DCSO arrests burglary suspect found hiding in attic
Raymond Joseph 'Trey' Parker III
Mug Shot by DCSO
By DCSO Maj. Scott Harden
Published Oct. 18, 2019 at 5:09 p.m.
DIXIE COUNTY -- Over the past several weeks both the Dixie County and Taylor County Sheriffs' Offices have responded to and worked several business burglaries where the suspect has disconnected the power prior to the burglary.
The power disconnection is believed to have been done in order to prevent any alarm or camera systems from capturing the burglar.
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In the early morning hours of Tuesday, Oct. 15, a DCSO deputy was patrolling on Northeast 349 Highway in Old Town when he saw a totally darkened business.
The deputy then pulled into the business and went to the power meter box where he found that the power meter had been removed. The deputy then found a broken window and as he was inspecting the window, he heard glass break inside the business.
He then radioed for another deputy to respond and when this deputy arrived, they discovered that the window opening on the other side had burglar bars on it, like the first window except smaller, and that no one had exited.
The deputies then maintained a perimeter on the building and had dispatch call for additional units and the Cross City Correctional K-9 Unit to respond.
While units were responding to the scene, dispatch received a 9-1-1 call from an individual who claimed to be eight years old and said that his mother needed help.
When questioned about his phone number, the caller gave a different number than the one that was showing on the 9-1-1.
Dispatch pinged the phone location, which was in close proximity to the active burglary scene.
Dispatch called the displayed number and received a voice-mail response from a man identifying himself as Trey Parker.
During this time, one of the responding units went to the residence of the business keyholder to retrieve a key for entry into the business.
Once the deputies had key access to enter the business, they searched inside the building but were unable to locate anyone.
Deputies then entered the attic where they found Raymond Joseph “Trey” Parker III hiding toward the front of the building in the attic space. Parker was found to be in possession of the business’s cash bag.
Parker, 28, from Steinhatchee, was removed from the attic and placed under arrest.
At this time, Parker has been charged with burglary to a structure while masked, possession of burglary tools while masked, grand theft, criminal mischief and resisting an officer without violence.
Additional charges from both Taylor and Dixie County burglaries are expected to be filed against Parker along with making a false 9-1-1 call when he attempted to lure deputies from the scene with his fake call while hiding in the attic.
One dead teen, one injured;
FHP seeks hit-and-run driver
By Jeff M. Hardison © Oct. 17, 2019 at 10:29 a.m.
Updated Oct. 17, 2019 at 3:39 p.m.
ALACHUA COUNTY -- As families deal with the aftermath of horror from an incident on Wednesday night (Oct. 16), the Florida Highway Patrol sent a press release early Thursday morning (Oct. 17) to help find a suspected hit-and-run driver.
An unknown vehicle, was eastbound on Alachua County Road 346 at Southeast 58th Terrace, in Alachua County at 9 p.m. on Oct. 16, according to press releases sent on Oct. 17 by Florida Highway Patrol Sgt. Justin Smatt and FHP Lt. P.V. Riordan, based on information from crash investigator FHP Trooper J. Cabral and homicide investigator FHP Cpl. W. Bontrager.
Two girls and a boy were walking eastbound in the westbound lanes of CR 346, the FHP said.
For an unknown reason, the vehicle went eastbound in the westbound lanes approaching the pedestrians from the rear, the FHP said. The children were practicing correct safety as they walked toward normal oncoming traffic.
An unknown portion of the vehicle hit the two girls, the FHP said.
The driver stopped and stepped out of the vehicle, the FHP said. The driver was described to be a white male, who was wearing a white shirt, blue jeans, and had dirty blonde hair, the FHP said. The driver of the as-yet unidentified vehicle appeared to be in his 30s, the FHP said.
The man reentered the vehicle and fled the scene prior to FHP arrival, the FHP said.
Hannah L. Brown, 14, of Micanopy was pronounced dead on the scene, the FHP said. Madison H. Bass, 14, of Hawthorne was taken to UF Health at Shands Hospital in critical condition, the FHP said. Michael R. Germond, 13, of Micanopy reported no injuries, the FHP said. This crash is still under investigation.
The hit-and-run vehicle was described to be an older model gray pickup truck with damage to the front left end and left side, the FHP said. If anyone is able to give any information about this crash, please call FHP Cpl. Bontrager at 386-754-6281, or 1-800-387-1290, or call the local Crime Stoppers, to assist in the investigation of this tragic crash, the FHP said.
Boy arrested for alleged threat
Mug Shot By DCSO
By DCSO Maj. Scott Harden
Published Oct. 15, 2019 at 9:09 a.m.
CROSS CITY -- On Wednesday morning (Oct. 9), Dixie County school administrators were notified of a possible threat that had been posted on social media by a student on Tuesday night (Oct. 8).
School administrators notified Dixie County Sheriff's Office school resource deputies, who then began an investigation into the posts.
During the investigation, the DCSO school resource deputies were able to identify the suspect as Logan Butler, a 17-year-old student in Dixie District Schools.
According to the posts, Butler threatened to shoot up an identified school function. Butler was located on the school campus where he is a student.
At this time, he was suspended by school administrators and arrested by school resource deputies.
Butler was charged with making a written threat to kill and booked into the Dixie County Jail, where he was later turned over to the Florida Department of Juvenile Justice. At the time of Butler’s arrest, he was not found to be in possession of any weapons
DCSO and feds bust
suspected drug dealer
in Old Town;
Suspect also charged
with VOP from Levy County
Mug Shot By DCSO
By Jeff M. Hardison
© Oct. 14, 2019 at 10:39 p.m.
DIXIE COUNTY -- The Dixie County Sheriff's Office has again found a man suspected of dealing drugs to the extent that the United States Drug Enforcement Agency (DEA) became involved, according to information in a press release from DCSO Maj. Scott Harden.
Another federal agency became involved as well, Maj. Harden noted.
