Around the region for Sept. 21, 2013


Published: Friday, September 20, 2013 at 10:00 p.m.
Last Modified: Friday, September 20, 2013 at 8:22 p.m.

POLICE BEAT

Motorcyclist, 27, killed in accident

A Gainesville man was killed early Friday morning when he lost control of his motorcycle and drove off the road, according to the Florida Highway Patrol.

Scott Anderson Gillen, 27, was killed in the crash north of Gainesville, FHP reported in a news release.

The accident happened at about 1:25 a.m. on State Road 121 at County Road 231. Gillen was northbound on SR 121 on a 2001 Honda Shadow when he failed to negotiate the curve at CR 231, FHP reported.

Gillen drove off the east edge of the road, lost control, got back onto the road and overturned. He was thrown from the motorcycle. Gillen was not wearing a helmet and died at the scene, FHP reported.

Speed was likely a contributing factor, the report states, adding that it is unknown if alcohol or drugs were involved.

— Cindy Swirko

Report: Robber takes $3K from Interlachen bank

A robber made off with about $3,000 from an Interlachen bank Friday morning, according to the Putnam County Sheriff’s Office.

The robbery occurred about 10:35 a.m. at the TD Bank on State Road 20. The man had a manila envelope when he approached the teller and demanded money.

He fled in a late-model tan or gold Nissan Maxima and is presumed to have gone west on SR 20, the Sheriff’s Office reported in a news release. It was not immediately clear whether the robber was armed.

The robber was described as a black man in his early 20s. He was clean-shaven with hair cut close to his head. He wore a black T-shirt, blue jeans and gray sneakers with light blue or turquoise trim.

Anyone with information on the robbery may call the Sheriff’s Office at 386-329-0800 or 800-426-9975.

— Cindy Swirko

Motorcyclist in fatal crash from Germany

The motorcyclist killed in a Sunday accident in Levy County has been identified as Ewald Josef Hackenberger of Berlin, Germany, according to the Florida Highway Patrol.

Hackenberger, 68, was killed when his motorcycle ran off the road and he was thrown into a sign post, according to a report.

He was headed north on Alternate U.S. 27 in Chiefland near U.S. 19 at 5:40 p.m. when he lost control of the 2013 Harley-Davidson Softail, according to FHP.

The bike hit the curb before overturning, throwing the rider — who was wearing a helmet — into a signpost, the FHP reported.

A witness told investigators that the roadway was wet and there was light rainfall when the accident occurred.

— Cindy Swirko

STATE

Closing arguments in trial of ‘hiccup girl’

CLEARWATER — A woman who gained fame because of her uncontrollable hiccupping as a teen and is now on trial accused of murder charges wept on Friday while her attorney gave his closing argument.

It was the fifth and final day in the trial of Jennifer Mee, the 22-year-old St. Petersburg woman accused of setting up a robbery that went bad and ended in murder.

Mee didn’t take the witness stand in her defense during the trial.

Officials say Mee lured the victim to an abandoned home under the pretense of buying marijuana in October of 2010. Once there, two of Mee’s friends robbed him at gunpoint — but the victim struggled and was shot four times.

Mee and two men were charged in the death of Shannon Griffin, a 22-year-old Walmart worker.

Attorney John Trevena — Mee’s attorney — said his client did not orchestrate the robbery and that jurors don’t have enough evidence to convict her.

— The Associated Press

Sprinter’s stolen Olympic gold medal recovered

BRADENTON — Authorities have recovered a 2012 London Olympics gold medal that was reported stolen earlier this month by a Bahamian sprinter living in the Tampa Bay area.

Bradenton police said 22-year-old Allen Jeffery Nichols was arrested Thursday and charged with theft from a vehicle. The medal was located several hours later and returned to 24-year-old Demetrius Pinder on Friday.

Other arrests may follow.

— The Associated Press

Police: USF clear after man with gun spotted

TAMPA — University of South Florida police have issued an all-clear notice after spending several hours searching for a man spotted carrying a gun on campus.

Police said Friday afternoon that they would continue to search but were confident the man was not on campus.

Authorities said police received a call at around 1:40 p.m. Friday from a person saying they saw a man jump a fence with a weapon. About a half hour later, campus officials put an alert on the school’s website and sent text messages, saying that students, faculty and visitors should avoid the area near the USF Health complex.

The complex was evacuated but has since reopened.

— The Associated Press

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