The Bizarre World of Florida

Teacher blew a .27 two hours after she was pulled over .. on her way to school at 7:00 a.m. April 16, 2014

0416_nclo_vaughn_nancy_t120A high school teacher was arrested and charged with driving under the influence while on her way to school on a Monday morning.

Nancy Vaughn, a 57-year-old reading teacher at a high school in Estero, Fla., was pulled over shortly before 7 a.m. after the Lee County Sheriff’s Office received a report of a car driving erratically near the school, swerving in and out of lanes. Vaughn denied being under the influence of any substances and stated that she was on her way to work.

However, when Vaughn failed a field sobriety test, the officer arrested her on suspicion of DUI. She ended up having Breathalyzer test readings of 0.26 and 0.27, more than three times the legal limit, when she was tested about two hours later, reported the Naples Daily News.

Vaughn is on probation related to a May 2013 DUI to which she pleaded no contest. She received one year county probation and a one-year license revocation as part of her plea agreement, though she was allowed to drive to and from work.


Just a little friendly advice: When you’re hammered, please leave the ax alone

sfl-flduh-axing-for-trouble-20140415-001It was about 4 a.m. April 5, and it wasn’t the first time Port St. Lucie police had been to Jesse Little’s home on Southwest Burlington Street.

In fact, an officer reported knowing of the address because of repeated calls regarding Little “constantly drunk in his yard” stirring up trouble with his fiancée and neighbors, according to a recently released arrest affidavit.

Little, 28, hadn’t violated any laws the first time the officer went there, but this time apparently would be different.

Little’s fiancée told police Little damaged the walls of the rental home and took an ax to the landlord’s washer and dryer.

She also said Little kept drinking liquor he took from a neighbor’s residence “and had been yelling curses while walking up and down the street.”

The fiancée reported Little knew police were coming, saying he raced inside to pretend to be asleep.

She pointed out a big ax, an edged implement used by lumberjacks in felling trees, on the garage floor. Police saw holes in the drywall and “heavy denting” on the washer and dryer.

Investigators found Little in bed, where he appeared to be faking slumber.

Described as “obviously intoxicated,” Little said he’d been imbibing all night.

Police took Little to the hospital for medical clearance, where he is quoted as telling an officer, “I’m gonna have the Outlaws pay you a visit. You will be over by morning.”

On the way to jail, Little demanded the officer pull over and let him out.

“If you don’t you’ll be (sexual intercoursed) up by the morning, before you even know it!” the affidavit states.

It wasn’t immediately clear whether the officer was “(sexual intercoursed) up by the morning.”

Little, of the 2000 block of Southwest Burlington Street in Port St. Lucie, was arrested on charges including criminal mischief and corruption by threat on a public servant.


Woman tweeted “2drunk2care” before driving the wrong way on a highway at 100mph and causing a double fatality accident April 10, 2014

Filed under: Alcohol,Controversy,Dangerous Nut,Drunk,DUI,Scary,Stupid,WTF? — floridaduh @ 7:21 pm

KAYLA2Five months after a wrong-way wreck on the Sawgrass Expressway which claimed two lives, the driver who allegedly caused the crash, Kayla Mendoza, made her first appearance before a judge, according to CBS Miami.

Mendoza, 21, was taken into custody Monday by the Florida Highway Patrol and charged with two counts of vehicular homicide, as well as manslaughter and driving without a license for the early morning crash that claimed the lives of Marisa Catronio and Kaitlyn Ferrante on Nov. 17, 2013.

Mendoza appeared in a wheelchair before Circuit Judge John “Jay” Hurley. Her attorney told the judge Mendoza may have been the victim of involuntary intoxication. However, Hurley sited the suspect’s Twitter post before the crash which stated she was “2 drunk 2 care.”

According to her boyfriend, Javier Reyes, the tweet was aimed at him. In a search warrant, investigators said witnesses told them Mendoza, who did not have a driver’s license, was drinking at the Tijuana Taxi Co. in Coral Springs prior to the crash.

Hurley told the family members of the women who died he could not hold Mendoza without bond because of the charges, and then set bond at $600,000. CBS Miami reported that if she makes bond, Mendoza would be placed under house arrest.

The Florida Highway Patrol said Mendoza was driving the wrong-way on the highway when she slammed into Catronio’s car. Catronio, 21, was killed and Ferrante, who was driving the car, was seriously injured and later died.

“She changed the lives of our family forever,” said Gary Catronio, Marisa’s father. “You took my baby girl. You took my wife’s best friend. You made bad decisions that night. The right decision was to have a friend drive you home.”