The United States Department of Justice's Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives (ATF) is a law enforcement agency that protects American communities from violent criminals, criminal organizations, the illegal use and trafficking of firearms, the illegal use and storage of explosives, acts of arson and bombings, acts of terrorism, and the illegal diversion of alcohol and tobacco products.
Edwin Henry, 29, of Old Town, was arrested and charged with possession of a firearm by a convicted felon, Violation Of Probation (Levy County), sale of a controlled substance and possession of a controlled substance, Harden said.
At the time of booking into the Dixie County Jail, a federal hold was placed on Henry in order for Henry to be transported to the United States District Court in Gainesville to answer to the federal charges stemming from this investigation.
The arrests resulted after work that began earlier, Harden said.
In the month of September, investigators with the DCSO, with the use of a confidential informant, purchased methamphetamine from Henry, Harden said.
During the course of the drug transactions, Harden said Sheriff’s investigators were able to identify several firearms in the residence and in Henry’s possession.
Based on the volume of drugs purchased from Henry, and the fact that Henry has an extensive criminal history, investigators contacted the Gainesville office of the DEA and the local ATF office, Harden said.
In the early part of October, DCSO investigators assisted these federal agencies with the continued investigation into Henry and his activities, Harden said.
On Friday morning (Oct. 11), a federal search warrant was obtained for Henry’s residence in Old Town, Harden said.
That afternoon agents from the DEA, ATF and investigators and deputies with the DCSO executed the search warrant on Henry’s residence, Harden said.
Multiple types of illegal narcotics along with a handgun were found in Henry’s possession during the execution of the warrant, Harden said, and that led to his placement in the Dixie County Jail and his awaiting an appearance in federal criminal court in Gainesville.
FDLE Genetic Genealogy
solves cold cases in first year
By FDLE Office of Public Information
Published Oct. 14, 2019 at 10:09 p.m.
ORLANDO – FDLE’s Genetic Genealogy Investigations program is one year old this month.
During that time, four suspects have been identified using the power of genetic genealogy, solving cases that are more than a decade old.
“One year ago, FDLE created its genetic genealogy investigations program to help law enforcement agencies solve cold case homicides and sexual assaults,” said FDLE Commissioner Rick Swearingen. “Today, Florida is a national leader in using genetic genealogy as an investigative tool.”
“Florida is unique to have a genetic genealogy team at the state level,” said FDLE Chief of Forensic Services Lori Napolitano. “Our team continues to move forward on additional cases statewide, so I know you’ll be hearing more success stories from us.”
“With Lori Napolitano at the helm, FDLE has established one of the most effective investigative genetic genealogy units in the country,” said Parabon NanoLabs CEO Steve Armentrout. “FDLE leadership deserves recognition for providing these new investigative capabilities to law enforcement agencies throughout Florida. Parabon is proud to collaborate with Lori and her team on these investigations. Through our combined efforts and the dedicated investigators we serve, we are bringing justice to cases that may otherwise have never been solved.”
“I am proud that the state where GEDmatch was founded and is located is a state that is a leader in proper utilization of this revolutionary technology for law enforcement,” said GEDmatch Co-founder Curtis Rogers. “Not only has FDLE used advanced genetic techniques to catch vicious criminals, they are also in the forefront of implementing standards to protect against its improper use.”
“The sheriffs of Florida applaud the work being done on genetic genealogy to help us solve serious crimes, such as murder and rape,” said Florida Sheriffs Association President and Pinellas County Sheriff Bob Gualtieri. “The public plays an important role in building this database. Together, we will have breakthrough tools to help us catch criminals and bring them to justice.”
“This is an incredible investigative tool that is helping law enforcement take dangerous criminals off our streets,” said Florida Police Chiefs Association President and Temple Terrace Police Chief Kenneth Albano. “Using genetic genealogy will stop these cold case killers from continuing to prey on our communities.”
Background and how you can help
Genetic genealogy provides leads to investigators based on DNA matches to relatives found in public genealogy databases. Florida’s team includes experts in genetic genealogy, analytical research, forensics and investigations who work with local agencies. FDLE partners with Parabon Nanolabs, who conducts the testing and often the initial genetic genealogy work.
Our success depends on information found in public genealogy databases. If you have had your DNA analyzed, please consider uploading it to GEDmatch and “opt-in” for law enforcement matching. Today, there are more than 140,000 people who have chosen to “opt-in” for law enforcement matching. This service is free. https://www.gedmatch.com/login1.php
The use of genetic genealogy helps make Florida safer by providing leads that result in the arrest of suspects in cold case homicides and sexual assaults and taking them out of our Florida neighborhoods and communities. This can also bring long-awaited answers and much-needed relief to victims and their families, as can be seen in this video posted on the GEDmatch website, by clicking HERE.
Levy County Emergency
Story and Photo Provided By
By Levy County Emergency Management
Assistant Director David Peaton, FPEM
Published Oct. 12, 2019 at 7:39 a.m.
BRONSON -- Levy County Emergency Management knows that one of the biggest challenges after any type of disaster is emergency communications.
During major disaster events, cell phone, Internet, broadcast cable and other commercial means of communications can be severely disrupted. As Levy County Emergency Management Assistant Director David Peaton, FPEM saw first-hand last year when he was deployed to assist North Florida in the aftermath of Hurricane Michael, several counties and municipalities struggled greatly simply trying to communicate with state and federal agencies just to get basic supplies.
Since Hurricane Michael, Levy County Emergency Management has completed construction of its Emergency Communications Trailer. This trailer contains several different means of communications, many of which are not reliant on local infrastructure.
What the Levy County Emergency Management staff members are even more proud of is the fact that almost the entire trailer was put together using donated or grant funded equipment.
The Levy County Emergency Communications Trailer contains satellite internet, two separate satellite phone services that use completely different orbital satellites, the State Law Enforcement Radio System, Verizon Public Safety mobile phone and Internet service, and the AT&T FirstNet First Responder Communications Network.
