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    LYNN HAVEN - The Lynn Haven Police Department is investigating the unattended death of a man found in Sharon Sheffield Park Monday morning.

    The body of Robert Lewis Cohee, 61, of 802 W. 10th Street was discovered in the park at about 6:30 a.m. officials wrote in a news release.

    "At this time the investigation is ongoing pending the outcome of the autopsy that will be conducted by the Medical Examiner’s Office, however, foul play is not suspected," they added.


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    PANAMA CITY — Two area attorneys are trying to oust an incumbent in the race for 14th Judicial Circuit judge.

    Attorneys Shalene Grover and Gerard Virga will be on the ballot, along with Judge James Fensom.

    Although Panama City attorney Billy Joe “Hoot” Crawford gathered enough signatures to qualify for a spot on the ballot, he later decided to drop out of the race.

    “I’m focusing on my grandbabies,” he said.

    Incumbent judges often don’t draw opposition, Crawford said.

    “This one is unusual,” he said. “It’s drawing a crowd.”

    Grover, an attorney for the last 15 years in Jackson County, submitted the $6,000 fee to run. She is the wife of Judge Kevin Grover, who serves as a county judge for the Grovers’ home county of Calhoun.

    Virga said it is unusual for a judge’s spouse to challenge a sitting judge, but Grover said she doesn’t view it that way.

    “I feel like I’m running for a position; I don’t feel like I’m breaking boundaries,” Grover said. “I’m not running against anyone; I’m running for the position.”

    Virga, who qualified by petition, does not share this sentiment. He said he is definitely running against Fensom. Virga’s campaign manager is Panama City attorney Bill Price, who accused Fensom of biased and unfair practices in court, highlighted when Price was held in contempt of court in a case Fensom tried Feb. 22, 2013.

    Fensom responded that a judge sometimes must make attorneys unhappy.

    “It is a controversial, challenging, difficult job,” Fensom said. “There are people who leave court unhappy. (Most) people tell me I have been fair.”

    Fensom has been a judge for the past eight years and is certified for death penalty cases. He said he did not have a challenger in 2008. Fensom practiced law for 25 years.

    Virga worked for U.S. Sen. Jeff Sessions, R-Ala., and served as Florida assistant attorney general. He has practiced law in Panama City since 2006, including serving as a defense attorney in one of the cases against Joe Francis of “Girls Gone Wild.”

    “I want my courtroom to be a place where you can have your case heard with respect,” Virga said. “People want a people’s judge.”

    The winner of the nonpartisan election will serve in six-year term and make an annual salary of $134,280.
     


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    PANAMA CITY — Panama City code enforcement officers removed between 60 and 70 political signs for a judicial candidate because they were illegally put up at the wrong place and time.

    The city does not allow political signs on public rights of way or more than 120 days before the election, two rules the campaign signs for candidate Gerard Virga violated. Virga said the volunteer who put out the signs was unaware of the city policy.

    The signs, which had been placed in city right of way last month, were out nearly a full week before the May 2 deadline for the Aug. 26 election.

    “Not this early,” code enforcement manager Lance Livingston said of the timetable.

    Signs are only allowed on private property and only after the property owner consents.

    However, Virga and fellow lawyer and campaign manager Bill Price were perplexed by the removal of the signs.

    “If there is a misplaced sign, I’ll try to fix it,” Virga said. “I come from a day in age when you asked a person to deal with it and then they dealt with it.”

    Price believes a supporter of incumbent Judge James Fensom alerted authorities to the signs in the right of way.

    “I have certainly noticed his signs in the six-county area,” Fensom said in response to Price’s statement. “My plan is to put (mine) on private property.”
     


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    PANAMA CITY — A widow was sentenced to seven years in prison for her role in her husband’s death, and her daughter was sentenced to three years and is required to testify against her husband for allegedly killing her father.

