Hate crime charges filed against 2 in Black man's beating
Two white Florida men have been charged with a federal hate crime for allegedly beating a Black man in a store parking lot while yelling racial slurs. Roy Lashley, 55, and Robert Lashley, 52, were indicted by a grand jury, the U.S. Justice Department said in a news release Friday. The pair had already been charged with assault and battery under state law for the November attack of the Black man in the parking lot of a Family Dollar store in Citrus County, which is north of the Tampa area.news.yahoo.com
Man accused of killing retired deputy who was delivering propane
WEIRSDALE, Fla. — A Weirsdale man was arrested Tuesday after fatally shooting a retired Citrus County deputy, the Marion County Sheriff’s Office said Wednesday. Read: See inside treehouse hideout of man accused of killing Daytona Beach police officerDetectives said Smolensky had traveled to the home to deliver propane for his employer, Suburban Propane. They said Steven Alan Swearingen, 38, confronted Smolensky and held him at gunpoint, refusing to let him leave or return to his propane truck, before shooting Smolensky to death. Read: LIVE UPDATES: Testimony continues in penalty phase of Markeith Loyd trialSmolensky had worked for the Citrus County Sheriff’s Office for 25 years before retiring in 2017. “We would like to commend our counterparts there at MCSO for quickly apprehending this suspect before another tragedy unfolded,” Citrus County Sheriff Mike Prendergast said in a statement.wftv.com
Hummer catches fire after Florida driver fills up 4 containers of gasoline
Hummer catches fire A Hummer SUV caught fire after a person put four 5-gallon containers in the back of the vehicle on Wednesday. (Citrus County Fire Rescue)HOMOSASSA, Fla. — A Hummer burst into flames Wednesday after the driver filled up four containers of gasoline at a Florida gas station, authorities said. >> Read more trending newsCrews from Citrus County Fire Rescue were dispatched to the fire at the Texaco Food Mart in Homosassa at about 10:52 a.m. EDT, the Citrus County Chronicle reported. A Hummer burst into flames yesterday right after firefighters say the driver filled up four 5-gallon containers of gasoline in Citrus County. Citrus County fire officials said one person was injured but refused to be transported for medical treatment, WTVT reported.wftv.com
Manatee found in Florida river with ‘Trump’ scratched on its skin
CITRUS COUNTY, Fla. – A manatee was recently spotted swimming along the Homosassa River with the word “Trump” scraped onto its skin and now, a federal investigation is underway. Fish and Wildlife Service is investigating. Fish & Wildlife Service is investigating the harassment of a manatee...reported to federal authorities over the weekend discovered w/ words "Trump" scraped in its back ...discovered in Blue Hole on the Homosassa River” (via @CitrusChronicle )-Insurrectioning wildlife? Fish and Wildlife Service. Fish and Wildlife Service is aware of this incident and is working closely with the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission.
Authorities arrest man accused of abducting woman after killing family member
SUMTER COUNTY, Fla. – Deputies have found and arrested a man who was wanted after abducting a woman Saturday morning. Within minutes, a detective found the alleged suspect vehicle heading west on State Road 44 in Citrus County. With the assistance of the Citrus County Sheriff’s Office, officials said a pursuit ensued, at which time Thomas drove the stolen vehicle he was occupying into Lake Spivey. Officials said that upon his release, he will be booked into the Citrus County Jail and await extradition back to Sumter County. ***ORIGINAL STORY***The Sumter County Sheriff’s Office is searching for a woman they say was abducted Saturday morning.
Man faces attempted murder charge in drug-related shooting, deputies say
CITRUS COUNTY, Fla. – A man fired multiple shots Monday after an argument over drugs led to gunfire, according to the Citrus County Sheriff’s Office. Deputies said Sidney Benton was in Marion County earlier that day with a woman who lives in the area when he got into a drug-related fight with another woman. He’s also expected to face charges in connection with the altercation in Marion County. In this case, drug activity escalated to a firearm being discharged in a residential area, which could have had fatal consequences,” Citrus County Sheriff Mike Prendergast said in a news release. “Detective Laborda’s diligence and cooperation with our partners at the Marion County Sheriff’s Office removed a violent offender from the streets, making both our communities safer.”
Mount Dora woman killed in crash on CR-491, troopers say
CITRUS COUNTY, Fla. – The Florida Highway Patrol is investigating a fatal crash on County Road 491. The crash happened on Wednesday in Citrus County just before 5 p.m. According to FHP, a 40-year-old man was driving southbound on CR-491 near West Glen Pines Court. A 61-year-old woman was driving northbound, towards the man when he left the southbound lane and drove into the oncoming traffic, authorities said. The woman died at the scene of the crash, troopers said.
