Articles on this Page
- 05/06/15--09:15: _Jackson County depu...
- 05/06/15--14:12: _Ramsey sentenced to...
- 05/06/15--15:35: _Walley to serve lif...
- 05/06/15--16:26: _UPDATE: Man charged...
- 05/06/15--16:28: _UPDATE: Man charged...
- 05/06/15--16:29: _Parker woman senten...
- 05/07/15--07:39: _Bay County Jail sta...
- 05/07/15--07:51: _Pair sleeping in ca...
- 05/07/15--11:27: _Pizza order saves F...
- 05/07/15--12:21: _NRA: Florida campus...
- 05/07/15--15:07: _Man pleads guilty t...
- 05/07/15--15:19: _Florida parents acc...
- 05/07/15--15:48: _Parker woman charge...
- 05/07/15--15:50: _Hundreds arrested i...
- 05/08/15--09:53: _Woman: Florida lice...
- 05/08/15--12:56: _Man stabbed, suspec...
- 05/08/15--13:59: _Battery suspect sought
- 05/08/15--15:35: _Fire near paper mil...
- 05/08/15--16:00: _Woman sought for cr...
- 05/08/15--16:05: _Parker partners wit...
- 05/06/15--09:15: Jackson County deputy injured in crash with overturned vehicle
- 05/06/15--14:12: Ramsey sentenced to serve life for armed robbery
- 05/06/15--15:35: Walley to serve life for kidnapping, battery
- 05/06/15--16:28: UPDATE: Man charged with manslaughter in 2-year-old’s death
- 05/06/15--16:29: Parker woman sentenced for impersonating U.S. Marshal
- 05/07/15--07:39: Bay County Jail staff honored
- 05/07/15--07:51: Pair sleeping in car arrested on drugs, gun charges
- 05/07/15--11:27: Pizza order saves Florida woman from hostage situation
- 05/07/15--12:21: NRA: Florida campus carry bills will be back in front of lawmakers
- 05/07/15--15:07: Man pleads guilty to bomb threat on Social Security office
- 05/07/15--15:19: Florida parents accused of giving kids drugs as 'bargaining tool'
- 05/07/15--15:48: Parker woman charged with having sex with minor
- 05/07/15--15:50: Hundreds arrested in multi-county effort ‘Operation Dry Spring’
- 05/08/15--09:53: Woman: Florida license mistakenly labeled me a sex offender
- 05/08/15--12:56: Man stabbed, suspect at large
- 05/08/15--13:59: Battery suspect sought
- 05/08/15--15:35: Fire near paper mill briefly closes road
- 05/08/15--16:00: Woman sought for credit fraud
- 05/08/15--16:05: Parker partners with hotel in attempt to stop crime
A Jackson County Sheriff’s Office deputy suffered only minor injuries after a traffic crash that left his vehicle upside down, the Florida Highway Patrol reported.
Lt. Timothy D. Hinson, 52, of Graceville was injured at 8 a.m. Sunday near County Road 169 and Ezell Road while driving a 2013 Chevy Tahoe, FHP reported. Hinson traveled northbound on 169 and approached the intersection of Ezell Road, when he lost control of the vehicle before it moved onto the east shoulder and entered a ditch, according to FHP. The vehicle impacted a power pole, continued northeastward and overturned before resting facing east upside down, FHP reported.
FHP reported Hinson was not wearing a seatbelt, but only listed minor injuries and was treated at Flowers Hospital in Dothan, Ala. The FHP also reported alcohol results were pending. The investigation into the crash continues, FHP said.
CHIPLEY — Brandon Terrell Ramsey was sentenced to serve life in prison Monday for his role in a March 2014 burglary and armed robbery.
Ramsey was convicted last month after a one-day trial recounted events from last March in which he entered the Chipley residence of Travis Yarbrough. Investigators say he attacked Yarbrough, “pistol whipping” the victim before leaving with an undisclosed amount of cash.
Assistant State Attorney Shalla Jefcoat told the court the Ramsey admitted the crime
Ramsey was last released from the Florida Department of Corrections in 2012 after serving sentences relating to the sale of cocaine and the manufacturing of a firebomb.