    Lottie Jean Moore, 63, and her daughter, Mary Elizabeth Clanton, 27, both pleaded no contest Monday to being accessories after the fact to first-degree murder in the Sept. 9, 2013, death of 69-year-old Arthur Moore. Investigators believe 33-year-old David Clanton strangled Moore to death in his bed and then buried his body in the woods with his wife’s help.

    David Clanton has pleaded not guilty to first-degree murder and is scheduled for trial in October.

    Mary Elizabeth Clanton has described her father as hateful and verbally abusive to Lottie Moore, who gave David Clanton a rope to strangle her husband, and she told investigators with the Bay County Sheriff’s Office she had never seen her mother happier than after Moore was dead.

    Arthur Moore’s body laid in a shallow grave in a wooded area near the Steelfield Landfill for more than a month until investigators received a tip Oct. 17 from a man in Minnesota who said David Clanton had joked about killing his father-in-law and burying his body. Investigators said that when they confronted David Clanton with the new information, he admitted to killing Arthur Moore with his hands instead of the rope while Moore slept.

    Lottie Moore filed a false police report indicating her husband, who had a history of leaving the family and at least one suicide attempt, was a missing person. Investigators said Lottie Moore and Mary Clanton went to great lengths to cover up the crime, making phone calls and purposely appeared in video surveillance footage in an effort to corroborate the alibis they had fabricated.

    Judge Michael Overstreet sentenced Lottie Moore to seven years in prison, and he sentenced Mary Clanton to five years of probation, but she will have to serve the first three years of her sentence in prison.

    David Clanton faces up to life prison if he’s convicted as charged. 


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    PARKER -- Parker police are asking the public to help them identify a man who stole several hundred dollars worth of sporting goods from a local retailer.

    Police released photos of a white man in white T-shirt who is wanted for grand theft. Anyone with information about the incident is asked to contact the Parker PD at 871-4100 or 871-3189.


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    PANAMA CITY -- The Bay County Sheriff’s Office will hold its annual Memorial and Awards Ceremony Wednesday to honor law enforcement officers that have died in the line of duty in Bay County.

    Sheriff Frank McKeithen will honor those law enforcement officers and also will present awards to BCSO employees that have distinguished themselves by outstanding performance during the past year. This year’s special guest speaker is a former Bay County sheriff, County Commissioner Guy Tunnell.

    The ceremony will begin at 8:30 a.m. in front of the main office of BCSO at 3421 North Highway 77. The public is invited to attend this special event.


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    PANAMA CITY — State prosecutors are preparing for their fourth attempt at convicting a Fountain man charged with the stabbing, shooting and bludgeoning death of his friend and neighbor.

    The state’s prosecution of Philip Dean Brock for the murder of 65-year-old Terry Brazil will continue with its fourth jury trial. Brock is charged with first-degree murder, grand theft and robbery with a firearm and could face a life sentence if convicted as charged. Prosecutors, however, so far have failed to unanimously convince three separate juries of Brock’s alleged guilt for the crimes committed December 2012.

    A pretrial hearing is set for May 28 at 1 p.m.

    Retrials of cases that end in a hung jury are not limited by Florida statute. The prosecution can continue to request a retrial until a jury reaches a consensus or the prosecution drops its case.

    State Attorney Glenn Hess pointed out that in each of the three trials, a majority of jurors sided with the prosecution. Between eight and 10 jurors — out of 12 — have been prepared to convict Brock during each trial’s deliberations.

    “We had more information the second time, and we had even more information the third time,” Hess said. “Every time the case gets better, but we need to look and see where we are going with it.”

    Hess said prosecutor Larry Basford will remain on the case despite the outcomes of the three previous trials. Because the gun and knife used in the murder were never retrieved, Hess said establishing a strong link between Brock’s DNA evidence and a bedpost, also used as one tool in the violent killing of Brazil, would be essential to the prosecution, Hess said.

