Around the Region

Published: Wednesday, January 14, 2004 at 6:01 a.m.
Last Modified: Wednesday, January 14, 2004 at 12:32 a.m.

Area man dies after heart problem, crash

  • A Hawthorne resident died after he apparently suffered a heart problem and then crashed his car near Windsor on Tuesday afternoon.

    Clifton Curtis Beckham, 71, was driving west on County Road 1474 near Windsor at 1:20 p.m. when his car drifted right and hit a mailbox and then a tree, according to the Florida Highway Patrol.

    Beckham was airlifted to Shands at the University of Florida, where he died as a result of an apparent heart-related problem, the crash report states.

    Beckham had no passengers in his 2003 GMC and nobody else was injured.

    - Kathy Ciotola

    Escaped Putnam inmate caught at Orlando home

  • A Putnam County jail inmate who escaped Jan. 7 was caught Tuesday at an Orlando home.

    Johnny Staten, 23, was being held in the Putnam County jail after being sentenced to 30 years in prison on a charge of armed carjacking.

    Authorities suspect Staten escaped when another inmate gave him a white jumpsuit used by the inmate kitchen staff, Putnam County Sheriff's officials have said.

    Staten got access to the open corridor and then scaled the jail's 10-foot perimeter fence, topped with 2 feet of razor wire, officials allege.

    Sheriff's Detectives Lt. Scott Simmons and John Merchant have traveled back and forth to Orlando, working with agents from the Florida Department of Law Enforcement.

    Agents from FDLE's violent crimes task force were staking out an Orlando home when they confronted a man matching Staten's description. They arrested Staten without incident. After questioning, Staten admitted he was the man who escaped, according to sheriff's officials.

    Staten will be booked into the Orange County jail on charges of escape.

    - Kathy Ciotola

    Gainesville man, 22, arrested in robbery

  • A Gainesville man was arrested Tuesday on a robbery charge after police say he grabbed a woman and stole her money and ATM card earlier this month.

    The woman, Vanya Slavcheva, was walking in the 3900 block of SW 20th Avenue at 8:54 p.m. Jan. 3 when a man grabbed her from behind and placed her in a choke hold, according to the arrest report.

    He demanded money and her ATM card. He then demanded her PIN and threatened to kill her if she lied to him, the report states.

    Slavcheva gave him her PIN and $10.

    She later positively identified the robber in a photo lineup, the report states.

    Randy James Gillis, 22, was booked in to the Alachua County jail Tuesday.

    - Kathy Ciotola

    Bush leads U.S. group at Guatemala inauguration

  • TALLAHASSEE - Florida Governor Jeb Bush arrived in Guatemala as the leader of a White House delegation on Tuesday, the eve of Guatemala's presidential inauguration.

    The brother of President George W. Bush, Gov. Bush said the White House looks forward to a close relationship with the government of Oscar Berger, winner of Guatemala's December presidential run-off.

    "We join together with the Guatemalan people in this great moment of hope," Gov. Bush said. "And we believe we will work very closely with the administration of Oscar Berger to forge a better future for the people of the United States and Guatemala."

    - The Associated Press

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