Ramsey will serve two concurrent life sentences, one for robbery with a firearm, and another for burglary of an occupied dwelling with a firearm.
CHIPLEY — Christopher Cruz Walley will serve a life sentence without the possibility of parole for the 2014 kidnapping of Marly Ann Conway.
Walley, who was found guilty last month in a verdict that took a jury less than an hour to reach, was sentenced Monday by County Judge Colby Peel, who approved Assistant State Attorney Shalla Jefcoat’s request to have Walley classified as a prison releasee re-offender. That classification can be assigned to anyone having committed a crime within three years of being released from the Department of Corrections (DOC).
Conway’s kidnapping occurred less than a year after Walley was released from DOC, where he served a year-and-a-half sentence for several other felonies, including robbery.
Walley was convicted of aggravated battery and kidnapping after a series of events that left Conway beaten unconscious in the trunk of an Oldsmobile, which Walley drove throughout the night of the crime and into the next day. Conway was later able to escape to an Eloise Road residence in Chipley, where she called 911.
Conway’s grandmother, Inell Reeves, spoke to the court during sentencing, telling Peel she was asking neither leniency nor severity for Walley.
“Do I want him to rot in jail? That’s up to you,” Reeves told Peel. “I’m not asking leniency for him; I’m not asking you to be tough on him.
“He had no right to do this to her; he had no right to do this to our family,” she added. “From what I’ve seen, from all accounts, he’s shown no remorse. … That makes it hard to forgive, but God commands I forgive him, and I’m going to do that. I’m going to take all those feelings — anger, disbelief, sadness, bitterness and fear … and pack them all up and send them off with him. From this day forward, when I walk out that door, I will be free of him, and he will never be in my head again or do anything to our family again.”
Walley spoke to the court on his behalf, denying, as he did during his trial testimony, ever placing Conway in the trunk of the car.
“I’m not the animal I was made out to be,” Walley said. “I did have a physical altercation with this woman, but I never once put her inside of a trunk. I pray that through the trial you saw the lies that were told. … I’m begging for your mercy.”
Due to Walley’s designation as a re-offender, Peel had no discretion on the sentence and had to abide by state statutes, which determines sentencing guidelines for reoffenders.
Walley will serve a life sentence for Conway’s kidnapping and an additional 15-year aggravated battery sentence, which will run concurrently with the life sentence.
PANAMA CITY — A man known to have bitten a cop’s head has been arrested in connection with a stabbing at the Greyhound bus station, the Panama City Police Department reported.
Karim Bien Aime, 34, was arrested Tuesday afternoon, hours after the alleged attack took place on Harrison Avenue, according to police. Marlon Sequeria, 18, said he was stabbed with a screwdriver over a “funny look” earlier Tuesday at the station. Sequeria said he was stabbed three times, but the tool didn’t puncture his skin, before Aime took off on foot, witnesses said.
Aime was spotted by a member of the local news media, who then reported his whereabouts near West Beach Drive and East Caroline Boulevard, police said. Aime was transported to Bay County Jail and was charged with aggravated battery with a deadly weapon.
The incident was caught on video, police reported, and officers recognized Aime from numerous previous interactions with the man.
Aime had recently been released from prison after serving time for punching a cop in the face and then biting the top of his head, drawing blood, according to court records. He pleaded no contest to the charges in 2012 of battery on a PCPD officer and was sentenced to more than two years in prison.
BLOUNTSTOWN — An Altha man has been charged in connection with the death of his girlfriend’s 2-year-old daughter, according to the Calhoun County Sheriff’s Office.
Stephen Aaron Young, 27, was charged Wednesday with aggravated manslaughter of a child following the April death of Anya Dziura. Young was a live-in boyfriend of the child’s mother, 26-year-old Jessica Leigh Dziura, of Altha. Both faced charges of child neglect following the incident, but Young’s charges have been upgraded, CCSO officials reported.
Young could face up to 30 years in prison, CCSO said, and officers reported other charges could be forthcoming. Dziura still faces a charge of child neglect.