    “You have the victim’s blood on one side of it, you have the defendant’s DNA on the other side of it and you have it thrown in the bushes with duct tape and (Brock’s) truck in the same spot,” Hess said. “The DNA on that bed post has a lot to do with the outcome of this case.”

    Brock’s defense has not attempted to deny the presence of his DNA on the bedpost, but argued the presence of a third, unidentified person’s DNA found on evidence at the scene of the crime left a doubt as to Brock’s guilt.

    Defense attorney Kim Jewell said she could not comment on the trial because of its ongoing nature.

    Attorney Waylon Graham, former prosecutor and a local private attorney of 25 years, said prosecutors will initially go for one retrial to hear the defense’s case and fill any holes punched in their own. Although Florida law allows retrials in perpetuity, he said, new evidence does not usually come to light to fill those gaps in a third or fourth retrial.

    “If a jury continues to hang, even if in our heart we believe they did it and we believe we have evidence to prove it, it becomes a business decision in a way,” he said. “If you keep getting hung up, how long do you go on wasting taxpayer money?”

    The figure on the cost of a trial was unavailable Tuesday. 


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    DAYTONA BEACH — The man accused of beating his wife to death in their South Daytona apartment earlier this week will be held without bail, a judge decided Tuesday.

    Christopher Haag, 38, looked disheveled as he stood next to assistant public defender Matt Phillips at his first appearance hearing at the Volusia County Branch Jail on charges of second-degree murder. South Daytona police investigators said Haag beat his wife Rose Haag, 45, to death early Monday, then calmly called 9-1-1. Before he did that though, he telephoned his drug dealer and his mother, an arrest report states.

    Because he was on probation for DUI and violated that by drinking the night of the beating, County Judge Steve Henderson told Haag that he would be placed on a “no bond status.”

    The charge is a first-degree felony that carries a life sentence in prison Henderson told Haag.


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    NEW YORK — A police officer, a paramedic, a rabbi, a nurse and a Boy Scout leader were among at least 70 people arrested in the New York City area in recent weeks as part of a sweeping investigation into the anonymous trading of child porn over the Internet.

    Immigration and Customs Enforcement, which led a five-week investigation ending last week, planned to announce Wednesday that it resulted in charges against at least 70 men and one woman. Officials call it one of the largest local roundups ever of individual consumers of child porn, and a stark reminder that they come from all segments of society.

    Consuming child porn "is not something that is just done by unemployed drifters who live in their parent's basement," said James Hayes, ICE's New York office. "If this operation does anything, it puts the lie to the belief that the people who do this are not productive members of society."

    Advances in technology and computer capacity have allowed child-porn collectors to more easily amass vast troves of images and to exchange files with each other directly, authorities say. The cyber dragnet resulted in the seizure of nearly 600 desktop and laptop computers, tablets, smartphones and other devices containing a total of 175 terabytes of storage.

    Agents are still examining the devices to locate and catalog evidence — an arduous task that could result in more arrests. The National Center for Missing and Exploited Children also will use its analysts to review the images to see if it can identify children using databases of known victims.

    "We refer to each of these images as a crime scene photo because that's exactly what they are," said John Ryan, the organization's chief executive officer.
    Authorities decided to launch the operation after the arrest in January of a former police chief in suburban Mount Pleasant, Brian Fanelli, who pleaded not guilty this week to federal charges of knowingly receiving and distributing child pornography. Court papers allege that Fanelli told investigators he began looking atchild porn as research before it grew into a "personal interest."

    Authorities say some of the defendants had access to young children, though there were no reports of abuse. The Boy Scout leader also coached a youth baseball team. The rabbi home-schooled his children and others. Another person had hidden cameras used to secretly film his children's friends.

    One defendant was already on bail following his arrest last year on charges he used the Internet to direct women to record sex acts with young children. Court papers allege he "indicated the last video he had downloaded and viewed depicted a mother sexually abusing her 3- or 4-year-old child."
     


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    PANAMA CITY — A large black bell tolled with the release of nine balloons representing lives lost in the line of duty.