Investigators said Mendoza had a blood alcohol level nearly twice the legal limit after the accident, as well as marijuana in her blood. At least ten drivers called 911 in the early morning hours of that day to report seeing a wrong-way driver traveling recklessly at speeds of up to 100 miles per hour.

Christine Ferrante, Kaitlyn’s mother, said she hopes Mendoza never gets another chance to enjoy her freedom.

“I don’t want her to ever feel the sunshine ever,” Ferrante said. “I want her to stay locked away forever.”

“We need to see her in that courtroom — not wearing what we’re wearing, wearing that jumpsuit and knowing that she destroyed a life and now she destroyed her own,” said Kaitlyn’s sister, Ashely Ferrante. “She made her bed and she has to lie in this now.”

The Catronio and Ferrante families are suing Tijuana Taxi alleging that “Throughout the evening of November 16, 2013 and the early morning hours of November 17, 2013, Tijuana Taxi Co., willfully sold or furnished alcoholic beverages to Mendoza, a minor not of the lawful drinking age.”


Uncorked: Pantless woman stole vino from grocer

sfl-flduh-pantless-vino-thief-20140409-001A woman wearing only a shirt and slippers took two boxes of wine from a grocery store Tuesday and left without paying for the beverages.

Store officials at Publix at 5400 SW College Road, Ocala, told Ocala Police Department Officer Charles Hunt that the woman, who had on a black shirt and slippers, but no underwear or other garment, entered the store at about 1:40 p.m. They said she walked to the wine aisle and picked up two boxes of wine and walked past the cashier line and started out the door, according to the OPD report.

A store manager tried to stop the woman, who “became hysterical” and ran away with the wine, which was valued at $41.68, the report notes.

Officials described the woman as black, of medium build and standing about 5 feet 4 inches tall, with a tattoo on her neck.

Anyone with information about the woman or her whereabouts can call OPD at 369-7000, Crime Stoppers at 368-STOP, or visit www.ocalacrimestoppers.com. Tips can be sent via the MyPD App or by texting 274637 using keyword 368STOP.


Vampires, nudists, snakes: Nobody does wacky like Florida April 7, 2014


By: Scott Maxwell

Last week, news broke that a congressional candidate in Gainesville had a secret pastime: impersonating vampires. And superheroes.

Some people would call this nutty.

In Florida, we just call it Tuesday.

Seriously, that’s not even our highest-profile vampire story. Remember the “vampire killings” from Lake County?

Some of our stories are heartbreakingly tragic. But so many are also mind-numbingly strange.

In Florida, we do weird the way Kansas does wheat.

Here, giant pet snakes escape. And breed. And then invade our national parks.

We have fish that eat people, alligators that eat people and people who eat people.

Two years ago, when news of the “cannibal attack” broke, the nation let out a collective gasp … until learning it was Miami. Then it all made sense.

We have killer amoebas, hanging chads and diaper-wearing astronauts. (All of which would make awesome rock-band names, by the way.)

We have a town named Christmas … where it never snows. We have the world’s smallest post office and a couple trying to build America’s largest house.

I used to think Florida attracted wacky people. Now I think it creates them.

Take my grandfather, for example.

Early in his life, he was a NASA engineer in Virginia — and as strait-laced and buttoned-down as they came. His passions were photography and crossword puzzles.

Then he moved to Florida. After Grandma died, we worried that our sober and contemplative grandfather would become listless and uninspired.

He became neither of those things. Instead, he became a nudist. (Lending more credence to the notion that it’s never the people you want to see naked at a nudist resort.)

At first, we were all: What the heck, Granddad?

But you know what? He found new life and inspiration. He’d travel down Interstate4 from Ormond Beach to Cypress Cove, where he’d pay strict adherence to the two main rules: Never take pictures, and always place a towel on the bar stool before you sit down.

Florida liberated him. And he spent the remaining, widowed years of his life happy. So you go, Granddad.

By the way, nudity is another one of our weird themes.

•”Nude man found dead on killer whale’s back”

•”Florida Lotto winner seeks to open a nude dude ranch”

•”Blind woman sues nudist colony over heavy dog”

Florida newspapers carry such headlines the way other papers carry horoscopes.

Some of that is understandable. It’s hot down here.

And I don’t mean happy, sand-at-your-toes, wind-in-your-hair hot. I mean sweaty-thighs-stuck-to-your-car-seats, armpit-stains-like-dinner-plates hot. It’s enough to make anyone nutty. And naked.