Although it is impossible to prepare for every possible scenario, the members of Levy County Emergency Management are proud to be taking steps to make sure that Levy County is as prepared as possible.
DCES monthly record
shows continuous service
to the people of Dixie County
By Jeff M. Hardison © Oct. 9, 2019 at 4:19 p.m.
DIXIE COUNTY – Chief Darian Brown of Dixie County Emergency Services provided information from the month of September, which reflects the DCES continuing in its mission to help people affected by disasters, fires, crashes and other life-threatening, and even fatal incidents.
The DCES includes personnel who serve in Emergency Management, Fire Services and Emergency Medical Services serving residents in visitors within the whole county, and on occasion lending support outside the county when that is needed.
DCES fire crews responded to a total of 101 calls in September, Chief Brown said.
Many of those responses were medical, but the DCES also had a very busy month with fires and motor vehicle accidents.
Two major extrications occurred om Dixie County crashes in September, Chief Brown said, with one of the two patients surviving – although suffering from major injuries.
Another extensive extrication included CPR being performed by members of the DCES crews during the entire removal and transport, Brown said.
Unfortunately, he added, this patient did not survive.
Beyond the Fire Service, the DCES EMS crews also responded to another 334 EMS calls during the month of September.
“Our department has also just implemented new protocol for the issue of antibiotic medications for certain types of calls during transport,” Chief Brown said. “This is starting to be tried in the state and our department is one of the first to try it -- and I believe, the only Rural department at this time.”
Chief Brown noted that DCES EMS just implemented a Community Paramedicine Program where the Dixie County crews follow up with certain patients that meet the criteria after a call to ensure that their recovery is adequate, and to offer assistance in the home.
“It is not to replace home health care,” Chief Brown said, “but instead, it is to offer an additional layer of services to ensure that needed services such as home health and others are not missed in the shuffle.”
DCES EMS Division Chief Scott Pendarvis leads this division of Dixie County Emergency Services and the potential for a separate story on the latest news with the Emergency Medical Services division exists.
Looking at a representative sample of 10 sets of records from September further demonstrates how DCES helps all of the residents and visitors in Dixie County, all of the time, 24-hours-a-day, every day.
Five structure fires in September are shown below.
Dixie County Fire Services responded to a fire on Sept. 3 in Horseshoe Beach. Firefighters were paged at 5:30 p.m. and were on the scene at 266 S.W. 312th St. in Horseshoe Beach with the first unit at 5:44 p.m.
Squad-1. Engine 41, Engine 21, Tanker 45, Rescue 2, and EMS 1, 3, 5 and 6 were on the way to this residential structure fire call.
Upon arrival, the first unit noted a stationary camper trailer under a metal lean-to had become fully involved, with the roof and walls already collapsed.
The fire was suppressed. Crews preformed overhaul and knocked down all hotspots. All crews cleared by command at 6:36 p.m. The personnel involved were Darian Brown, Scott Garner, Roy Bass, Mandy Lemmermen, Andy English, Will Garner, Danny Liles, Chuck Elton, Scotty Pendarvis, Jon Mash and Marshal Tomlinson.
Firefighters were dispatched to a reported possible structure fire at 18 N.E. 440th Ave. in Old Town at 4:07 p.m. on Sept. 4.
Squad-1, Engine 21, Engine 41 and Rescue 3 went to the reported fire with the first unit arriving within seven minutes.
Smoke from a pizza in the oven caused concern. Firefighters ventilated the structure to remove smoke. The eight responding paid and volunteer personnel cleared the scene and were back in service at 4:30 p.m.
Assisting with the issues there were two deputies with the Dixie County Sheriff’s Office, and personnel from Cross City Fire Department.
Both fire engines had been told to return to station before they reached the possible fire, when it was seen there was no need for those resources there then.
Firefighters were paged at 9:29 a.m. on Sept. 6 to a structure fire at 410 N.E. 424 Old Town. The first unit arrived within 11 minutes.
Engine 21, Squad-1, EMS 5 and Rescue 3 went to the scene. Members from Station 24 were in route as well.
Upon arrival of Engine 21, crew members found light smoke coming out of a window on the one side of the singlewide residential structure
The homeowner stated that the hot water heater caught on fire. As soon as she smelled and saw the smoke, she cut the power to the structure. The homeowner’s son was on the scene and put out the fire with a fire extinguisher.
Firefighters confirmed that the fire was out and that the smoke in the house was just residual smoke.
Due to the updated information, EMS 5 cancelled as it was on the way. Squad-1 arrived on scene, and cancelled Engine-31 and Engine-24.
Crew of Engine 21 opened windows in the house and put the positive pressure fan at the front door pushing the smoke out of the structure.
After the smoke was cleared, firefighters rechecked the hot water heater and surrounding area with a device that showed rapid cooling. The homeowner was advised not to turn the power back on to the house until they could get an electrician to check hot water heater. All fire units went back available at 9:59 a.m.
On Sept. 8, firefighters were paged at 4:21 a.m. to respond to a fire at 189 N.E. 534th St. in Old Town.
Although the first unit arrived quickly, the singlewide mobile home was 75 percent involved and after firefighters extinguished the fire, the mobile home was a total loss. The call was completed at 7:12 a.m.
Squad-1, Engine 21, Engine 41, Engine 45 and Rescue 1 responded. Personnel at this fire were A. English, B. Sites, M. Ferguson, C. Elton and W. Garner.
On Sept. 11, firefighters were paged at 9:58 p.m. to 110 N.E. 400th Ave. in Old Town.
Engine 31 and Rescue 3 were dispatched to the structure fire in Zone 2, as Engine 21 responded immediately.
Upon arrival Engine 21 noted that Rescue 3 and law enforcement officers were on scene. Upon pulling into residence, E21 noted smoke coming from the front two doors, and smoke coming from back side of residence.
E21 parked at angle to front side of house and hose, and went to the backside of home to find flames coming from back right corner through a window and eve area.