    The names of nine local law enforcement officials with nine families, who made the ultimate sacrifice to protect their community, were read aloud with the release of a balloon for each during a memorial ceremony Wednesday. One of them, Deputy Charles Scott, lost his life in the line of duty nearly a century ago.

    “The families of those officers live on,” Bay County Sheriff Frank McKeithen said following the ceremony. “We want them to know the gratitude and respect we have for those officers will not fade.”

    Though some officers are called on to give the ultimate sacrifice, many more make sacrifices daily to protect and serve. The sacrifice might be missing a child’s birthday, their first steps or a graduation, but each one of those were monumentally appreciated, McKeithen said.

    PHOTO GALLERY

    Each year the Bay County Sheriff’s Office holds its Memorial and Awards Ceremony to honor fallen officers, those still serving and their families who share in their sacrifice. In total about 50 sworn officers, volunteers and employees who work in law enforcement were honored Wednesday during the ceremony.
    One of the most prestigious awards given each year is reserved for a deputy whose extraordinary actions places them in self-peril beyond the call of duty.

    “It was a shock to me because the scope of my duty didn’t seem abnormal to me,” said Deputy David Hopkins, who received Medal of Valor during the ceremony. “My supervisors and the sheriff obviously thought differently.”

    Hopkins said during Spring Break he didn’t see his family for more than a month, and he could relate to making daily sacrifices.

    “It’s stressful on home life and it is difficult,” he said. “But I do have a great wife and kids who support me, and they understand the sacrifice I make being away from them to protect this community.”

    Officers from several different law enforcement agencies were presented with awards for saving lives, exhibiting extraordinary initiative or preventing a serious crime from occurring were honored.

    Former Bay County sheriff, County Commissioner Guy Tunnell was guest speaker for the ceremony. The awards handed out were a small token of appreciation to the families and officers from an indebted community, he said.

    “They go to work early in the morning or on the midnight shift routinely without accolades or fanfare, but sometimes they don’t make it home,” Tunnel said. “To adequately memorialize those men and women who make the ultimate sacrifice while protecting the liberties we all enjoy is impossible.”

    Nine officers killed in line of duty

    Deputy Charles Scott – 1917

    Deputy Will Pledger – 1935

    Constable Wayne Coram – 1951

    PCPD Officer Jerry T. Wells – 1973

    Sgt. Floyd Moore Jr. – 1986

    Deputy Don C. Johnson –1999

    PCBPD Kevin Kight – 2005

    *Broward County Deputy Ryan Sequin – 2006

    *Kirkwood, Missouri Police Sgt. William King Biggs Jr. – 2008

    *from Bay County

     

    Deputy of the Year

    Deputy John Alger

     

    Certificate of Commendation

     

    Cpl. Roy Davila, Communication Supervisor Dana Hebner, Sgt. Stephen Jaencks, Investigator Antonio Jones, Sgt. Christopher King, Deputy Mario Lupica, Deputy Jacob McGowin, Sgt. Louie Wesley

     

     

    Medal of Commendation

    Sgt. Richard Bagwell, Lt. Koren Colbert, Deputy Robert Colbert, Deputy Richard Giggs, Cpt. Joel Heape, I.T. Jack Huges, Deputy David Kania, Cpl. John Pierce, Cpl. Doug Smith, I.T. Wayne Wilkes, Deputy James Williams

    Medal of Lifesaving

    Deputy David Allen, Sgt. Richard Bagwell, Deputy Michael Clancy, Deputy Jeffrey Duggins, Deputy Nick Hall – K9 Jaz, Deputy Raymond Maulbeck, Deputy David Polanka, Deputy Chad Rowswell, Deputy Leslie South, Deputy David Sullivan

    Medal of Distinction

    Sgt. Martin Duetsche, Deputy Christopher Seckel

    Medal of Valor

    Deputy David Hopkins

     

    A list accompanying a story on page A1 Thursday headlined “In the line of duty” incorrectly reported the award of one recipient. Deputy John Alger received the 


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    PANAMA CITY BEACH — The Panama City Beach Council on Thursday afternoon is scheduled to discuss an ordinance designed to help the city more quickly recoup its costs of fixing up or demolishing buildings that are in major disrepair.