But it cuts both ways. When it’s hot, it makes us crazy. When it’s pleasant, we attract other states’ crazies. I mean, if it’s January and you’re already planning to run a scam, con or heist, would you rather do it in Buffalo or Boynton Beach?

This state is also lousy with newspapers and TV stations, meaning we have more ink-stained wretches and blow-dried broadcasters than your average state to tell all the weird stories.

Finally, there’s our melting-pot effect.

You simply can’t throw so many different cultures together and not expect some fireworks.

But you know what? That is also part of what makes this state so splendidly unique.

We have character and texture — a bouillabaisse of native and newcomer, sinner and saint, scholar and simpleton.

It’s a fusion that produces a weeklong bacchanalia in Key West and pioneering medical research at the Burnham Institute.

It’s the reason Orlando can turn out just as many people for a Veterans Day parade as it does for Come Out With Pride.

And it explains how a mild-mannered rocket engineer can feel inspired to start a new life by ditching his pocket protector — along with everything else he’s wearing.

And, yes, it’s also how we end up with some of the wackiest politicians in America — including a vampire-impersonating, superhero-mimicking, punk-rock lawyer running for Congress.

Just what we need … another lawyer in Congress.


Report: Man convicted of 13th DUI — after being charged with 14th DUI

sfl-flduh-3th-dui-20140404-001A Tennessee man was found guilty Wednesday of his 13th DUI and will now have his license permanently revoked.

Bob Ray Towry also faces up to 21 years in prison.

After deliberating about 45 minutes, a jury found Towry guilty of driving under the influence on a fourth or subsequent offense, fleeing or attempting to elude a law enforcement officer and resisting an officer without violence.

“I don’t think he is going to learn his lesson, but at least we got him off the streets,” Assistant State Attorney Ashley Dusnik said.

Towry was arrested July 15, 2006, by the Holmes Beach Police Department, however, he failed to appear at a hearing April 10, 2007, according to court documents.

A bench warrant was issued for his arrest.

At the time of his arrest, Towry was working as a foreman on a construction project.

Last December, Towry was arrested in his native Tennessee for a 14th DUI offense. He was extradited to Manatee County on Dec. 7.

On Dec. 13, Towry wrote a letter to Judge Edward Nicholas apologizing for missing his court date in 2007.

“I made a mistake and received a DUI,” Towry wrote. “It was first offense when I left. Then it moved up to 4th offense.”

His third offense in Florida, he claimed was 13 years prior.

“In Tennessee the DUIs are no longer held against you after 10 years,” Towry added.

Towry wrote he has a decent job as a general foreman and usually helps build hospital and prisons.

Towry was also charged with refusing to submit to testing and pleaded no contest.

Now Towry faces a lengthy prison sentence although there is no minimum mandatory jail term under Florida law.

“In Tennessee and Georgia, they don’t have a law where a fourth or subsequent DUI is a felony,” Dusnik said. “It’s important to note, all the prior DUIs were misdemeanors so the most he has ever been sentenced to jail has been one year.”

A sentencing hearing has not yet been set.



DUI arrest: Man asleep at the wheel with burrito in hand April 1, 2014

Filed under: Alcohol,Beautiful,Drunk,DUI,Florida Nut,Interesting,OK Then .....,Stupid,WTF? — floridaduh @ 7:12 pm

An inebriated Deltona man was found asleep in his car at a traffic light early Monday holding a half-eaten burrito, Volusia County sheriff’s deputies said.

sfl-flduh-dui-asleep-burrito-20140331-001Daniel Hernandez, 36, who had a hard time waking up, was charged with driving under the influence, an arrest report shows.

Deputies said they were called by a witness who first spotted Hernandez at Howland Boulevard and Newmark Drive, and saw the car drifting from side to side on the road. After an almost five-mile drive, Hernandez stopped at the traffic light at Courtland Boulevard and Doyle Road and would not move. After 15 minutes and several cycles of the traffic light without Hernandez moving, the witness called 9-1-1, a report states.

When deputies arrived at the scene they saw Hernandez asleep in the driver’s seat holding a half-eaten Taco Bell burrito.

Hernandez was asleep with his foot on the brake and the engine running. Deputies banged on his window for about 10 minutes and Hernandez would not wake up, the report states.

Deputies had to a break a window, secure the car and then rub Hernandez’s sternum and try other means of stimulation for two to three minutes before he woke up. Hernandez’ breathalyzer test showed his alcohol level was 0.177, twice the legal limit of 0.08 when drivers are considered impaired, deputies said.