A second firefighter on E21 made entry through the front door closest to the highway with a front bumper line to find heavy smoke throughout house.
A right-hand sweep through front door, led a firefighter to hear whining sounds coming from a room. A sweep into the room led the firefighters to find a small dog on floor, which the firefighter rescued to outside.
Tanker 45 and Tanker 25 arrived on scene and pulled into the driveway behind E21. All other responding units arrived on scene, regrouped to search around residence for any hazards.
Then, an inside search in groups of twos to overhaul and extinguish any remaining hot spots was performed.
Several firefighters found and retrieved other dogs within the residence. Four puppies were able to be saved with the use of an oxygen mask. CPR was attempted on several adult dogs, but they did not revive.
The fire was contained to the far-left trailer add-on and it was extinguished immediately. A fan was placed at the front door for positive pressure to eliminate smoke. Complete overhaul of interior and exterior shows no hotspots, no hazards, all firefighters remained on scene until walk through by fire inspector shows clear.
The units were cleared and back in service at 34 minutes after midnight on Sept. 12.
Personnel responding to this call for help were Darian Brown, Scotty Pendarvis, Matt Ferguson, Michael Walker, Tim McElrath, Will Garner, Harvey Spence, Eddie Downing, Zack Thomas and Jon Mash.
Also, in September Hurricane Dorian caused issues for people from Aug. 24 through Sept. 7 from the Bahamas to North Carolina. The DCES was prepared for the storm if it would have impacted Dixie County
On Sept. 5 at 8:58 a.m., firefighters were dispatched to 406 N.E. 106th St. in Cross City, in reference to a wall outlet sparking and smoking.
All fire had been extinguished and the power turned off by the occupant who relayed this information to dispatch.
Firefighters and EMS staff arrived on the scene of the singlewide mobile home. There was no smoke or fire showing from three sides.
Firefighters entered the structure to find multiple exposed wall outlets and light switches protruding from the walls with bare wire exposed. The outlet next to the front door was the one that was smoking and sparking per the occupant.
No fire extension was found when checked with a TIC. The surrounding area was cool to the touch. The breaker panel was found in the rear bedroom and all breakers had been turned off by the occupant.
The exterior breaker box was located and showed exposed breakers hanging out of the box and there was no main power disconnect found in the box.
The occupant was advised of all hazards and was told not to restore power to the structure until an electrician could fix all of the life safety hazards.
Firefighters completed the call at 9:17 a.m.
On Sept. 9 at 2:39 firefighters were called to 3057 N.E. 353 Highway in Old Town.
A man had become burned when he fell into a pile of rash he was burning.
He was transported to a landing zone where a helicopter took him to a hospital.
The Florida Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services has a website to help people know the law about outdoor burning in Florida.
It can be visited by clicking HERE.
for fraud and theft
David Patrick Crombie
Mug Shot By GCSO
By Shelbie Hutto of the GCSO
Published Oct. 9, 2019 at 12:09 p.m.
TRENTON -- On Thursday (Oct. 3), 2019, David Patrick Crombie, 53, of Trenton, was arrested by Gilchrist County Sheriff's Office Inv. Sgt. Windy Ponce after the investigator uncovered probable cause to believe Crombie found and used a credit card that did not belong to him.
Crombie was charged with fraud-illegal use of credit card and larceny.
Bond was set at $2,500 and $1,000 respectively for those charges. Gilchrist County Court Judge Sheree H. Lancaster set the bond amounts during this suspect's first appearance on those charges.
Man dies in ATV crash
By Jeff M. Hardison © Oct. 9, 2019 at 12:09 p.m.
ALACHUA COUNTY – A 25-year-old Union County man died Tuesday night (Oct. 8) in an ATV crash, the FHP said.
Bradley Young, 25, of Lake Butler was driving a 2017 Honda ATV at 7:15 p.m. on Oct. 8 in Alachua County, according to press release from Florida Highway Patrol Sgt. Trent M. McFarland, based on information from crash investigator FHP Trooper J. Wilson and homicide investigator FHP Cpl. E. Sumner.
Stephen Brown, 67, of the City of Alachua was driving a 1998 Ford F-150, the FHP said.
The ATV was westbound on Alachua County Road 1491 approaching a 90-degree curve to the right, near 282nd Street, the FHP said. The pickup truck was traveling southbound on CR 1491, FHP said, approaching a 90-degree curve to the left.
For reasons that remain under investigation, the 2 vehicles collided with in the curve, the FHP said.
Young was taken to UF Health Shands Hospital in Gainesville, where he was later pronounced dead, the FHP said.
Brown suffered minor injuries and was not taken to a hospital, the FHP said. Brown was wearing a seatbelt, the FHP said. Lab results are pending to determine if alcohol was a factor in this crash, the FHP said,
Charges are pending completion of the traffic homicide investigation, the FHP said.
Wrong tag leads to arrests
Melissa Cherie Ellis
Mug Shot By LCSO
By LCSO Lt. Scott Tummond
Public Information Officer
Published Oct. 9, 2019 at 11:39 a.m.
BRONSON -- Deputy Blake Murphy of the Levy County Sheriff's Office was on patrol in the Bronson area on Thursday (Oct. 3), when he noticed a suspicious vehicle.
He requested a check of the tag and discovered that the tag attached to the suspicious vehicle was a cancelled tag. He then stopped the car and spoke to the driver.
The driver Melissa Cherie Ellis, 40, of Gainesville, did not have a valid driver’s license. In fact, her license was suspended and she told Deputy Murphy she knew the tag was not assigned to this vehicle.
Ellis was arrested and placed in the backseat of his patrol car.
Deputy Murphy spoke to the three passengers still in the vehicle. During this conversation, Deputy Murphy located a pink lunchbox that contained several different types of illegal narcotics.