    The ordinance states that the city can levy an assessment on the property owners to cover the city’s cost of remediating, improving or demolishing buildings that are deemed a public nuisance.

    “The current ordinance recognizes the city’s ability to assess the costs of demolition, but it only does it in one place,” said City Attorney Doug Sale. “This ordinance expands and provides procedures for that.”

    Although the city does have the authority to demolish nuisance structures under the current code if the owner fails to comply, there is no guarantee the city would be paid back for the costs incurred. The city has the option to place a lien on the property, but due to a Florida Supreme Court decision, code enforcement and nuisance abatement liens are now second priority to mortgages.

    Sale said the city would likely be able to levy a nuisance abatement assessment under current law, but the ordinance being discussed on Thursday clearly outlines this as an option.

    The city’s ordinance allowing the collection of special non-property tax assessments was worded intentionally broad, Sale said.

    “It’s only been used once for stormwater on Panama City Beach,” he said. “I think it’s broad enough to cover what we’re doing, because the demolition is already in there in the current ordinance. But I think this makes it clearer. It’s better to go ahead and lay out the legislative intent.”

    In December, the council moved forward on an ordinance to speed up the process to remedy nuisance properties in the area, including one the city has been battling for several months.

    Development of the ordinance stemmed from concerns voiced by Councilman Keith Curry over several eyesore properties on the beach, especially the vacant Beach Club Motel on Front Beach Road.

    The building was deemed unsafe by city building inspectors earlier this year, but despite weekly fines, the property owner has not answered requests to repair or demolish the motel.

    “The ordinance last fall updated the nuisance abatement ordinance,” Sale said. “This ordinance updates the collection side of the coin.”

    Under the new ordinance, the city would have the power to assess properties in question and place any city-incurred fines or demolition expenses on the property owner’s tax bill if the structure is declared a nuisance.

    Mayor Gayle Oberst said Wednesday that there are three to six buildings in the city that are in such bad shape that they may qualify for demolition under the nuisance ordinance, but she did not want to name them.

    “We have talked and talked to the people (who own them),” she said. “And if this ordinance should pass, then the process of (demolition) could take as much as a year or two years.”

    She added that the demolition process could be halted in that time frame if the owners fixed up the building.

    Oberst said the assessments would be used only in cases of major nuisance violations.

    “It would be for a property that is partially constructed and left, or a property that has been abandoned for many years and no upkeep on it,” she said. “We do have a list. But we’ve corrected some of them already. We probably have six or eight properties that need something done about them.”

    Panama Beach City Councilwoman Josie Strange said the assessment that is outlined in the new ordinance should have been levied years ago.

    “I’d say there is probably 10 pieces of property (that are a nuisance),” she said.

    The council meeting is scheduled for 2 p.m. today at City Hall Annex at 104 S. Arnold Road


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    PANAMA CITY — One student faces criminal charges and likely expulsion after he caused another student to bring a gun and ammunition onto a school campus Tuesday, law enforcement and school officials said.

    The student, 16-year-old Jahmari Jones of Panama City, put the gun under the seat of a friend’s car. A student saw the gun and reported it to an administrator. The driver of the car, 18-year-old Tyler Irby, gave the administrator his keys and instructions on where to find the gun.

    The weapon was a .40-caliber Glock pistol and its serial number had been mostly filed away, according to Bay County Sheriff’s Office records. It was unloaded, but a magazine with bullets inside also was found in the car.

    When Jones learned the gun had been discovered he asked to use the restroom and left the school. Bay County Sheriff’s deputies and Panama City Police officers searched for him until about 3 p.m. Wednesday, when police found him in an apartment complex on Frankford Avenue.

