     Luis Alvarado-Herrera, 28, of Trenton was arrested for operate motor vehicle without valid driver license, an out-of-county warrant. No bond. .


 DCSODCSO arrests
to July 20

Publisher’s note: The following information was provided by the Dixie County Sheriff’s Office in regard to people arrested. These defendants were arrested by the DCSO and other agencies. People suspected of Failure To Appear (FTA) or of Violation of Probation (VOP) are not listed here. Every person suspected of a crime is presumed innocent until he or she is proved to be guilty beyond a reasonable doubt.
DWLSR– Driving While License Suspended or Revoked Poss. – Possession
DUI – Driving while Under the Influence of alcohol or other drugs
LEO – Law Enforcement Officer
RWOV– Resisting Arrest Without Violence
 
JULY 14
     Gabreil Edward McCabe, 28, of Old Town was arrested for an out-of-county warrant. No bond amount was given.
JULY 15
     Michael Vincent Tipler, 26, of Williston was arrested for aggravated battery on LEO, poss. listed chemicals for manufacture controlled substance, flee/ attempt to elude police officer, drug paraphernalia – use or poss., hold for DOC. Bond $75,000.
     Charles Ivor Green, 56, of Old Town was arrested for DUI -  alcohol or drugs. Bond $3,000.
JULY 16
     Del Lee LeBron, 38, of Cross City was arrested for felony battery. Bond $25,000.
     Larry Duane Teckenbrock, 28, of Trenton was arrested for burglary of dwelling, criminal mischief. No bond amount was given.
JULY 17
     Edward S. Kennedy, 50, of Old Town was arrested for an out-of-county warrant. Bond $5,000.
     Joann Roberts, 57, of Old Town was arrested for DUI – alcohol or drugs. Bond $3,000.
JULY 18
     Elverta Welty, 26, of Cross City was arrested for an out-of-county warrant. Bond $2,000.
JULY 19
     Vernisha Mitchell, 33, of Old Town was arrested for DWLSR – third or subsequent offense. No bond amount was given.
     Rebecca Adelaide Sweeney-Linzi, 35, of Cross City was arrested for DUI and damage to property, Hit and Run. Bond $3,000..

-- UPDATED --
THU.  JULY 24  8:17 a.m.
Levy, Dixie, Gilchrist counties


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