After conducting an autopsy of the child, the 14th Circuit Medical Examiner’s Office determined Anya Dziura’s cause of death was blunt force trauma to the head, investigators said. CCSO reported Anya Dziura had been in Young’s care April 2 after her mother, Jessica Dziura, left for work earlier that morning.
How the child sustained the head injuries is still under investigation, Calhoun County Sheriff Glen Kimbrel said.
CCSO reported earlier that Jessica Dziura was rushing her daughter to the hospital at about 11 a.m. on April 2 but stopped just south of Altha at a gas station on State 71 to ask for help. EMS crews responded to a 911 call that the child was unresponsive and not breathing. Paramedics administered CPR on the girl as the ambulance was en route to the local hospital before being airlifted to Tallahassee, officials reported.
Anya had extensive injuries, including fractures to the skull, officials reported. The child was taken off life support and pronounced dead the next day after her father and 5-year-old brother said goodbye, officials said.
PANAMA CITY — A Parker woman has been sentenced to months in federal prison for impersonating a U.S. Marshal, according to a news release from U.S. Attorney’s Office.
Marcia Dawn Lowery, 41, was sentenced to four and a half months in federal prison Wednesday, officials announced. Between September and October 2014, Lowery resided at the Smuggler’s Cove residential complex (the “complex”) in Bay County where she posed as a deputy U.S. marshal.
Lowery told residents in the complex that she working undercover. To further her impersonation, Lowery walked around the complex wearing a T-shirt with “POLICE” on it, officials said.
While posing as a U.S. Marshal, Lowery told a resident in the complex that she would arrest the resident’s children for their bad behavior and take them to juvenile detention. She told a resident in the complex that the resident was in Lowery’s protective custody because of the resident’s outstanding arrest warrant from Tennessee. Lowery told a resident, who was on probation, that she would get the resident’s conviction expunged if the resident provided Lowery with the names of his drug sources, which he did.
Based on her representations that she was a U.S. marshal, Lowery also obtained extensions on her rent, which went unpaid and resulted in a loss to the complex of about $1,500.
LYNN HAVEN — The Bay County Sheriff’s Office is recognizing the importance of correctional officers in protecting public safety this week during National Correctional Officers and Employees Week, according to a news release.
“I am so proud of the men and women of the Bay County Sheriff’s Office Jail Facility,” said Rick Anglin, warden of the Bay County Jail. “The detention deputies, nurses and employees work each day in a challenging environment where they must demonstrate courage, professionalism, integrity, compassion, and a strong work ethic. Their contributions to public safety often go unrecognized and I believe they are truly unsung heroes.”
In 1984, President Ronald Reagan signed Proclamation 5187 creating National Correctional Officers Week. The first full week in May has since been celebrated to honor the work of correctional officers and correctional personnel nationwide.
“Correctional officers and staff at the Bay County Jail are responsible for the safety and security, for a population that often exceeds 1,000 inmates. They also handle the booking and releasing process of more than 13,000 individuals each year,” said Sheriff Frank McKeithen. “I appreciate our correctional officers and staff for their dedication to a difficult and often hazardous job.”
PANAMA CITY — Police have arrested two men who were napping in a car with a gun and drugs, according to a Panama City Police Department news release.
Patrol officers arrested Richard Williamson, 23, of Lynn Haven, and passenger, Zadrick Markeise Inniss, 22, of Springfield, after being called to a welfare check at 1915 Wilson Ave: Northgate Terrace II. Upon arrival, two males were found asleep in a vehicle, PCPD reported.
Officers allegedly smelled marijuana from the vehicle and found marijuana in several areas of the vehicle. A backpack in the car contained a jar of marijuana, a box of plastic bags to package marijuana, a black zippered container holding several thousand dollars in cash and a .40 caliber semi-automatic Beretta handgun.
The gun had been reported to the Bay County Sheriff’s Office as stolen. The drugs, paraphernalia and over $6,000 cash believed to be the proceeds of drug sales were seized as evidence. The handgun was held for BCSO.
Anyone having information in this case is urged to call the Panama City Police Department at, 850-872-3100, or they can report their tips anonymously to CrimeStoppers at 850-785-TIPS.