    Jones was arrested after a brief foot pursuit. He’s charged with bringing a gun onto a school campus, a felony.

    “We have no idea what his motivation was,” said Bay Haven Charter Academy Chief Education Officer Tim Kitts said.

    Kitts said there will be no criminal charges against Irby, but he will also face a 10-day suspension and a recommendation of expulsion because he knew the gun was there and chose not to report it to school officials.

    There’s no excuse for bringing a gun onto a school campus, Kitts said, and the school treats such incidents with great severity.

    “Tell me a kid in America today that doesn’t know you don’t bring a gun on campus,” Kitts said. “There’s no messing around with this. … State law is very clear, and we support it 100 percent.”

    Kitts said the whole situation was over within five minutes, so there was no need to lockdown the campus, and parents weren’t notified. The incident was a reminder that not even high-performing schools are immune to these kinds of threats, Kitts said.

    “It’s unfortunate that some students don’t recognize the severity of the decisions they make and the consequences of those decisions,” Kitts said.


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    PANAMA CITY -- A Panama City man has been indicted by a federal grand jury on three counts involving the receipt and possession of child pornography.

    The office of Pamela C. Marsh, U.S. attorney for the Northern District of Florida, announced Wednesday that Robert Leesean Williams, 29, has been on three counts.

    Counts one and two claim Williams received and distributed images and videos of child pornography. Count three alleges he possessed child pornography that involved a prepubescent minor and a minor that had not attained the age of 12.

    If convicted of counts one and two of his indictment, Williams faces a minimum mandatory sentence of five years and up to 20 years in prison. If convicted on count three, Williams faces a term of imprisonment of up to 20 years.

    Williams could face fines of up to $250,000. 


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    The Blotter is a look at some of the unusual things that happen on the crime beat in Bay County.

    If anything, conventional wisdom should tell us: definitely do not head butt the police after refusing a sobriety test.

    Whatever the circumstances, that always makes it worse.

    Police arrived on the Panama City Marina to find a black SUV crashed into a concrete light pole with a lady standing outside the car. Moments earlier, a security guard watched the car driving recklessly around the marina before crashing into the pole at the roundabout. The woman was the only one in the car.
    Officers could not understand her statements, she fell over after EMS determined she was not injured in the accident and a quick check with dispatch revealed she didn’t have a driver license.

    But there was an easy explanation for that.

    She never had one.

    Police began to investigate the possibility of a DUI to accompany the charge of driving without a license; but instead of giving them evidence for a DUI charge, she gave one of them a head butt. Police described the act as “intentional” and took her to jail for assaulting an officer.
    She was also charged with a felony DUI partly because she again refused a breathalyzer in jail.

    Police noted the damage to the light pole cost $5,000.
     


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    PANAMA CITY BEACH – A Louisiana teenager is dead after being run over on a sidewalk, police reported Thursday.

    Mark Garrard Robertson, 17, was returning to his room at the Boardwalk Beach Resort, 9450 South Thomas Drive, at about midnight when he was struck and killed by a 1991 Chevrolet Suburban SUV driven by 50 year-old Lee Creary of Panama City, according to Panama City Beach Police reports.

    The Chevrolet Suburban was traveling eastbound on South Thomas Drive approaching the intersection at Alvin’s Island Department Store, police said. Creary drove onto the sidewalk on the south side of the road, crashed into a light pole and then struck the pedestrian. Robertson, an Opelousas, La. resident, was then transported to Bay Medical Sacred Heart Health Center where he was pronounced dead at 1:46 a.m.

    Creary was taken to Bay Medical and upon her release was arrested for possessing a controlled substance and taken to the Bay County Jail. Police found a .5mg Xanax in the center console cupholder of Creary’s car, according to her arrest affidavit. Arrest records do not indicate drugs or alcohol played a part in the collision.

    However, additional charges are pending, as the crash is still under investigation.

