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Cedar Key Police Department Reports

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By Chief Bubba Castell

Hello everyone and welcome to the New Year. Your police department personnel certainly wishes everyone a very happy and healthy New Year, looking forward to serving each and every one of you in a professional and courteous manner. While meeting your needs and gaining your respect, we realize your contact with us is not always the most pleasant, but we will try to reduce any anxiety that these contacts may develop by being pleasant and understanding in these trying situations.

Since the last press release we have been rather busy and much to our regret DUI's constantly increased during the last few days of 2007. We still respectfully stand by our continuing ZERO TOLERANCE in all DUI cases. Apparently we are constantly hoping against hope that everyone will abide by our suggestion of having a designated driver, when becoming impaired, or using the "taxi service" made available by Coconuts Bar and Grille. This was our effort to get everyone home safely through the weeks of the holiday season, without costly court proceedings or even possible jail time. PLEASE: DO NOT DRINK EXCESSIVELY AND DRIVE. REMEMBER: THE LIFE YOU SAVE COULD BE YOUR OWN, A RELATIVE, LOVED ONE OR A BELOVED FRIEND. THANK YOU FOR YOUR COMPLIANCE IN THIS REQUEST. Now for the cold hard facts about those who do not listen to our continuing requests.

Dec. 17, approximately 11:45 p.m., Corporal Eddie Merritt observed a Chevrolet truck making a sharp turn off Second Street on to SR24, almost striking a legally parked vehicle on SR24.The vehicle rapidly accelerated to 40 mph in the 30 mph zone inside the city limits and was drifting left to right, crossing the double yellow center lines of the roadway twice. Cpl. Merritt stopped the vehicle at Cedar Street and SR24, making contact with the driver, Mr. Michael A. Beauchamp, age 34, of Dixie County, smelling a strong odor of an alcoholic beverage coming from the driver's breath, when asking for his driver's license, registration and proof of insurance. The driver's speech was slurred and his eyes were bloodshot. The driver stated he had had a couple of Bud Light beers at the Raw Bar, when asked by Cpl. Merritt. The driver submitted to a battery of field sobriety tests, failing all but the "finger to nose" part of the tests given by Cpl. Merritt. Mr. Beauchamp was arrested for DUI and transported to the Levy County Jail where he agreed to take an Intoxilizer Test to determine his Blood Alcohol Content. The results were: 0.135 and 0.131, resulting in the driver being detained for first appearance at the Levy County Jail.

Dec. 22, approximately 11:43 p.m., Cpl. Eddie Merritt observed a Ford truck make a wide radius turn on to SR24 off Second Street, remaining in the opposing traffic lane for approximately three blocks, before returning to the normal lane of traffic. Cpl Merritt pursued the vehicle, when the driver accelerated to 87 mph in the 35 mph zone, as targeted by radar. In pursuit the vehicle was paced clocked in excess of 100 mph by Cpl. Merritt in the 45 - 55 - and 60 mph speed zones. Cpl. Merritt pursued the vehicle for approximately seven miles observing the driver crossing into the on-coming traffic lane, causing vehicles to move over to the shoulder of the roadway to avoid an accident. Cpl. Merritt finally stopped the vehicle approximately five miles east of CR347. The driver, Mr. Larry Wayne Baker, Jr, age 33, of Chiefland, FL was asked to exit his vehicle, which he did. As the driver walked to the rear of his vehicle he was staggering and appeared to be intoxicated. While speaking to the driver Cpl. Merritt smelled what appeared to be the odor of an alcoholic beverage coming from his breath; his speech was slurred and his eyes were bloodshot and watery. Mr. Baker originally agreed to take a battery of Field Sobriety Tests, but was very uncooperative, when given directions by Cpl. Merritt, by refusing to place his hands on the trunk of the patrol vehicle, resulting in Cpl. Merritt having to forcefully place him in handcuffs before transporting him to the Levy County Jail on the initial charge of DUI. Mr. Baker refused to take an Intoxilizer Test to determine his Blood Alcohol Content, as well as refusing to sign the appropriate citations, when requested to do so by Cpl. Merritt. Officer Perry, while inventorying the vehicle, prior to it being towed, found open containers of beer, and an almost empty bottle of Vodka. Officer Perry also found a glass pipe, used for smoking marijuana, and a "grinder," also used in processing marijuana for smoking, in the vehicle's console. Mr. Baker was subsequently charged with possession of drug paraphernalia, based on Officer Perry's findings. He was booked into the Levy County Jail on the aforementioned charges, where he awaited first appearance.

Dec. 23, approximately 8 a.m., Officer David Reinstra made contact with Mr. Anthony Ryan Adams reference to a Criminal Mischief charge: Vandalizing an automobile, which occurred between the hours of 10 p.m., Dec. 20, and 9 a.m., Dec. 21. Mr. Adams freely stated he damaged the vehicle and would pay for the repairs. Officer Reinstra asked Levy County Communications Center to check Mr. Adams reference any past history or pending warrants. Officer Reinstra was advised that Alachua County has three outstanding warrants for his arrest. Mr. Adams was arrested and transported to the Levy County Jail by Officer Reinstra, where he awaited the arrival of Alachua County Deputies to transport him to their facility. The warrants involved: Burglary of a Dwelling; Theft of more than $300 but less than $5,000, and Driving While License were Suspended or Revoked.