The passengers told Deputy Murphy the lunchbox belonged to Ellis. Inside the lunchbox was MDMA, heroin, crack cocaine, methamphetamine and marijuana, along with loaded hypodermic syringes-needles filled with methamphetamine. Also located there were pipes used to smoke these various types of drugs.
Front seat passenger Jon Theodore Secreto, 40, of Gainesville,
was found to be in possession of drug paraphernalia and he too was arrested. Secreto was assigned a $2,500 bond for possession of drug paraphernalia.
Ellis was charged with multiple counts of possession of illegal drugs, possession of drug paraphernalia, driving on a suspended license and attaching a tag not assigned to a vehicle. Her combined bonds were set at $475,000 and she is still in custody.
Two more Dixie County women
join list of meth suspects
Karen Bradham-Williams (left) and Polly Thompson
Mug Shots By DCSO
By Jeff M. Hardison © Oct. 6, 2019 at 3:09 p.m.
DIXIE COUNTY -- Two more Dixie County women recently joined the list of people suspected of possessing methamphetamine, according to information in an Oct. 4 press release from Dixie County Sheriff's Office Maj. Scott Harden.
Both Karen Bradham-Williams, 42, of Old Town, and Polly Thompson, 38, of Horseshoe, were arrested, Maj. Harden said.
Their short-term residency at the Dixie County Jail resulted after a Monday night (Sept. 30) traffic stop for not having functional tag lights on the vehicle they were in, Maj. Harden said.
When the DCSO deputy stopped the vehicle near Northeast 223rd Avenue, he discovered that the driver Bradham-Williams was operating the vehicle on a suspended license.
Driving while license suspended or revoked in Florida is against the law, according to Florida Statute 322.24. It is a misdemeanor of the second degree, punishable as provided by law with a jail term of up to 60 days and a fine of up to $500, according to Florida law.
A subsequent search of the vehicle revealed a glass smoking pipe in the area of Bradham-Williams, Harden said.
When the deputy went to the other sided, he found a glass smoking pipe under the vehicle, Harden said.
It was learned that this pipe, which tested positive for methamphetamine, had been thrown under the vehicle by the vehicle’s passenger Thompson, Harden said.
Bradham-Williams was charged with Possession of Drug Paraphernalia, Harden said.
In Florida, the crime of possession of drug paraphernalia is a first degree misdemeanor and punishable by up to a maximum of one year in jail, one year of probation, and a $1,000 fine, according to law.
Thompson was charged with possession of a controlled substance, possession of drug paraphernalia and tampering with evidence.
Florida Statute 893.13(1)(a)(1) makes simple possession of methamphetamine a third degree felony punishable by up to five years in the Florida State prison system.
The crime of tampering with evidence is a third degree felony in Florida and is punishable by up to five years in prison, five years of probation, and $5,000 in fines.
Suspected seatbelt violation results in many other charges
Crystal L. Hope
Mug Shot By DCSO
By Jeff M. Hardison
© Oct. 6, 2019 at 10:39 a.m.
DIXIE OUNTY – A 34-year-old Immokalee woman learned that when the Florida Department of Highway Safety and Motor Vehicles present public service announcements that say “Click It Or Ticket,” that means suspected seatbelt violations can lead to law enforcement officers ticketing drivers who do not fasten their seatbelts.
Crystal L. Hope, 34, of Immokalee took up short-term residency in the Dixie County Jail on Monday evening (Sept. 30) as a result of facts and evidence a Dixie County Sheriff’s Office deputy subsequently uncovered that fateful eve, according to information in a press release from DCSO Maj. Scott Harden.
A seatbelt infraction is not an offense meriting incarceration, however Hope became arrested and charged with DWLSR, possession of a controlled substance (methamphetamine), possession of drug equipment and possession of a new legend drug, according to information Maj. Harden sent.
It was shortly after 6 p.m. on Sept. 30, Harden said, when a DCSO deputy saw a vehicle being driven on U.S. Highway 19 near Southeast 136th Street, Harden said.
The deputy saw that the driver was not wearing a seatbelt at the time and conducted a traffic stop near Southeast 136th Street, Harden said.
As the deputy was approaching the vehicle, Harden said, he saw that one of the numbers on the tag decal had been partially covered with tape.
It was subsequently learned that the tag had been expired since 2017, Harden said. Once the deputy made contact with the driver, who was identified as Hope, he learned that her driver’s license had been suspended, Harden said.
Hope was arrested for driving while license suspended or revoked (DWLSR) and the driver’s compartment of her vehicle was searched after that arrest, Harden said.
During the course of this search, Harden said, the deputy found two hypodermic syringes and needles in an eyeglass case along with a white substance that tested positive for methamphetamine.
The deputy then continued his search into the backseat area where he found three additional needles along with more methamphetamine and a pill identified as Pramipexale, Harden said.
Pramipexole is used alone or with other medications to treat the symptoms of Parkinson's disease (a disorder of the nervous system that causes difficulties with movement, muscle control, and balance), including shaking of parts of the body, stiffness, slowed movements, and problems with balance, according to pharmacy drug resource books. Pramipexole is also used to treat restless legs syndrome (RLS; a condition that causes discomfort in the legs and a strong urge to move the legs, especially at night and when sitting or lying down), according to pharmacy drug resource books, which note there is a danger to sudden cessation of using that drug.
That is when Hope was arrested for the additional charges of possession of a controlled substance (methamphetamine), possession of drug equipment and possession of a new legend drug, as noted above, Harden said.
James Norris aka
Richard Gunning murdered
45 years ago today;
If you have information
about this crime, call 352-498-1245
By the FDLE Office of Public Information
Published Oct. 4, 2019 at 3:19 p.m.
CROSS CITY – Dixie County’s oldest, and one of the Florida Department of Law Enforcement’s oldest, unsolved homicides happened 45 years ago today (Oct. 4, 2019).
The 1974 murder of James Norris, whose body was found in Dixie County, remains an active case with investigators pursuing leads.