     

    An earlier version of this story is posted below:


      PANAMA CITY BEACH - An unidentified man is dead after an early morning collision on South Thomas Drive.

     

    Panama City Beach police are investigating the crash involving a 1991 Chevrolet Suburban SUV driven by 50 year-old Lee Creary of Panama City, and a pedestrian, an unknown white male at about midnight.

    The Chevrolet Suburban was traveling eastbound on South Thomas Drive approaching its intersection at the Alvin's Island Department Store, according to police reports. Creary drove onto the sidewalk on the south side of the road, crashed into a light pole, and then struck the pedestrian. The pedestrian was transported to Bay Medical Sacred Heart where he was pronounced dead at 1:46 a.m.

    The Panama City Beach Police Department has not been able to identify the victim at this time. Creary was transported to Bay Medical Sacred Heart and upon her release was charged with possession of a controlled substance and taken to the Bay County Jail. Additional charges are pending, as this crash is still under investigation
     


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    SOUTHPORT — A box truck hit the rear end of a school bus as it was dropping off an elementary school child at 2 p.m. Thursday on County 388 near Winterhill Road in northern Bay County.

    The bus driver had displayed stop signs and signals and was coming to a stop to drop off 7-year-old Bozeman Elementary School first grader Leland Sunday, the only child for that stop. An Ensec Environmental Security Isuzu box truck applied the brakes and veered right but hit the back right portion of the bus. Two children, both around 11 years old, were transported by Bay County Emergency Medical Services to Bay Medical Center Sacred Heart Health System. Florida Highway Patrol Trooper Logan Richardson, who was investigating the collision, said the children had non-life-threatening injuries.

    The driver of the box truck was also transported to Bay Medical. Richardson said the driver’s injuries also were non-life-threatening and specified the male driver was complaining of a leg injury. Bobby Rodgers, father of Sunday who was waiting at the stop, and Jeremy Boutwell, removed the box truck driver from the vehicle.

    There were 100 feet of skid marks at the scene. The driver of the box truck told Richardson his brakes failed, but the investigation is continuing.

    Richardson said about 30 children were on the bus. Soon after the accident Bay School District officials began calling parents. Many of the children were transported in a different bus to another stop.

    Bay District Schools Safety Officer Deborah Mount was investigating the accident for the school system. She said the female driver of the bus is, by district policy, subject to a mandatory drug test after the accident. The school bus driver had been driving since 2003. Mount said she had investigated one previous crash involving this school bus driver and that neither accident was her fault.

    “She’s a very good driver,” Bay District Schools Director of Transportation Bob Downin said. “We’ve had no complaints about her.”

    Richardson would not release the names of those involved in the crash and FHP’s written report had not been released as of early Thursday night. 


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    PANAMA CITY -- A female resident of Vieux Carre Apartments was transported to Gulf Coast Regional Medical Center on Friday after nearly drowning in the pool at the apartment complex.

    The woman, whose identity was not available Friday, was in her 20s.

    Tuan Nguyen II was one of three people to administer CPR to the woman. He said she may have been underwater for as long as 10 minutes but that she coughed up water after CPR.

    “She had some air in her lungs,” Nguyen said. “Miracles happen every day.”

    Nguyen, who also lives at the apartment complex, said the woman has a husband and children, and she appeared to be swimming with her children before the incident.

    Panama City Police were investigating the incident. 


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    BONIFAY -- A Bonifay woman has been hospitalized after hitting with two concrete culverts early Friday morning.

    Florida Highway Patrol responded at 3:25 a.m. to a traffic crash about 200 feet west of Emerald Lane on State 2. A Chevy Malibu had left the roadway and collided with two culverts before coming to a rest, leaving the driver in serious condition.

    Ashley Nichole Burnham, 25, was traveling east on State 2 until the vehicle left the roadway onto the southside shoulder. According to FHP reports, the car careened into one concrete culvert but continued eastbound on the shoulder until crashing into a second. The car eventually came to a rest on the side of the roadway.

