Police Briefs 10/11/18

Clay County Sheriff's Office
Posted 10/10/18

Clay man facing DUI manslaughterGREEN COVE SPRINGS – A Green Cove Springs man remains in Clay County Jail with his bond set at $150,755 facing one count of DUI manslaughter after allegedly …

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Police Briefs 10/11/18


Clay man facing DUI manslaughter

GREEN COVE SPRINGS – A Green Cove Springs man remains in Clay County Jail with his bond set at $150,755 facing one count of DUI manslaughter after allegedly causing a fatal crash in March.

Kevin Lee Phillips, 26, was also charged Oct. 3 with DUI with property damage for the March 17 crash that took place after he had been allegedly drinking at Saloon 17 north of the city.

According to the arrest warrant, Phillips was driving a white 2003 Volvo T6 northbound on U.S. Highway 17 at a high speed. A witness said Phillips was driving erratically.

Another driver was attempting to turn into the Winn Dixie shopping center but did not see how fast Phillips was driving. Phillips collided with the front of the victim’s vehicle and the driver of this vehicle as well as a passenger in Phillips’ vehicle were ejected.

Phillips was transported to Orange Park Medical Center for treatment and also submitted to a voluntary blood draw. The Florida Department of Law Enforcement test showed that Phillips had a blood-alcohol content of .136 at the time of the accident.

Keystone man in serious condition

KEYSTONE HEIGHTS – A Keystone Heights man is in serious condition after a single vehicle crash on State Road 21 at SE 35th Street.

The Florida Highway Patrol said James A. Tassell II, 18, was seriously injured Oct. 6 after the vehicle he was driving overturned.

According to the accident report, Tassell was traveling northbound on State Road 21 when he drove onto the shoulder.

Tassell attempted to correct this with a sudden turn to the left causing the vehicle to rotate. Tassell then attempted to correct again with a sudden turn to the right which caused the vehicle to overturn.

Tassell was transported to UF Health Gainesville. The crash is still under investigation by FHP.

20-year-old charged with child abuse involving teen girlfriend

ORANGE PARK – A Middleburg Man is charged with child abuse and resisting arrest after he allegedly pushed a 16-year-old into bushes.

Darrell Lanard Hackley, 20, was arrested Oct. 7th at 5:30 p.m. at the Books-A-Million in the Orange Park Mall after a reported assault occurred.

According to the Clay County Sheriff’s Office arrest report, Hackley and the victim got into a verbal argument because the victim was texting an ex-boyfriend.

The victim entered a women’s restroom and Hackley followed her and took the phone from her as she was using the restroom.

The argument continued outside and Hackley pushed the victim into the bushes two times. The victim entered the Books-A-Million to get away from Hackley.

Upon making contact with Hackley, a Clay County deputy attempted to take Hackley into custody and Hackley began resisting.

Hackley was transported to the Clay County Jail and is being charged with one count of felony child abuse without great bodily harm and one count of resisting arrest without violence.

Help needed to ID bank robber

ORANGE PARK – Clay County Sheriff’s Office is asking the community to help identify the white male who robbed the Bank of America on Tuesday.

Police believe the subject held up the bank at 29 Blanding Blvd. around 9:30 a.m. and fled the scene. It marks the second robbery at the bank this year.

CCSO said the man left in an unknown vehicle, originally thought to be a dark colored Lexus style; however, that has been determined otherwise. The subject is considered armed based on threats made. Police ask that residents refrain from contact with the man and only call or text CCSO.

Contact the Communications Section at (904) 264-6512 or contact First Coast Crime Stoppers, 1-866-845-TIPS.

Body found at boat ramp

GREEN COVE SPRINGS – The Clay County Sheriff’s Office said the body that was found at Knight’s boat ramp on River Lane Monday appears to be that of missing 67-year-old, Joseph Woodall, based on preliminary investigation. Woodall was reported missing Sept. 19.

Final confirmation of identity will be made by the Jacksonville Medical Examiner’s Office. At this time, no foul play is suspected.

The body was found shortly after 8 a.m. on Sept. 9 after floating in the St. Johns River.

Fugitive arrested in Orange Park area

ORANGE PARK – A woman wanted in a fatal Hillsborough County home invasion robbery was extradited this week from the Clay County Jail after being captured near Orange Park on Oct. 6.

The Clay County Sheriff’s Office arrested 32-year-old Ashley Causey at 1600 Wells Rd. after receiving a call from the about the suspect. She was booked into the Clay County Jail on charges of home invasion with a firearm and murder resulting from a drug sale after her arrest that took place at 11:42 p.m.

The Hillsborough County Sheriff’s Office said Causey is one of three suspects wanted for the May 31 shooting of Michael Caddo, 25, of Tampa. HCSO Deputies arrested Taylor Pritt and Vincent Benitez, both 20, on Oct. 6 and charged them with second degree felony murder with a firearm and robbery/home invasion with a firearm.

Police said evidence showed Pritt, Benitez, Causey and Caddo attempted to rob a house at 12966 Morris Bridge Rd. in Tampa. The homeowner shot and killed Caddo while the felony act of robbery was taking place.

Felony murder is the charge given to suspects in crimes in which any type of felony occurs – in this case robbery – in conjunction with a murder.

Convicted felon faces gun, assault charge

KEYSTONE HEIGHTS – Authorities arrested a Keystone Heights woman for allegedly using a gun to threaten her fiancé.

The Clay County Sheriff’s Office arrested Toni Michelle Ellison, 43, on Oct. 5 at 3:26 a.m. at a home in the 6400 block of County Road 315C.