“Someone has the information we need to solve this murder, and it’s never too late to come forward,” said FDLE Tallahassee Special Agent in Charge Mark Perez. “I urge anyone with information to contact FDLE Tallahassee or the Dixie County Sheriff’s Office.”
“Even after decades, we are actively working this case. We have a great deal of information, and we won’t stop until this case is solved,” said Dixie County Sheriff Dewey H. Hatcher Sr. “Just a little information could crack this case.”
On the morning of Oct. 4, 1974, San Francisco resident James Norris arrived by commercial flight in Miami. He was traveling under the alias Richard Gunning. The investigation shows that Norris traveled to Citrus County to purchase marijuana from an organization operating in that county. The investigation has uncovered the names of members of that organization.
Norris was carrying a large amount of cash with the intention of purchasing Columbian-grade marijuana that was not at the time available in California.
That afternoon, Norris mailed a postcard to his family from Inglis. That was the last contact his family had with him.
On April 16, 1976, a bulldozer operator cutting through the woods off U.S. Highway 19 in northern Dixie County, near the Taylor County line, came upon skeletal remains.
The body remained unidentified until 2011 when advances in DNA allowed the remains of James Norris to be positively identified.
If you have information about the murder of James Norris, please contact the Dixie County Sheriff’s Office at 352-498-1245 or FDLE Tallahassee at (800) 342-0820.
The Norris family has established a website, http://www.whokilledjamesnorris.com/, which describes the family’s long search for their loved one.
Man hurt in early morning crash
By Jeff M. Hardison © Oct. 4, 2019 at 8:19 a.m.
LEVY COUNTY -- A 27-year-old Crystal River man suffered critical injuries in a single car crash very early this morning (Friday, Oct. 4), the FHP said.
Shanon Wynell Mixon, 27, of Crystal River was driving a 2003 Lincoln Town Car at 12:23 a.m. on Oct. 4 in Levy County, according to information in a press release from Florida Highway Patrol Sgt. Javon Murphy, based on information from crash investigator FHP Trooper Glen Ganus.
The single-vehicle crash happened on State Road 121 north of Levy County Road 336, the FHP said.
The Lincoln had been southbound (which would be heading from Gainesville toward Williston) on SR 121 at a high rate of speed, the FHP said.
The vehicle left the road, the FHP said, struck several trees and overturned.
The driver was entrapped for some time, the FHP said, and after he was extricated from the vehicle, he was transported to Shands UF by helicopter with critical injuries.
He was wearing a seatbelt, the FHP said. It is unknown if alcohol was a factor, the FHP said. Charges are pending completion of the crash investigation, the FHP said.
Girl taken by helicopter
after pickup truck crash
By Jeff M. Hardison © Oct. 3, 2019 at 9:09 p.m.
DIXIE COUNTY – A 17-year-old Chiefland girl suffered serious injuries on Wednesday afternoon (Oct. 2) in a crash, the FHP said.
Briauna Amann, 17, of Chiefland was driving a 2000 Chevrolet Silverado at 12 p.m. on Oct. 2 in Dixie County, according to information in a press release from Florida Highway Patrol Lt. P.V. Riordan, based on information from crash investigator FHP Trooper Shane Taylor.
The pickup truck was southbound on U.S. Highway 19, the FHP said, north of Northeast 964th Street.
For unknown reasons, the vehicle went onto the west shoulder of U.S. 19, where it overturned and struck a tree.
The Silverado came to final rest upright, facing west, the FHP said.
Amann was entrapped in the vehicle, until she was extricated by members of Dixie County Emergency Services, the FHP said. The driver was airlifted to Shands UF in Gainesville, the FHP said, and was listed with serious injuries.
She was not wearing a seatbelt at the time of the crash, the FHP said. She was cited for careless driving, the FHP said.
Levy County deputy stabbed responding to domestic dispute
Mug Shot By LCSO
By LCSO Lt. Scott Tummond
Public Information Officer
Published Oct. 2, 2019 at 4:49 p.m.
BRONSON -- Levy County Sheriff's Office deputies responded to a home in Williston shortly after midnight this morning (Wednesday, Oct. 2) to a report of a domestic dispute between siblings.
The complainant reported that 19-year-old Daniel Gelormino of Williston destroyed the interior of the home, burned clothing in the yard and broke all of the windows in the home.
Deputies arrived and found Gelormino passed out and unresponsive in the complainant’s car that was parked in the driveway. Deputies attempted to wake Gelormino but were unable to.
The Levy County Department of Public Safety’s EMS was summoned to the scene to evaluate Gelormino, and while waiting for their arrival, Gelormino regained consciousness. He immediately became combative with deputies who attempted several times to keep him calm and seated in the car until he could be medically evaluated.
Gelormino shoved one deputy who was attempting to calm him. Gelormino then pulled a steak knife from his pocket and attacked the deputy, stabbing him in the forearm.
The deputies disarmed Gelormino and handcuff him before he was able to use the knife to cause other injuries to these deputies. The stab wound was minor and not life-threatening. This deputy was treated on scene by EMS.
Gelormino was evaluated by EMS prior to being transported to the Levy County Jail. He has been charged with aggravated battery on a law enforcement officer, battery on a law enforcement officer and resisting arrest with violence.
Gelormino was not present at first appearance this morning because his behavior at the detention facility prevented Detention Officers from processing him. He will have his first appearance tomorrow (Oct. 3) and a bond will be assigned by a judge then.
“I am very thankful our deputy was not seriously injured,” Levy County Sheriff Bobby McCallum said, “but this is an example of the dangers our personnel face each and every day. We respond to many physical and domestic disturbance calls every day and the inherent danger is always there.
“I am very proud of the men and women of this office that serve our citizens with professionalism and compassion every day,” Sheriff McCallum continued. “The professionalism of these two deputies involved in this call for assistance resulted in the victims and defendant being protected from injury even after our deputy was not so fortunate!”
three suspected burglars
James Clayton Parrish Jr. (left) Brandon Andrew Dicks
James Ray Charles (Photo Not Available)
Mug Shots By GCSO
By Shelbie Hutto of the GCSO
and public records
Published Oct. 2, 2019 at 4:19 p.m.