AVON PARK (AP) — A central Florida woman helped save herself and her children by sending a message in an online pizza order that asked employees to call 911 because she was being held hostage.
The Avon Park Pizza Hut employees spotted what Cheryl Treadway wrote in the comment section of her online order. Employees recognized Treadway as a regular customer and called the sheriff's office.
Highlands County Sheriff's deputies went to the home, where they were greeted by Treadway, who was carrying a small child. She told them her boyfriend, Ethan Nickerson, 26, was inside the home, armed with a knife. Her other two children were also inside.
Treadway and the children were escorted to safety.
WFLA-TV reports Lt. Curtis Ludden started talking to Nickerson through a closed door.
“His first words were, of course, ‘I'm not coming out because I know I'm going to jail,’” Ludden told the TV station.
It took about 20 minutes for Ludden to talk Nickerson into coming out peacefully. The children were not harmed.
According to an arrest report, the couple had been arguing throughout the day, as Nickerson carried a knife. When Treadway started to leave to pick up her children from school, Nickerson grabbed her and took her phone away. He went with her to the school.
Deputies say she eventually talked Nickerson into letting her use her phone to order a pizza. But immediately after sending the request, Nickerson took the phone back.
Nickerson was arrested and now faces multiple charges including aggravated assault with a weapon without intent to kill, battery and false imprisonment. He remained in the Highlands County Jail on Wednesday and bond has been set at $45,000. Jail records didn't indicate whether he has hired an attorney.
Authorities credit Treadway's quick-thinking and the fast response by deputies for a peaceful conclusion.
“I don't know if I would have thought of it,” Ludden said of the message in the pizza order. “I mean it's just something she did so naturally. The boyfriend never knew about it until he saw us coming around the corner.”
The cry for help was also a first for Pizza Hut manager Candy Hamilton.
“We've never seen that before,” Hamiton said. “I've been here 28 years and never, never seen nothing like that come through."
TALLAHASSEE — Failed efforts to allow people to carry concealed weapons on college campuses and to allow some public-school employees and volunteers to be armed will be back before lawmakers next year.
Marion Hammer, lobbyist for the National Rifle Association and the Unified Sportsmen of Florida, said Wednesday those measures will return despite running into opposition in the Senate this year.
“The things that were worth working on this year will be worth working on next year,” Hammer said. “All of these good pieces of legislation will be back until they pass.”
The Senate Education Pre-K-12 Committee scuttled a controversial proposal (SB 180) that would have allowed school superintendents to designate trained employees or volunteers to carry guns at public schools.
Meanwhile, Senate Judiciary Chairman Miguel Diaz de la Portilla, R-Miami, did not bring up a proposal (SB 176) that would have allowed people with concealed-weapons licenses to carry guns on state college and university campuses. Diaz de la Portilla said he made the decision after polling members of the Senate and finding a lack of support for the bill.
The college concealed-weapons measure was opposed by the state university system’s Board of Governors, university police chiefs and the 12 public universities. But Hammer said she is convinced “the votes were there. But there were people in a position to block it. And it was blocked.”
Jennifer Proffitt, president of Florida State University’s chapter of the United Faculty of Florida, said she expects there will again be widespread mobilization against the bill.
“This is not about the Second Amendment,” Proffitt wrote in an email. “This is about keeping our campuses —- and workplaces —- safe from this misguided manipulation of our nation’s ongoing debate about guns and safety.”
Second Amendment proponents, who have had a string of successes in advancing bills the past few years, were able this spring to reverse their lone defeat from the 2014 session —- a bill that would allow more people to carry weapons during mandatory emergency evacuations.
The bill (SB 290), which would allow people to carry guns without concealed-weapons licenses for 48 hours during such evacuations, awaits approval from Gov. Rick Scott.
Scott supported the measure in 2014, when it drew opposition from law enforcement and was scrapped in the Senate.
This year’s bill would be the 13th pro-gun law signed by Scott since taking office in 2011.
Former Gov. Jeb Bush affixed his name to 14 pro-gun bills during eight years as occupant of the Governor’s Mansion, including the state’s “stand your ground” law, which says people can use deadly force and do not have a duty to retreat if they think it is necessary to prevent death or great bodily harm. Scott has signed nine more pro-gun laws than former Gov. Charlie Crist.