    Burnham was rushed to the Southeast Alabama Medical Center with serious injuries. FHP reports indicate she was wearing a seatbelt. 


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    PANAMA CITY — Two men are dead after a shooting early Saturday at the Hop N Pop gas station in Millville.

    Police are searching for four suspects in connection to the shooting shortly after 2 a.m. at at the gas station on U.S. Business 98 at Williams Street which left Marqueze McGhee, 25, and Xavier M. Buckler, 23, dead.

    Another victim, 26-year-old Dalreco Franklin, was treated and released from Bay Medical Sacred Heart Health Center for a gunshot wound to the leg.

    “We are searching for two suspects and we believe two more suspects will be identified,” Panama City Police Sgt. Jon Morris said. “We’re seeking more information at this time.”

    As of Saturday, police were not sure what happened prior to the shooting. Officers responded to Petro, 1307 E. 5th St., at 2:12 a.m., where they learned three men had been shot during a disturbance. McGhee and Buckler, both of Panama City, were taken to Bay Medical where they were pronounced dead.

    Franklin was released without charges being filed.

    Witnesses near the Petro station said they were awakened Saturday by two or three successive gunshots.

    One resident, who declined to give his name, said he looked out his window to see one man lying motionless near the gas pumps. A second man appeared to be trying to flee before he collapsed near Bay Avenue, a block west of Williams Street.

    Police cordoned off a three-block area around the station while they gathered evidence. As of Saturday afternoon, police had not made arrests in connection to the shooting.

    The investigation is ongoing. Police encourage anyone with information to contact Detective Steve Johnson at the Panama City Police Department at 850-872-3100 or to report tips anonymously to CrimeStoppers at 850-785-TIPS. 

     

     

    An earlier version of this story is below

    PANAMA CITY — Two people were killed overnight at a gas station in the Millville section of Panama City.

    Witnesses in the area of the Petro station at U.S. Business 98 and Williams Street said they were awakened Saturday about 2 a.m. to the sound of two or three successive gunshots.

    One man, who declined to give his name, said he looked out his window to see one man lying motionless near the gas pumps. A second man appeared to be attempting to flee before collapsing near Bay Avenue, a block west of Williams Street.

    Police have cordoned off a three-block area around the station while they gather evidence from the crime scene. No other info was immediately available Saturday morning, and it's unclear whether any suspects have been detained or identified.

    Check back later for updates


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    FOUNTAIN — Federal investigators were at the scene of a deadly small plane crash in northern Bay County searching for clues that might help them determine what caused the Sunday morning crash.

    Bay County Sheriff’s deputies were called Sunday around 9:25 a.m. to the scene of a plane crash in a wooded area near Longleaf Road at the edge of Bay County. Investigators said the plane just departed from Maran Airfield, a small grass airstrip, before it crashed.

    Pilot Patrick Shultz, his mother Kathleen Shultz, his aunt Nancy Moore and his 14-year-old nephew Nicholas Hoang were onboard. The plane, a 1974 Piper Cherokee AP 28, burned after crashing. Only Patrick Shultz survived, and he was taken to the hospital in critical condition. He remained in critical condition Monday after being transferred to a Georgia hospital that specializes in treatment of severe burns, BCSO spokeswoman Ruth Corley said.

    National Transportation Safety Board spokesman Nicholas Worrell said the investigator at the scene was just beginning an investigation that would likely take between six months and a year. The investigator was documenting the scene and interviewing witnesses Monday, but it will likely be a few more days before the wreckage is even removed, Worrell said.

    “It’s too early to find out even the cause,” Worrell said Monday.

    The NTSB will typically issue a report of preliminary findings within about a month of crash, Worrell said.
    First responders from Bay, Calhoun and Jackson Counties dealt with difficult terrain and wildfire from the explosion to reach the scene Sunday morning.
     


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