GILCHRIST -- On Saturday (Sept. 28), Gilchrist County Sheriff's Office deputies responded to the Bell Mini Storage, 1869 N. Main St., Bell, after a report that a storage locker had been burglarized.
Numerous items were reported stolen, including a recreational vehicle and a three-wheeler.
GCSO K-9 Deputy Garth Frier’s initial investigation led to the arrest of James Clayton Parrish Jr., 32, of O’Brien (Suwannee County) for burglary of a conveyance (bond was set at $25,000), and two counts of grand theft (bond was $25,000 each) for a total bond of $75,000, plus $2,000 for other charges for a total of $77,000, according to records.
During the investigation, K-9 Deputy Frier learned two other subjects were involved and they were possibly in another county with the stolen property.
GCSO Lt. Scotty Douglas, Lt. Keagon Weatherford and Det. Sgt. Steven Stalvey responded to assist with the investigation.
Sgt. Stalvey located the other two suspects in this case James Ray Charles, 33, and Brandon Andrew Dicks, 34, both of Lake City (Columbia County), along with most of the stolen property, with the assistance of Columbia County Sheriff’s Office.
The two suspects were arrested at the GCSO in Trenton and booked into the Gilchrist County Jail for burglary of a conveyance (bond was set at $50,000), and two counts of grand theft (bond was set at $50,000 for each count).
Both of those two suspects’ bonds each were set at $150,000 by Gilchrist County Court Judge Sheree H. Lancaster.
Major changes to
prescribed burning announced
by Commissioner Nikki Fried
By FDACS Office of Communications
Published Oct. 2, 2019 at 3:19 p.m.
TALLAHASSEE – On Tuesday (Oct. 1), Florida Agriculture Commissioner Nicole “Nikki” Fried announced major changes and enhancements to the state’s prescribed burning program, which is authorized by the Florida Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services and the Florida Forest Service.
Prescribed burning in Florida is a national model for successfully managing statewide forests and lands through safe, controlled, carefully managed prescribed fire. A scientifically sound practice, prescribed burning is used to reduce the threat of wildfires and manage agricultural lands for cattle grazing, sugarcane, and timber.
“Keeping Florida’s residents, communities, and environment safe is my number one priority. The historic changes we’re announcing today will enhance public safety, reduce human impacts, and appropriately regulate prescribed burning, a practice with a strong scientific basis,” Commissioner Fried said. “Upon taking office, I committed to taking new approaches to issues, and today’s enhancements are the first changes in nearly 30 years to some of these procedures. These changes are the first step, not the last, and we’re looking towards continued improvements on safe, sustainable burning practices, in cooperation with Florida’s foresters, farmers, ranchers, and communities.”
Standing alongside State Forester and Florida Forest Service Director Jim Karels, Fried announced the following changes statewide, effective immediately:
● Air Quality Index: Burn authorizations will now factor in Air Quality Index, a measure of environmental air quality, using 185 ambient monitors at 95 monitoring sites statewide
● fiResponse: A state-of-the-art software system will be implemented to provide better real-time information for wildfire emergency responders, and more user-friendly fire maps for the public
● Smoke Plume Prediction Tool: Major updates to the Forest Service’s smoke plume prediction tool are being implemented, to include the latest weather models
Fried also announced the following changes related to sugarcane burning, effective immediately:
● 80-Acre Buffer: A minimum 80-acre (two field) buffer is now required between wildlands and burns in sugarcane fields on dry, windy days to reduce wildfire threat
● No Nighttime Burning: No nighttime burns will be permitted without special approval from the Forest Service director’s office
● Fog Advisories: On days with fog advisories, burning will be banned before 11 a.m., to enhance public safety and smoke dispersion
Muck Fires: Landowners will now have 72 hours, reduced from 96 hours, to suppress all muck fires
Commissioner Fried noted that additional changes will be announced in the near future, which potentially include a shorter burning season, potential improvements to the zone model for enhanced population safety, increased compliance checks and training, and fines and penalties for noncompliance with regulations.
Fried noted efforts are needed to encourage green harvesting by working with corporate partners on manufacturing and purchasing sugarcane biomass.
The Florida Forest Service, a division of the Florida Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services, manages more than 1 million acres of state forests and provides forest management assistance on more than 17 million acres of private and community forests. The Florida Forest Service is also responsible for protecting homes, forestland and natural resources from the devastating effects of wildfire on more than 26 million acres.
Crash victim identified
By Jeff M. Hardison © Oct. 1, 2019 at 5:09 p.m.
LEVY COUNTY – The identity of a crash victim was provided Tuesday afternoon (Oct. 1), after she died in a crash on July 31.
Bre Ann Stephens, 22. of Williston died in a fiery crash in Levy County on July 31, according to a press release from Florida Highway Patrol Sgt. Tomas Dillon.
FHP Lt. P.V. Riordan provided the victim's name on Oct. 1. She had not been positively identified for a period of time after the crash.
FHP Trooper Chrystal Sollazzo was the crash investigator and the homicide investigator was not listed by name, according to the press release.
Stephens was driving a 2007 Ford Edge at 5:48 p.m. on July 31 on Northeast 25th Street near Northeast 212th Court, the FHP said.
The Ford was westbound on Northeast 25th Street (a dirt road), the FHP said.
The vehicle veered left across the roadway, the FHP said, and went onto the southern grass shoulder of Northeast 25th Street near Northeast 212th Court.
The Ford then veered right, and traveled across the roadway and onto the northern shoulder before the front end of the vehicle hit a tree, the FHP said.
After impacting the tree, the FHP said, the Ford rotated clockwise before coming to final rest facing north blocking all of Northeast 25th Street.