Meanwhile, it remains unknown if a couple of gun-related tax measures will be revived for a special legislative session in June on the budget. The special session is needed because the House and Senate did not reach agreement on a budget before the regular session ended last week.
During this regular session, the House proposed a $690 million tax-cut package (HB 7141) that would have eliminated a tax on admissions and membership fees for gun clubs and offered an Independence Day sales-tax holiday on hunting gear.
PANAMA CITY — An irate disability recipient has pleaded guilty to federal charges of threatening to blow up the local Social Security office, the U.S. Attorney’s Office announced Thursday.
Johnathon Mathew Garrett, 36, pleaded guilty to giving false information to the Social Security Administration (SSA) in connection with a threat in August that he was planning to blow up the Social Security Office, 97 Oak Ave. Garrett was attempting to intimidate the SSA employee into restoring his Social Security disability benefits, he admitted during a plea hearing late Wednesday.
Garrett, of Panama City, is scheduled to be sentenced July 15. He faces a maximum of five years in federal prison, a $250,000 fine, a term of supervised release of three years and a court-ordered reimbursement for the cost associated with investigative response.
During his plea, Garrett admitted that on Aug. 27 he called an SSA employee and threatened to “blow the whole thing up and destroy something.” Garrett allegedly had an issue with the amount of his Social Security check.
The SSA employee understood this comment to be a bomb threat against the SSA office, attorneys reported. As a result of his threat, the SSA office in Panama City and the surrounding block were evacuated until the area could be cleared by a bomb-detection team.
Panama City Police attempted to take Garrett into custody at his home of 2417 E. 34th Place, which was listed in his Social Security information. Police reported Garrett then grabbed two detectives and attempted to strike them several times. At one point, Garrett reached around one of the detectives in an attempt to grab his weapon, police said.
Garrett pleaded no contest to one of two counts of resisting arrest with violence in September. He was sentenced to three years of probation in Bay County Court. He now could face up to five years in federal prison when U.S. District Judge Richard Smoak sentences him in July.
ST. PETERSBURG (AP) — A couple gave their teenage daughters cocaine and marijuana if they went to school and did household chores, authorities said.
Chad and Joey Mudd, of Largo, a suburb in the Tampa-St. Petersburg area, gave their daughters, ages 13 and 14, drugs as a “bargaining tool” for school attendance and doing chores, Pinellas County Sheriff's detectives said. They were arrested Monday.
According to an affidavit, the mother said she smoked pot with her daughters five times and the father snorted cocaine with the teens and one of his daughter's boyfriends in his truck.
Chad Mudd, the 36-year-old father who works at an area beach bar, was charged with six counts of child abuse and one count of possession of cocaine. Joey Mudd, the girls’ 34-year-old mom, was charged with two counts of child abuse. Arrest records say she works at a pediatrician's office.
Joey Mudd was released Wednesday on bail and Chad Mudd was released Thursday on bail. Calls to telephone numbers belonging to the Mudds weren't answered. It's unclear if they've retained an attorney.
It's not clear who has taken custody of the children. The sheriff's office hasn't immediately returned a telephone call.
PARKER — A 34-year-old woman has been arrested on charges of having sexual intercourse with a 14-year-old boy, according to Parker Police Department reports.
Melissa Jean Bennett, of Parker, was charged Wednesday with lewd and lascivious battery on a person less than 16 years of age. According to police reports, she allegedly did “entice and encourage” the 14-year-old to have sexual intercourse with her while the two were in a storage shed.
The incident allegedly took place April 30 at about noon. Bennett was arrested Wednesday in connection with the incident.
Two previous cases, in which Bennett pleaded no contest, were reopened after her arrest. She was on probation for battery of a person over 65 years of age in 2014 and felony criminal mischief in 2012.
SANTA ROSA BEACH — The Florida Sheriff’s Task Force announced the success of Operation Dry Spring on Thursday afternoon in Walton County, where almost 600 minors were arrested for alcohol possession over Spring Break.
