News

FLORIDA BRIEFS: Driver who fled fatal crash is arrested

MIAMI -- A van driver who a witness said limped away from a crash that killed three people has been arrested, police said Monday.

Cedric Levon Williams, 48, of Miami, crashed his blue van into a Honda Civic early Sunday as the van raced through the city, Miami police said. Shortly before the crash, authorities had issued an alert about the van, saying it had been seen speeding erratically.

Williams’ van ran a red light and T-boned the Civic, according to an arrest report.

The car’s driver, Robert Wissler, 25, of Sunny Isles Beach, died at the scene. Also killed were two back-seat passengers, 20-year-old Lindsey Ellen Ennis of Duluth, Ga., and 19-year-old Kayla Elizabeth Bain of Tutnam Station, N.Y.

A male passenger in the front seat, 69-year-old Robert Judd of North Miami Beach, was injured and remained hospitalized Monday, authorities said.

Williams was held on $36,000 bond on charges of leaving the scene of a fatal crash.

Officer retires after allegation of patrol car sex

TAMPA -- Tampa Police say a police corporal has left the force after investigators determined he had consensual sex in his patrol car while on duty.

Scott Guffey, a 24-year department veteran, retired last week in lieu of dismissal. Police determined Guffey violated four departmental regulations: standard of conduct, supervisory responsibilities, attentiveness to duty and sexual activity while on duty.

The 46-year-old officer had earned $80,434 a year. He will receive $55,741 annually in pension.

Police said they received a complaint Dec. 18 from a person claiming to have observed an officer potentially having sex in an unmarked car at Al Lopez Park. Investigators say they conducted surveillance and found him having sex with a woman in her mid-20s.

FPL asks to drop Skop challenge as now moot

TALLAHASSEE -- Florida Power & Light Co. has asked to withdraw the utility’s court case against former Public Service Commissioner Nathan Skop.

FPL claimed Skop was biased and wanted the 1st District Court of Appeal in Tallahassee to block him from voting on matters affecting the company. Skop denied the allegation.

It became a moot issue, though, when Skop’s term expired Saturday. FPL moved to dismiss on Monday.

A nominating panel refused to consider Skop for reappointment, and Gov. Charlie Crist appointed Tampa lawyer Julie Brown to replace him. She took office Sunday.

Brown is one of four new members named to replace commissioners ousted by the panel or lawmakers after rejecting rate increases sought by FPL and Progress Energy Florida.

Firefighter resigns after arson charge

APOPKA -- A central Florida firefighter has resigned after being charged with setting a co-worker on fire during a Christmas party last month.

Apopka police say 44-year-old Jason Leblanc has been charged with arson and arson resulting in the injury of another.

Police say Leblanc was at a Christmas party Dec. 18 when he poured lighter fluid on 25-year-old Jack Shumate’s legs and lit him on fire. The party had not been organized by the Apopka Fire Department.

Shumate was taken to a nearby hospital with second-degree burns on his legs. He has not returned to work since the fire.

Alcohol was available at the party, but officials say it’s not clear if Leblanc or Shumate had been drinking.

Police officer’s son jailed over homeless attack

SANFORD -- A police officer’s son has been booked into the Seminole County Jail, almost a month after a video camera captured him sucker-punching a homeless man.

Police say 21-year-old Justin Collison turned himself in to authorities Monday morning. Collison, son of Sanford Police Lt. Chris Collison, faces an aggravated battery charge stemming from a Dec. 4 incident that a witness caught on tape.

Acting Police Chief Jerry Hargrett said last week that officers made “blatant” policy violations following the attack, but added there was no evidence Collison received preferential treatment.

Police say Collison punched Sherman Ware, who pitched forward, hit his head on a light pole and broke his nose.

Teens charged in laser incident with pilots

NAPLES -- Two teenagers face felony charges after pointing a laser light at a police helicopter.

Authorities say the teens were shining the laser pen into the air about 2 a.m. on New Year’s Day. Two pilots in a tactical helicopter from the Collier County Sheriff’s Office spotted the green laser beam while patrolling about 500 feet in the air.

The pilots were forced back to the hangar. They each suffered ruptured blood vessels in their left eyes and were treated at a local hospital.

Deputies tracked the light to a home where 19-year-old Hidlago Moreno and his 17-year-old friend said they were playing with the laser.

The teens were charged with pointing a laser at an aircraft operator, causing injury.

Cruise ship worker drowns at Port Everglades

FORT LAUDERDALE -- Police are investigating the drowning of a cruise ship worker at Port Everglades.

Police and fire rescue officials responded to a call about 6:50 p.m. Sunday. The man, whose identity has not been released, apparently drowned. It was not clear whether he fell off the ship.

Port Everglades spokeswoman Ellen Kennedy says the man worked aboard the Costa Altantica cruise ship, which was docked at the port.

-- Herald wire service

  Comments