Dec. 23, approximately 7:45PM, Cpl. Eddie Merritt, while observing traffic on SR24, had a white truck pass his location going 40MPH in the 30MPH speed zone and began accelerating. Cpl. Merritt began pursuit of the vehicle, observing the driver straddling the center line, drifting right, crossing the fog line on to the shoulder of the roadway, throwing up dust and rocks as the vehicle continued east on SR24. Cpl. Merritt initiated a traffic stop of the vehicle after activating his emergency lights, asking the driver, Mr. Clifton D. Spivey, age 25, of Cedar Key, for his driver's license, insurance card and vehicle registration. The driver advised he had none of these with him at this time. Cpl. Merritt smelled what appeared to be an odor of alcoholic beverages coming from the driver's breath and asked the driver how much he had had to drink. The driver first stated he had not consumed any alcoholic beverages and was only in town on business. The driver then stated he had consumed two Bud Light beers. He then agreed to submit to field sobriety tests in an effort to determine his ability to appropriately drive a vehicle. Mr. Spivey failed the tests as administered by Cpl. Merritt and was subsequently placed under arrest for Driving Under the Influence of alcohol. During the trip to the Levy County Jail Mr. Spivey kicked one window of the vehicle out of alignment; then proceeded to kick out the window on the back passenger side of the cruiser. He then leaned half his body out the open window, pressing his face against the front passenger window. At that time Cpl. Merritt stopped the vehicle, calling dispatch for assistance in detaining Mr. Spivey. Several Levy County Deputies arrived to assist and Mr. Spivey was successfully transported to the Levy County Jail where he refused to take an Intoxilizer Test to determine his BAC. He was booked into the jail on Driving Under the Influence of an alcoholic beverage and awaited first appearance.

Dec. 24, approximately 2:25 p.m., Sgt. John McMullen was called to the Island Jiffy Store, corner of SR24 and Whiddon Avenue, reference a possible theft. Upon Sgt. John's arrival he met with the manager and assistant manager of the store, who advised that Ms. Tania Mabie, age 35, of Cedar Key, store clerk, had worked in the store the following days, Dec. 20 and Dec. 21, and approximately $496 in scratch-off lottery tickets were missing on those days. Too, the manager stated approximately $1,187 in cash was also amiss. Ms. Mabie admitted to taking the lottery tickets, but adamantly denied any cash money. Ms. Mabie was arrested by Sgt. John transported to the Levy County Jail and booked in on the charge of Grand Theft. Investigation into the remaining funds is continuing at this time.

Dec. 25, approximately 8:27 p.m., Officer Mike Cosseboom observed a golf cart failing to stop at the stop sign on First Street and C Street. Officer Mike conducted a traffic stop at the City Marina near A Street, making contact with the driver, Mr. Taylor Christiansen Bailey, age 19, of Apalachicola. Officer Mike asked Mr. Bailey for his driver's license, advising him he was being stopped for failure to stop at a stop sign. Mr. Bailey was asked if he had been drinking anything alcoholic, as Officer Mike smelled what appeared to be an odor of an alcoholic beverage coming from the driver of the golf cart's breath. Mr. Bailey stated he had not, although his eyes were watery and bloodshot, Mr. Bailey was also unsteady on his feet when he stepped off the golf cart and the odor of an alcoholic beverage was even more apparent coming from his breath at that time. Mr. Bailey consented to a Battery of Field Sobriety Tests to determine his ability to drive a motorized vehicle. Officer Mike determined after Mr. Bailey's participation in the field sobriety tests that he was under the influence of an alcoholic beverage and placed him under arrest on the charge of DUI. Mr. Bailey was transported to the Levy County Jail where he submitted to an Intoxilizer Test to determine his Blood Alcohol Content and the results were: 0.105 and 0.108. Mr. Bailey was booked in accordingly and awaited first appearance to determine a bond setting.

Dec. 29, approximately 12:54 a.m., Officer Mike Cosseboom, while traveling west on Dock Street, observed a male and female wrestling on the sidewalk. As Officer Mike slowed down the male, Mr. Richard Daniel Anderson, age 29, of Cedar Key, approached the vehicle stating that Ms. Deana Michelle Anderson Esslinger, age 26, of Cedar Key, had bit him on his left arm; showing the Officer the bite mark. Ms. Esslinger admitted biting Mr. Anderson, but stated he had struck her upon her neck prior to her biting him. Officer Mike observed a red mark on Ms. Esslinger's neck and both were arrested at that time for Domestic Battery on each other. Both were transported to the Levy County Jail and charged accordingly. Victim Rights forms were also filed by Officer Mike. Both awaited first appearance.