Operation Dry Spring, an effort of 28 counties and the Florida Sheriff’s Association, was aimed to prevent underage youths from buying alcohol, tobacco and synthetic drugs during Spring Break.
“It was a great partnership between the Spring Break counties,” Walton County Sheriff Mike Adkinson said. “Ultimately, this is about saving lives.”
Walton, Okaloosa and Bay counties participated in the operation, which ran from March 16 to April 12.
Law officers monitored stores for the sale of alcohol, tobacco and synthetic drugs to underage buyers.
Bay County had the third-most arrests with 228. Encompassing all of Spring Break, BCSO actually arrested 307 minors in possession of alcohol, tobacco or synthetic drugs.
The 28 counties reported a total of 1,284 arrests for possession of alcohol by minors.
Walton and Okaloosa were the top two counties in arrests for possession of alcohol by minors. Walton reported 580 arrests and Okaloosa reported 266.
Walton County also reported the highest number for minors in possession of marijuana, with 21 arrests. Okaloosa reported seven arrests.
In total, the counties reported doing 2,354 business checks for underage alcohol sales.
Bay County Sheriff’s Maj. Tommy Ford also spoke at the press conference at the Walton courthouse annex. He said undercover drug agents were brought in from several other agencies.
“Obviously, Spring Break 2015 was pretty tough in Bay County,” he said. “Florida sheriffs came together this year to help us in an unprecedented way.”
Ford said his agency called for help from other counties, including Walton, during Spring Break weekends. He noted that practice usually is reserved for natural disasters.
Adkinson and Ford noted that while the arrests often made the sheriff’s offices unpopular, they kept the public safe.
“We do what we do because it’s the right thing to do,” Adkinson added.
News Herald writer Zack McDonald contributed to this report
ORLANDO (AP) — A Florida woman who was issued a driver's license that mistakenly labeled her a sexual predator said Thursday that she plans to file a defamation lawsuit against a county tax collector's office.
Tammy Lemasters, 42, said she was denied service when trying to book a room at a hotel and has endured funny looks from cashiers when cashing checks because of the blue letters in the bottom-right corner of her license that say “SEXUAL PREDATOR.”
“I was afraid to drive in my car. I was afraid of getting pulled over,” said Lemasters, who works as a restaurant trainer and is the mother of three teenagers. “I was afraid of the kids being in the car.”
She has already filed a notice of intent to sue the Lake County Tax Collector's office, near Orlando. The tax collector's office serves as an agent for the Florida Department of Highway Safety and Motor Vehicles in issuing driver's licenses. She went to the tax collector's office Thursday, accompanied by her attorney and television cameras, to get a new driver's license almost three weeks after she first noticed the mistake.
The manager of the tax collector's office where Lemasters got her license attributed the mistake to human error.
“We said we fully understand the embarrassment she faced, but these are humans doing a human job,” said Mark O'Keefe, the manager. “People make mistakes. When we find them, we move swiftly to correct them.”
When drivers get new licenses, they are told by workers in the tax collectors’ office to double-check that everything on the ID is accurate, O'Keefe said.
Lemasters called the tax collectors’ office four days after discovering the mistake and was told to come back to the office right away so the problem could be fixed, he said.
“If you misspell ‘Main Street’ on a driver's license or put the wrong initial in the name, people are back in here in a half-hour, if not the next day, to have it corrected,” O'Keefe said.
Both O'Keefe and Lemasters’ attorney theorize that the mistake was made when the wrong drop-down box was checked on the computer. The motor vehicle agency software is being updated and one of the changes being proposed includes adding a “pop-up” window that would ask workers issuing the licenses whether they are sure when they are clicking “sexual predator.”
Lemasters said she didn't notice the mistake until several days after getting the new license. She had to go to traffic court for a ticket and noticed the judge and bailiff studying the license quizzically. Afterward, while she was at a store, she noticed the ‘SEXUAL PREDATOR“ label on her license and ”I immediately had tears in my eyes."
Her attorney, John Phillips, said he knew of two similar instances in Florida, including a Jacksonville case in which he represented a legally blind man who had sued the Duval County Tax Collector's Office.