According to the arrest report, Ellison – who has a January 2017 conviction for felony battery – “held a firearm down by her right leg while threatening to kill her fiancé.”

She faces a misdemeanor charge of resisting an officer for pulling away from the arresting officer and for allegedly trying to drop her body down to prevent being able to walk. Police said Ellison later pretended to have a seizure to prevent arrest, but as the symptoms continued, they called fire and rescue to transport her to Orange Park Medical Center for a medical review.

She is also charged with aggravated assault with a deadly weapon, possession of a weapon or ammo by a convicted felon.

She is currently free from jail on bond.

Melrose man killed in weekend accident

STARKE – A Melrose man died in a two-vehicle accident last weekend in Bradford County, according to the Florida Highway Patrol.

Police said Darius Donley, 34, of Melrose, was driving a 2004 Suzuki motorcycle heading northbound on County Road 21B at 11:20 p.m. on Oct. 6 when the bike collided head-on with a 1998 Toyota Corolla sedan that was heading southbound. Donley, who was pronounced dead at Shands Starke Regional Medical Center, was thrown from the bike and landed in the middle of the road facing west.

The driver of the Corolla, Joseph Gordon, 33, also of Melrose, was not injured in the crash. FHP said charges are pending.

Clay man facing 10 counts of child pornography possession

ORANGE PARK – Acting on a tip from the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children and Google, the Clay County Sheriff’s Office arrested an Orange Park-area man for 10 counts of possession child pornography.

On Oct. 4, CCSO took into custody Auston Coy Montgomery, 27, from a home in the 1500 block of Raft Court, where they used a warrant to search the home the previous day.

According to the warrant, Google provided investigators with Montgomery’s gmail address on April 11, 2016 and said he had uploaded six images depicting child sexual abuse. The IP address led officers to a home in the 300 block of Canis Drive. It wasn’t until May 23, 2018 that CCSO reviewed the images and confirmed the content was explicit.

On Aug. 20 this year, Montgomery gave detectives permission to search his laptop, where police uncovered more than 100 images depicting children being sexually exploited. Some images were recovered from Montgomery’s laptop recycle file bin.

At press time, Montgomery remained in the Clay County Jail where his bond is set at $250,030.

Clay driver in critical condition after crash

JACKSONVILLE – A Green Cove Springs woman was placed in critical condition after being caught in the middle of a hit and run collision that occurred on Oct. 3.

The Florida Highway Patrol said the 5:30 p.m. crash resulted in two injuries and led to roadblocks involving four vehicles occurred on the southbound lanes of Interstate 95, south of Philips Highway.

FHP said an unknown vehicle rear ended a green Toyota Corolla, which caused the Corolla to rear end a red Ford Mustang, which rear ended a white work truck.

Angela Hammitt, 41, of Jacksonville, driver of a 2016 Toyota Corolla, was listed in serious condition, while Angie Sebesta, 30, of Green Cove Springs, was listed in critical condition at Memorial Hospital. Sebesta was driving a 2016 Ford Mustang during the crash. Rammel Langer, 42, of Jacksonville, was driving a 2013 Isuzu but was not injured.

Green Cove Springs man facing charges of DUI manslaughter

Clay man facing DUI manslaughter charge in Levy County

CEDAR KEY – A Middleburg man faces DUI manslaughter charges after a hit and run accident involving a pedestrian in Cedar Key, Florida last month.

The Florida Highway Patrol arrested Adrian Wilson Johns, 28, of a Becky Street address in Middleburg, for the crash that took place Sept. 29 at 1:33 a.m.

Police said Johns was driving a 1996 Ford Ranger when his vehicle struck and killed Ronald Thomas, 51, of Otter Creek, Florida while Thomas was walking on the edge of the roadway on State Road 24 near Sunset Point Road in the city limits in Cedar Key.

According to the FHP press release, Johns apparently fled the scene of the crash but was later stopped with help from officers with the Cedar Key Police Department.

After he was apprehended, FHP charged Johns with DUI manslaughter and leaving the scene of a crash involving death.

Woman held in arson for hire scheme

GREEN COVE SPRINGS – A Jacksonville woman arrested in late September remains in the Clay County Jail on charges she and an accomplice were paid to burn down a home in Green Cove Springs while the homeowner was inside.

McKayla Newcom, 21, turned herself in at the Clay County Sheriff’s Office on Sept. 24 after investigators with the State Fire Marshal’s Office obtained a warrant for her arrest.

In the warrant, Detective Jerry Baker with the Florida Division of Investigative and Forensic Services, Bureau of Fire, Arson and Explosives Investigations, said Newcom and another suspect intentionally set fire to an occupied home at 820 Cove St. in Green Cove Springs on Aug. 6 approximately one-minute after midnight.

Newcom had a friend drive her and the other suspect – who has yet to be arrested in Clay County – to the home along with Newcom’s 16-month-old child, which was in the back seat of the car during the time they set the fire.

According to the warrant, Newcom admitted setting the fire along with her accomplice and that they burned the home at the request of the homeowner’s ex-girlfriend. Baker said the spurned girlfriend “wanted to scare” the victim “into coming back to her.” Baker did not explain in the warrant, however, how the victim’s girlfriend knew or was connected to Newcom and her accomplice.

In an Aug. 8 interview with Baker, Newcom and her partner in crime gave clear details on how they set the fire using lighter fluid and a disposable lighter. Newcom also said the girlfriend had also agreed to pay both of them for the arson, but she has yet to receive any money.

Newcom’s bond is set at $100,003.


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