A man is accused of slapping his ex-girlfriend and fatally kicking her miniature pinscher March 29, 2014

fl-animal-cruelty-hollywood-20140327-001Alijon Akbar, 38, of Encino, Calif., faces charges of causing cruel death, pain and suffering to an animal and domestic violence in connection with a 2011 incident, authorities said. He was extradited from California and booked into Broward County jail on Wednesday, records show.

During his first-appearance court hearing Thursday, Akbar was ordered held on a $17,500 bond.

“He had no idea that a warrant was going to be issued, so he did not abscond at any point during the investigation or subsequent to the investigation in this case,” said his attorney, Brett Schwartz. “He wants to see this through.”

In February 2011, police say that Akbar terrified his former girlfriend’s cats and caused the death of her dog, named Karma, according to a Hollywood police report.

The woman got rid of a long-haired feline because Akbar was allergic to it, but kept two other cats, which police say Akbar treated “cruelly.”

Akbar screamed at the animals, stomped on the floor when the pets would try to go into the woman’s bedroom and used a broom to remove them from under the bed, the report said.

The cats grew so scared that they often hid in their covered litter boxes and developed staph infections, the report said. One of the cats was euthanized after the infection grew severe, it said.

The woman then gave away her last remaining cat, but got a new dog when Akbar appeared to approve of it, police said.

Akbar moved out of the home, but eventually returned a year and a half later. During one instance in 2011, Akbar told his ex-girlfriend that he struck the dog with a broom and caused a swollen eye and a cut beneath it after the animal defecated under a couch, the report said.

Akbar told her it was an accident, but admitted that the dog slid under the couch because it was “terrified” of him, it said. Following that incident, Akbar and the woman had a discussion about the dog and he allegedly asked her to spank it to discipline it, police said.

During the discussion, Akbar slapped his ex-girlfriend in the face, and both agreed that he had to move out, authorities said.

As Akbar packed his belongings for the move, the dog tried to run out of the apartment and bit Akbar as he tried to detain the dog. Police say Akbar kicked Karma and put it in its crate. Upon returning from work, the woman found her dog dead and called police.

Akbar admitted to a detective that he kicked Karma, the report said. A necropsy of the dog’s body showed Karma had died from “blunt trauma, liver fracture with abdominal hemorrhage, and hypovolemic shock.”


Underage drinking on spring break? That’s a tasin’ March 28, 2014

Filed under: Alcohol,Amazing,Bad Luck,Controversy,Drunk,Dumb,Interesting,OK Then .....,WTF? — floridaduh @ 1:29 pm

Three teenagers from Ocala will spend part of their spring break behind bars at the Volusia County Branch Jail.

Multi%20Function%20Stun%20GunCapt. Tammy Marris, of Volusia County Beach Safety Ocean Rescue, said the three teenagers, all 19 years old, were drinking on the beach Thursday when they were approached by a beach safety officer.

Because drinking on the beach in Volusia County is illegal — and they were underage — they were told to pour out the alcohol, Marris said.

But one of the teens, Christopher Shulz, became belligerent with the patrol officer, Marris said.

Marris said Shulz became combative and was warned three times that the officer would deploy his stun gun if Shulz didn’t cooperate.

The officer said he was forced to deploy his stun gun when the teen resisted arrest, according to Marris.

Shulz, as well as the other two teens, were eventually taken into custody and transported.


Drunken man harassed condo residents, held boy upside down

sfl-flduh-drunken-man-upside20140327-001A 51-year-old Mary Esther man was arrested after he drunkenly roamed the grounds at a local condominium harassing people, at one point picking up a 5-year-old boy by the legs and holding him upside down.

The Okaloosa County Sheriff’s Office says Michael Lee Coulombe first came to their attention when he harassed people at the condo swimming pool. A deputy who arrived at the scene saw Coulombe and assessed he was drunk. In fact, when he asked Coulombe what he was doing, Coulombe replied that he was drunk.

A witness reported Coulombe had been at the pool drinking and calling people names. Two ladies he allegedly harassed left the pool area. He harassed another person, who called her mother. Her mother called the Sheriff’s Office.

Another person reported Coulombe called him names and hit him in the arm.

A woman told deputies she and her grandson were in the laundry area when Coulombe entered and began physically harassing the 5-year-old. He grabbed the boy by his legs, picked him up and held him upside down, the woman said. Later, by the pool, Coulombe allegedly did the same thing and boy hit his head on a chair and started to cry.

Coulombe was charged with child abuse without great harm and disturbing the peace.



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