The Ford caught fire upon impact with the tree with driver still inside, the FHP said. The driver was pronounced dead at the scene of the crash by personnel with the Levy County Department of Public Safety’s Fire-Rescue staff.
Two suspected felons
released to parents
By Jeff M. Hardison © Oct. 1, 2019 at 9:29 a.m.
DIXIE COUNTY – Two boys suspected of destroying expensive equipment were released to their parents a week ago Monday (Sept. 23) after being arrested that day for felonies that were discovered Sunday (Sept. 22), according to a Sept. 30 Dixie County Sheriff’s Office press release.
The suspected juvenile delinquents who destroyed tens of thousands of dollars’ worth of heavy equipment were arrested a day after their alleged trespass and felonious vandalism was discovered thanks to investigators who uncovered facts and evidence to support the arrests, according to the press release from DCSO Maj. Scott Harden.
On that Sunday (Sept. 22), the DCSO received a report of criminal mischief involving two pieces of heavy equipment at a privately-owned rock pit on Northeast 50th Street, Maj. Harden said.
When the deputy arrived, Harden said, he saw two pieces of equipment had been driven. One of them was partially driven into the water, Harden said, adding that the second piece of equipment was then damaged after the suspects used the bucket of the other piece of equipment to crush portions of the first piece. Early estimates in damage exceed $50,000, Harden said, with this value expected to increase when manufacturer’s representatives finish their appraisals.
On Monday (Sept. 23), Harden noted in the Sept. 30 press release, investigators began interviewing possible witnesses in the neighborhood. Investigators learned of two possible juvenile suspects, Harden said.
Shortly thereafter, Harden said, one of the juvenile’s parents became aware of the incident and brought her son to the DCSO to meet with investigators.
Later that day, the two 15-year-old boys were arrested for felony criminal mischief and trespassing on posted land other than a structure, Harden said.
After booking and referral to the Florida Department of Juvenile Justice, that Department directed the boys to be released to their parents, Harden said.
United States Coast Guard
rescues five near Naples;
Marine radio recommended
as equipment to own,
because cell phones may not be enough
By USCG PA Detachment Tampa Bay
Published Sept. 28, 2019 at 9:39 a.m.
ST. PETERSBURG -- The United States Coast Guard rescued five people whose vessel was disabled near Naples, this morning (Saturday, Sept. 28) after hours of searching.
The five were found by an Air Station Clearwater MH-60 Jayhawk aircrew safe aboard a 24-foot angler with mechanical failure and no marine radio.
A Coast Guard Station Ft. Myers Beach 45-foot Response Boat—Medium boatcrew arrived on scene at 6:11 a.m., and transported them to Gordon's Pass.
Watchstanders at Coast Guard Sector St. Petersburg, received a report at 12:57 a.m., Saturday from a person stating that their friends did not arrive at a fishing spot 33 miles west of Naples. The watchstanders directed the launch of the Station Ft. Myers boatcrew and the Jayhawk aircrew to search.
Collier County assisted in the search with visits to Bay Shore Marina as well as wellness checks with families of two on the overdue vessel.
The Coast Guard encourages all mariners to have a marine-band radio to monitor channel 16 and to have a float plan with someone they trust of where they are going and when they should return.
"A cooperative effort between the Coast Guard and Collier County responders led to the successful rescue of five persons at sea today," said Capt. Matthew Thompson, Coast Guard Sector St. Petersburg commander. "I can’t stress enough the importance of having a VHF marine radio to contact authorities for help as cellular phones often don’t have coverage in the offshore environment."
Florida Forest Service
urges caution as dry conditions
elevate wildfire threat
This is the Keetch-Byram Drought Index as of Sept. 26. It is updated once every day at 1:15 p.m. Eastern/12:15 p.m. Central (Standard) or 2:15 p.m. Eastern/1:00 p.m. Central (Daylight Saving).
By the FDACS Office of Communications
Published Sept. 27, 2019 at 8:09 a.m.
TALLAHASSEE -- The Florida Forest Service is urging Floridians to exercise caution as record high temperatures and dry conditions are expected to continue throughout the state, elevating the fire danger level.
“Florida’s dry conditions and high temperatures pose elevated wildfire threats throughout the state. I encourage all Floridians and visitors to be vigilant and cautious with all outdoor fire,” Commissioner of Agriculture Nicole “Nikki” Fried said. “When citizens exercise caution, they’re doing more than just protecting themselves and their property – they’re helping protect the lives of Florida’s wildland firefighters and first responders.”
The Keetch-Byram Drought Index (KBDI), which ranges from 0 (very wet) to 800, is used by the Florida Forest Service to indicate the dryness of the soil and surface fuels. The current statewide KBDI is 392. In addition, nearly every Florida county is below normal rainfall for the month of September. In the Panhandle, some areas are 18 inches below normal rainfall.
“Conditions are especially dangerous for firefighters working to suppress fires in the Panhandle where Hurricane Michael left an exponential volume of damaged timber resulting in dense pockets of vegetation,” State Forester and Director of the Florida Forest Service Jim Karels said.
While lightning is one of the leading causes of wildfires in Florida, most of the wildfires this year have been human-caused and many were caused by escaped yard debris burning.
The Florida Forest Service is urging the public to avoid yard debris burning due to the elevated fire threat and to use extreme caution when using fire outdoors, including campfires and grills. The following are recommendations to minimize the threat of wildfires:
● Never burn on dry, windy days;
● Never leave a fire or outdoor heat source unattended;
● Keep a water source and a shovel or suppression tool on-hand;
● Completely extinguish any fire before leaving it;
● Avoid parking over dry, grassy areas; and
● Ensure chainsaws, off-highway vehicles, and motorcycles have spark arrestors.
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
Oct. 7 Through Oct. 13
Updated Oct. 14, 2019 at 10:39 p.m.
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
Oct. 7 Through Oct. 13
Updated Oct. 14, 2019 at 10:39 p.m.