Ocala lawyer secures $9.6 million verdict
An Ocala lawyer has secured a $9.6 million verdict for a Citrus County man seriously injured in a motorcycle wreck more than a year ago. He has chronic pain in his pelvis and left arm and permanent disfigurement, Hightower told the Star-Banner in an interview. On Feb. 10, the case was litigated in a Citrus County courtroom. Hightower told the Star-Banner its the largest verdict he has ever secured for a client. Now 28, Searcy is living with his family in Citrus County, Hightower said.ocala.com
Man who fled cops in Marion, Alachua counties captured in Georgia
The aggravated stalking suspect, Charles Rice, 31, fled from deputies in the Ocala area. A Bushnell man wanted in Citrus County for aggravating stalking and other charges was captured in Georgia Tuesday after leading Florida law enforcement officials on a chase through Marion, Levy and Alachua counties. Marion County sheriffs deputies were called to State Road 200 by a woman after Rice showed up at her place of employment. Law enforcement officials said the chase went through Williston and ended up in Alachua County. A bulletin was issued for Rices arrest and law enforcement officials had been searching for him.ocala.com
Suspect at large after chase in Marion, Levy, Alachua counties
The aggravated stalking suspect, Charles Rice, 31, fled from deputies in the Ocala area. A Bushnell man wanted in Citrus County for aggravating stalking led law enforcement officials on a chase through Marion, Levy and Alachua counties Tuesday morning. The suspect, Charles Rice, 31, remained at large, and Alachua County sheriffs deputies were looking for him Tuesday afternoon. Law enforcement officials said the chase went through Williston and ended up in Alachua County. Alachua County sheriffs deputies were prepared to join the pursuit, but the chase was canceled because of safety concerns as Rice drove erratically near two schools, officials said.ocala.com
Citrus County Ban of New York Times: Not in Flagler
The county administrator, commissioners and members of the Library Board of Trustees all say they wouldnt dream of replicating what Citrus County commissioners recently did when such a request crossed their dais. In late October the Citrus County Commission said it would turn down its public librarys request for a $2,657-a-year digital subscription to The New York Times. Citrus County Commissions Decision on The Times:This is the librarys request, the seemingly nonplussed Citrus County Manager Randy Oliverone of the sharpest and cultured managers in the statetold Smith. Sorry Eric, Smith continued, referring to Eric Head, the county library director. I support Donald Trump. In fact, the subscription would allow access to weekday and Sunday editions for up to 140,000 usersthe actual population of Citrus County.flaglerlive.com
Flagler Hepatitis Cases Up to 9, Volusia Has 3rd Highest Total in State, With 236
Another 64 cases of hepatitis A were reported to the state last week, bringing the total number of reported cases this year to 2,609, according to state data as of Saturday. Citrus County had nine new reported cases last week, the largest number in the state, a News Service of Florida analysis shows. Volusia County had the second-highest number of newly reported cases with seven, bringing its total number of reported cases to 236. Pinellas County had five newly reported cases, bringing its total this year to 363. Flagler County saw an increase of just one case since the previous week, to a total of nine.flaglerlive.com
Florida sheriff fatally strikes pedestrian, deputies say
CITRUS COUNTY, Fla. – A Florida sheriff fatally struck a pedestrian who was crossing a highway Wednesday night, according to the Citrus County Sheriff's Office. Deputies said Citrus County Sheriff Mike Prendergast was driving from a board meeting around 9 p.m. when a pedestrian entered the outside traffic lane of U.S. Highway 19 in Hernando County in an attempt to cross. Prendergast is cooperating with the Florida Highway Patrol investigation and agreed to submit to a blood draw, although alcohol does not appear to have been a factor in the fatal crash. "We will continue to update the public on the details of the investigation once more information is available. Our thoughts and prayers are with the family of the pedestrian during this difficult time," deputies said in a news release.
Want to be judge? This could be your chance
There's a vacancy for the Fifth Judicial Circuit for county judge in Citrus County, and applicants have until 4:30 p.m. on Aug. 9 to indicate their interest for the job. For example, they must have been a member of the Florida Bar for the preceding five years. They also must be a registered voter and a Citrus County resident when they take office. Interviews are planned for Aug. 23 at the Citrus County Courthouse in Inverness. Applications can be downloaded from The Florida Bars website or requested via mail from Robert W. Batsel Jr., 1531 Southeast 36th Avenue, Ocala, FL 34471.ocala.com
Planned toll roads would bypass Marion and Alachua
Last week, the Florida Department of Transportation released a presentation online detailing the latest plan for the Multi-use Corridors of Regional Significance Program (M-CORES). For some, the news about Marion and Alachua counties was met with a guarded sigh of relief. "I'm not by any means saying it's finished, but at least we have some breathing room," said Amy Agricola, one of the more vocal detractors of the since-abandoned plan to extend the Suncoast Parkway through Marion County. Last week, the Marion County Commission put the final touches on an amendment to its comprehensive plan that it hopes will give it and other local governments more say in future state road planning. The M-CORES plan would now extend the Suncoast from Citrus through Levy County and north to Georgia.ocala.com
Planned toll roads would bypass Marion, Alachua
For some, the news about Marion and Alachua counties was met with a guarded sigh of relief. The M-CORES plan would extend the Suncoast from Citrus through Levy County and north to Georgia. There are no proposed routes yet and this go around, the state will meet with county and city representatives to determine the best routes for the proposed roads. Tracey Barrett, another vocal opponent of toll roads in general, also cheered Marion and Alachua's exclusion from the latest project. "We are so relieved that Marion County has been spared, however, we must be vigilant to ensure that nothing changes."ocala.com