Dec. 29, approximately 10:16 p.m., Officer Mike Cosseboom initiated a traffic stop of a vehicle traveling 70 mph in the posted 45 mph zone and made contact with the vehicle's driver; Ms. Stephany Cardenas, age 22, of Miami. Ms. Cardenas was cited for the excessive speed. At this time Sgt. John McMullen, K-9 Officer, asked Ms. Cardenas if she had anything in the vehicle if there was anything in the vehicle that she should not have. She replied: There is Cannabis in the passenger door. Sgt. John located a cigar container with Cannabis inside. Sgt. John then walked K-9 Tess around the outside of the vehicle and she alerted on the outside of the vehicle. K-9 Tess was then placed inside the vehicle and she alerted on the center console. A search of the area was conducted and a cigar "roach" was located in a Cigarette package wrapped in a toll receipt. Two unused cigars were also located in the console. A small "roach" was also located in the ashtray of the vehicle. A preliminary check was made through LCSO Communications and an outstanding warrant was confirmed on the passenger in the vehicle; Mr. Pablo Daniel of Miami, FL. An additional report was filed involving Mr. Daniel's arrest. Ms. Cardenas was arrested on the charges of Possession of less than 20 grams of Cannabis and possession of drug paraphernalia. She was transported to the Levy County Jail and booked accordingly, where she awaited first appearance and bond setting.

Dec. 29, approximately 10:40 p.m., Officer Mike Cosseboom arrested Mr. Pablo Daniel of Miami, FL on an outstanding warrant out of Palm Beach County and transported him to the Levy County Jail, where he was booked in on the outstanding Miami Warrant. The Warrant was issued for Burglary of a Dwelling and Grand Theft in excess of $20,000.

Jan. 1, approximately 12:20 a.m., Officer David Perry was monitoring traffic on SR24 when he observed a vehicle that appeared to be exceeding the posted 30 mph speed zone in the area. Officer Perry engaged his vehicle's radar which indicated the vehicle was traveling 52 mph and he began to observe the pattern of the vehicle ahead of him. The vehicle crossed the fog line and traveled back across the double yellow center line. At that time Officer Perry initiated a traffic stop and the driver exited his vehicle almost immediately. Officer Perry requested the normal driver's license, insurance card and registration from the driver; Mr. Troy Owen Newsome, age 36, from Gainesville. Officer Perry observed what appeared to be the smell of the impurities of alcohol coming from the vehicle driver's breath, as well as noting his eyes were bloodshot. The driver admitted to having had "a few drinks" and agreed to participate in a series of roadside sobriety tests. Mr. Newsome failed to properly complete the tests, as given by Officer Perry, and was subsequently arrested for DUI. After being transported to the Levy County Jail Mr. Newsome refused to take the Intoxilizer Test to determine his BAC, and was booked in on the charge of DUI. He awaited first appearance and bond setting procedures.

Jan. 1, approximately 12:36 a.m., Cpl. Eddie Merritt observed a large crowd of people in the middle of Dock Street apparently engaged in a physical altercation. Upon Cpl. Merritt's arrival the suspect, Mr. Michael Anthony Tramontana, age 26, Crystal River, took flight from the area. Cpl. Merritt pursued Mr. Tramontana, placed him in custody, pending further investigation of the previous altercation. The witnesses at the scene provided information that Mr. Tramontana had, in fact, initiated the altercation and had struck two different victims, resulting in him being charged with two counts of misdemeanor battery. He was transported to the Levy County Jail; booked in on the two aforementioned charges and awaited first appearance and bond setting procedures.

Well, the children's vacation is over and the trek back to school has begun, so let us not forget: WHEN THE LIGHTS ARE FLASHING IN THIS AREA THE SPEED LIMIT IS 15 MILES PER HOUR AND FINES ARE DOUBLED WHEN YOU ARE CITED IN THE SCHOOL ZONE. I cannot emphasize this enough as some of our children meander out into the streets, although we discourage them from this practice at all times. Please, drive carefully at all times, but especially in the area our children walk to and from the school grounds.

Jan. 6, was a sad day for Cedar Key, as we paid our last respects to two of our most precious citizens: Ms. Mary Hale Mizell and "Little" Harry Rogers. It is somewhat strange that the two had homes directly across from each other: both at the intersection of Second (Main) Street and D Street. They will definitely be missed by a lot of us and I hope to meet with them once again when my time is up here in this temporary home. Remember: Enjoy your family, friends and loved ones, as we are never sure when our name will be called. Express your love and devotion to those special to you. Never be afraid to tell someone you love them, as we do not know the day, or time, when we will be called.

Thank you for reading our local papers and support them when you can with your advertisements, always letting them know what you agree and disagree with in their respective releases. They are always open minded and like most means of communication systems appreciate input from all their readers. I, for one, would love to hear from Gene Benedict, as he was one of our most entertaining writers in the recent past. If anyone else is interested in this let our editors know and perhaps they will contact Gene, once again requesting his input about Trouble in Cedar Key. Until next time, Good Luck and may the Good Lord taking a liking to all of you.