Around the region

Published: Friday, January 4, 2008 at 6:01 a.m.
Last Modified: Friday, January 4, 2008 at 12:00 a.m.

Prison officer arrested on child-sex charges

Bradford County deputies arrested a prison officer earlier this week on charges of having sex with a teenage girl.

Paul Vincent Nash, 24, of Starke was charged with two counts of lewd or lascivious battery on a person under 16, according to a report from the Bradford County Sheriff's Office.

Nash was interviewed by officers and said he had consensual sex with the 14-year-old girl on two occasions, according to an arrest report.

Officers learned about the incidents after the girl spoke to her family about Nash, Bradford County Sheriff's Maj. Danny Pearson said.

Deputies reported Nash is a corrections officer at Union Correctional Institution.

- Lise Fisher

Suspect arrested in case where man was run over

Police arrested a Gainesville man, accusing him of ramming another motorist's vehicle and then running over a man earlier this week.

Michael Paul Cremeans, 28, was charged with aggravated battery. He was released from the Alachua County jail on a $10,000 bond Thursday afternoon, according to jail records.

Gainesville Police arrested Cremeans late Wednesday, alleging he was involved in an incident at Main Street and Depot Avenue early Tuesday.

The occupants of a vehicle told police another vehicle struck their pickup as they were driving on Main Street, according to police. When they stopped and got out, they said the vehicle came toward one man. David Asbell, 26, of Gainesville fell and was run over, causing lacerations and abrasions on his body.

Cremeans and his brother, who is his identical twin and was with him that night, agreed to meet with officers, Detective Patty Nixon said. Cremeans told police he had been driving the pickup but denied ramming the other vehicle or deliberately hitting one of its passengers.

- Lise Fisher

Police probe stabbing in Bradford County

The Bradford County Sheriff's Office is investigating what events led to a man being stabbed in the chest on New Year's Eve.

Officers were called to an area off U.S. 301 near Lawtey late Monday because of a report that someone had been stabbed, according to the Sheriff's Office.

David Morrison, 50, told officers someone beat him up and stabbed him in the chest, but refused to provide any other details, a Sheriff's Office report stated.

Witnesses told officers they saw a silver-looking car pull up with one man and Morrison inside. The other man swore and swung at Morrison, who told officers that he was pushed out of the car.

Morrison, who has a Starke address, was taken to Shands at the University of Florida, Maj. Danny Pearson said. An update on his condition was not available Thursday.

The case has been assigned to an investigator who was trying to gather more details about what happened, Pearson said.

- Lise Fisher

Information sought about Lake City woman

A Lake City woman remained in critical condition this week at a Gainesville hospital with officers still searching for information about how she received a significant head wound on Christmas Eve.

Judie Smith, 38, was found about 10 a.m. Dec. 24, 2007, in the grass on the east side of town near the Sav-A-Lot store, the Lake City Police Department had reported.

She had a severe wound to her head and bruising on her face, and was flown to a local hospital for emergency surgery on an open skull fracture.

Police do not know what happened to Smith and are asking anyone with information about the case to call the agency's anonymous tip line at (386) 719-2068.

- Lise Fisher

Farm owner kicked in the head by horse

A 72-year-old horse farm owner who was kicked in the head Thursday by a horse is in critical condition at Shands at the University of Florida.

Don Rice, of 3223 NE 86th Lane, was airlifted to the hospital after he was found unconscious near a barn on his farm, according to a report from the Marion County Sheriff's Office.

Linda Hayes told a sheriff's deputy that she arrived at the thoroughbred horse farm, Antigo Ranch, about 7 a.m. and while walking toward the barn, noticed Rice on the ground and not moving.

Hayes said Rice was underneath a gate that's close to a pasture and the horses were gathered around him.

- Ocala Star-Banner


Fire destroys home in Alachua County

Fire destroyed a two-story home in northern Alachua County overnight, firefighters reported Thursday.

Firefighters were called to a blaze at the wood-frame house at 16120 W. County Road 1491 late Wednesday, according to Alachua County Fire Rescue spokeswoman Megan Crandall.

No one was injured in the fire, but the home was a total loss, Crandall said. The cause was still unknown, she reported.

Firefighters were at the location throughout most of the night and found themselves again battling the blaze Thursday morning when it rekindled. Crandall said the low relative humidity may have been a factor in the fire reigniting.

Firefighters remained busy overnight and into the day Thursday, responding to calls from residents concerned about a burning smell coming from furnaces and chimneys. The fire rescue agency advised residents to take precautions before colder weather returns to the area and have heating equipment such as furnaces or chimneys professionally cleaned to avoid problems and possible fires.

- Lise Fisher


Two killed, eight hurt in Polk County accident

DAVENPORT - A truck driver failed to stop for traffic, plowing into nine other vehicles in an accident Thursday morning that killed two people, state troopers said.

David Lunger, 61, of Jacksonville was driving a tractor-trailer north on U.S. 27 when he slammed into nine other vehicles, including another truck, stopped at a red light, according to a news release.

The crash occurred about 11:30 a.m. in northeastern Polk County, about 35 miles southwest of Orlando.

Heather Hurd, 26, of Davenport was riding in one of the cars and died of her injuries at the scene.

The driver of another car, Stephanie Phillips, 37, of Haines City died later at an Orlando hospital, the Florida Highway Patrol said.

Eight other people, including Lunger, suffered non-life threatening injuries in the collision and were taken to local hospitals for treatment.

Aside from the trucks, most of the vehicles involved in the accident were destroyed. Troopers estimated the damages at $116,000.

The crash remained under investigation and charges were pending.

- The Associated Press

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