“It reminds me of ‘The Scarlet Letter,’” said Phillips, referring to the 19th century literature classic about a woman ostracized for having a child out of wedlock in Puritan Massachusetts. “This is the worst thing you can call a person.”
PANAMA CITY BEACH — A man was rushed to the hospital after being stabbed Friday morning by an assailant who is still on the loose, according to Panama City Beach Police reports.
PCBPD officials confirmed that officers responded at about 2 a.m. to 108 North Arnold St. or State 79 to reports of a stabbing. Police said a victim between the ages of 40 and 50 was stabbed, following an altercation. The victim has not yet been identified. The victim underwent surgery at Bay Medical Sacred Heart following the incident.
The suspect remained at large as PCBPD continues to investigate the matter.
Anyone with information is asked to call the PCBPD at (850) 233-5000.
SOUTHPORT — The Bay County Sheriff’s Office is asking for the assistance of the public to identify a man wanted in connection with the battery of a woman in a Southport neighborhood.
The suspect is driving a late model burgundy Suburban and was captured on security video Sunday at a gas station in Southport just before the incident.
Anyone with information about this suspect is asked to call Inv. Robbins at the Bay County Sheriff’s Office at 248-2184 or Crime Stopper at 785-TIPS.
SPRINGFIELD — A stretch of Bus. 98 was closed Friday as fire crews quickly extinguished what officials called a “self-ignited” fire in a reservoir of a chemical company near the paper mill.
Firefighters from Springfield, Parker and Panama City responded at about 4 p.m. to a call at the Rock-Tenn Pulp and Paper Mill, 1 S. Everitt Ave. The fire, contained to an “equalization basin” belonging to Arizona Chemical, was extinguished in about 15 minutes, according to officials. No injuries or property damage were reported, officials said.
Fires are a likely event in the basin, Arizona Chemical spokeswoman Lorraine Gallagher said, especially in hot and sunny conditions. The basin is a filter for several chemicals, including flammable oils, that are treated before disposal. In the right conditions, those liquids can spontanaeously ignite.
Arizona Chemical and fire officials will be conducting an investigation into the fire's origins.
PANAMA CITY — The Panama City Police Department seeks the public’s help in identifying a woman suspected of using a stolen credit card.
The suspect allegedly used a stolen credit card on March 17 at the Winn-Dixie on West 23rd Street in Panama City, police reported. She appeared to be in her mid-20s to early-30s and was seen wearing pink nursing scrubs, according to police.
Anyone having information in this case is urged to call the PCPD at (850) 872-3100, or they can report their tips anonymously to CrimeStoppers at (850) 785-TIPS.
PARKER — Police are working with a Parker motel owner to try to eliminate drugs and prostitution from the premises.
At owner Pravin Patel’s instruction, inn management has put up security cameras and a fence between the inn and Under the Oaks Park, now requires a key deposit, and underwent training with Parker police to identify suspicious activity.
“These businesses are being exploited,” Parker Police Chief Dennes Hutto said. “Criminals pick places that don’t have cameras. (La Brisa) just needed a little bit of direction.”
La Brisa first caught the attention of police in February when there were several arrests, including nine in one drug investigation. Hutto also said the hotel was a frequent site for prostitution.
There were 27 controlled substance charges filed by the Parker department against occupants of La Brisa between Feb. 8 and April 3, including 12 that were felonies, according to a complaint filed by Parker.
City code enforcement fined La Brisa $6,195 and the inn could receive an additional penalty of $2,250 if it does not comply with Parker Police Department.
Requirements included: receiving training on criminal behavior and controlled substances, the addition of surveillance cameras, making sure the video feed is available to law enforcement, evicting guests under Florida Statute 509, obtaining and recording credit card and license plate information for every guest, and reviewing the inn in 30, 60 and 90 days.
Patel said these people are in the minority and that most of his customers are in the Air Force or road workers. He said the inn had a problem in February with people coming across from the park.
Hutto said other hotels also have had problems with drugs and prostitution. His goal is to get the cooperation of businesses in order to decrease police involvement.
“We make Parker not as easy a target, they’ll move on,” Hutto said of criminals.