Around the Region - Jan. 27


Published: Tuesday, January 27, 2009 at 6:01 a.m.
Last Modified: Tuesday, January 27, 2009 at 12:04 p.m.

POLICE BEAT

Scooter rider dies after minor crash

An elderly man who appeared to suffer only minor injuries when his scooter was bumped by a pickup in Trenton, died the next day in the hospital.

Trenton Police Chief Billy Smith said the fatality remained under investigation on Monday.

On Thursday, Jewel Lewis, 74, of Trenton, was riding his electric scooter south across State Road 26 from the Capital City Bank branch office. At the same time, Jared Gore, 27, of Chiefland, had just turned onto SR 26, and his pickup bumped the back of the scooter, Smith said.

"We thought this was a minor traffic collision," Smith said. "His (Lewis') scooter didn't even turn over when it was bumped. It happened when he hit the curb. We didn't even think he was hurt, but he went to the hospital with a few bumps and bruises."

Smith said doctors determined Lewis had a broken hip and shoulder. Lewis died at an area hospital on Friday.

An autopsy was performed, but Smith said the preliminary results were inconclusive and that it could take weeks for a final autopsy report to be issued.

—Karen Voyles

One home burns, another damaged

Two fires broke out at homes near Archer on Sunday, destroying one residence and damaging a second, firefighters reported.

No injuries were reported in either blaze, one in the 17000 block of SW 129th Place near Archer and the other in the 14900 block of SW State Road 45 (US 41/27) south of Archer.

A woman and two small children lost their home in the fire on SW 129th Place, which was reported just before 6 a.m.

The residents reported the fire, which destroyed the single-story, wood-frame home, said Carol Davis, public information officer for Alachua County and Gainesville fire services.

A neighbor contacted authorities about the second blaze at a mobile home on US 41/27, which was reported just after 1 p.m.

When Alachua County Department of Public Safety personnel arrived, they found about a quarter of the home on fire. The blaze caused an estimated $50,000 damage.

Suspect: Drugs planted in brawl

A man found trying to hide beneath clothing in the back seat of a car claimed the cocaine that police found in his pockets had been planted on him in a bar fight.

Derri Dometric Danzy, 35, of Trenton, was charged with possession of cocaine and possession with intent to distribute marijuana when he was arrested in Chiefland early Saturday.

According to reports filed by police Officer Alton Horne, Sgt. Jay Bolton and Levy County sheriff's Deputy Jimmy Anderson, witnesses said Danzy had started a fight in the parking lot of the Knuckle Headz Bar.

Danzy reportedly left in a Dodge driven by another man. The car was stopped by Anderson a block north of the bar.

Officers said they found in Danzy's pockets a plastic bag of cocaine and several plastic baggies of marijuana. Danzy reportedly told officers that the men he was fighting with must have planted them on him.

— Karen Voyles

Robbery victim tied up with tape

Robbers used duct tape to tie up a resident before stealing cash from the man's home Saturday afternoon, the Alachua County Sheriff's Office reported.

A man answered a knock at his home at the Ravines Apartments at SW 71st Way at about 2 p.m., according to the law enforcement agency.

Two men entered the home. One was armed with a handgun and forced the resident upstairs, deputies reported.

The robbers used duct tape to tie the man to a chair. Then they stole cash from the resident's safe and took the man's phone.

The victim was able to free himself from the duct tape, armed himself with a shotgun and went to a neighbor's home to call for help.

— Lise Fisher

Work-release escapee captured

A man who escaped from an area work-release program Saturday was back in custody the same day after he stole a pickup, the Alachua County Sheriff's Office reported.

Staff with the Alachua County Work Release Center reported that Thomas M. Pettigrew, 21, of Tallahassee, was found missing early Saturday, said Sheriff's Office spokesman Art Forgey.

Pettigrew had been serving a sentence for grand theft and battery at the center.

At about the same time, a woman reported to authorities that Pettigrew had taken her boyfriend's vehicle, Forgey said. Later Saturday afternoon, Deputy Karen Hodgkinson spotted the stolen vehicle and tried to stop it.

The driver, identified as Pettigrew, fled from the pickup. Deputy Christopher Drake later found Pettigrew on a wooded trail leading to the Greenleaf neighborhood, the Sheriff's Office reported.

— Lise Fisher

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