Florida Dad Accused Of Throwing 5-Year-Old Daughter Off Bridge

On Thursday morning, a police officer who was not on-duty was going home from job when he said he saw a horrific crime.

A white PT Cruiser travelling at high rate of speed passed his motor vehicle; the driver was driving erratically at the speed almost 100 mph. The officer pursued the vehicle for a short time, it was a brief chase. The car stopped on the Dick Misener Bridge in St. Petersburg, Florida.

Police spokesman Mike Puetz told PEOPLE, “The man reached into the back seat and grabbed the girl. Then he threw her over the railing and into the water”.

The officer said he heard a splash as the girl fell 62 ft. into the water below. He radioed for assistance and climbed over the railing himself, hoping to rescue the child by himself but he didn’t succeed.

The officer added, “He climbed down a ladder down one of the pylons. He couldn’t see her, because the current is extremely strong there”.

Rescue searchers approached the scene within a short time and asked 2 fishermen for help in finding the girl.

Bobby Hay, one of the fishermen, later told the reporters, “He said, ‘You know these waters – take me to where you think she’ll possibly be. So we ran right over where the tide was going one way and the wind was breaking the opposite way. That’s where I thought she’d be. We weren’t far off”.

There they found 5-year-old Phoebe Jonchuck and she was not breathing. She was taken to a nearby hospital by ambulance but did not survive.

A source in the Medical Examiner’s office told PEOPLE that they will perform an autopsy on Thursday to know if the reason of the death was the water or she was killed by the fall.

Meanwhile, other cops caught up with the man in the PT Cruiser. They took John Jonachuk, Phoebe’s biological father into custody. He was charged with first-degree murder, aggravated fleeing and eluding, and aggravated assault with a motor vehicle on a law enforcement officer.

On Thursday afternoon, he is summoned for his bond hearing.

The reason why the man did that is not known and the police also have no idea why he did that.

Puetz added, “You just can’t get inside someone’s head to know why they’d do that. It’s just tragic”.

News Source: www.People.com

Two Teenagers Arrested In Alleged Crime Spree In Florida

Authorities told on Sunday that 2 teenage Kentucky sweethearts, suspected in a crime spree of stolen vehicles and pilfered checks all over the U.S. South, have been arrested in Florida.

On Sunday, 18-year-old Dalton Hayes and his 13-year-old girlfriend, Cheyenne Phillips, were taken into custody without incident around 12:10 a.m. in Panama City Beach, according to the authorities in both states. The 2 had escaped from the police in many states while raising concern about their increasingly bold behavior.

Norman Chaffins, the sheriff of Grayson County, Kentucky, talked about where the teens live saying, “I spoke to Dalton and he was very scared, and he wanted to come home. He wanted me to come bring him home”. Chaffins also told that the teens were getting by on some amount of money they found in a truck stolen in Georgia.

U.S. Marshal’s Service and Panama City Beach Police found Hayes and Phillips asleep in a 2001 Toyota Tundra that was stolen in Georgia, according to the authorities. Officers surrounded the vehicle and arrested both.

The Associated Press was told by Chaffins that the teens should be sent back to Kentucky by the end of the week.

The 2 teens will face the same charges including burglary, theft, criminal trespassing and criminal mischief in Kentucky, told Chaffins. Phillips will face charges in juvenile court due to the reason that she is a minor.

The Bay County jail records show that Hayes was held Sunday on a charge of custodial interference. He is summoned to court on Monday at 8:30 a.m.

According to a DCF spokeswoman DaMonica Rivas, Florida’s Department of Children & Families were called to help Panama City Beach Police, but Phillips was not in the state’s custody.

Rivas added, “The juvenile has been taken to a safe location until arrangements with the family are made”.

According to Chaffins, he is now stress-free because the crime spree ended peacefully. If the couple had not been found asleep and surrounded, they may have escaped again.

“I think me and the family and many other law enforcement agencies were not getting a good feeling about how this was going to turn out” added Chaffins.

Hayes and Phillips started their run from the law and their families earlier this month when they disappeared from their small hometown in western Kentucky.

Tammy Martin, who is the mother of Hayes, had urged her son and his companion to surrender and “face the consequences”.

Martin told that the couple had been dating for almost 3 months. The girl told the family, including Hayes, that she is 19-year-old which everyone believed. Martin said that Cheyenne “would go in and write checks, and she would come out with cigarettes and stuff, so I didn’t have any reason not to believe she wasn’t 19 because normally you can’t buy cigarettes when you’re 13 years old”. She also told that by the time her son came to now that she was only 13, “he was already done in love with her”.

Grayson County court records show that when he hit the road, Hayes was running away from trouble back home. He faces burglary and theft charges in his home county, arising from an arrest in the year 2014.

His mother told that he has decided to be at the local judicial center on 5th of January to know if a grand jury had indicted him on the charges. His case did not come up but by that time the teens were gone.

According to Chaffins, the couple’s behavior had become “increasingly brazen and dangerous”.

They both succeeded twice in escaping from the law officers in Kentucky. They crashed the first truck they stole and hid it in the woods. After that they stole another truck nearby.

They were seen at a Wal-Mart in South Carolina once, where the teens are thought to have passed 2 stolen checks, according to Manning, South Carolina, Police Chief Blair Shaffer.

According to the authorities, the couple then made their way to Georgia and stole a pickup truck from the driveway of a man’s home which was almost 30 miles (50 kilometers) southeast of Atlanta.

Henry County police Lt. Joey Smith said that the homeowner told that he kept 2 handguns inside the vehicle that were stolen.

News Source: www.ABCNews.com

3 Sisters Killed In Florida Crash

56-year-old Rose Neal and her 2 sisters had a chance to go to Miami for enjoyment before travelling back home to take care for her sick 29-year-old son but the day trip took a tragic turn as the 3 sisters, 64-year-old Kay Ferril, 66-year-old Willie Morgane and Neal died early Sunday in a four-vehicle, chain-reaction accident that happened on Interstate 95 in Rockledge, near the exit leading to their homes in Rockledge and Cocoa, Fla.

According to a report released by Florida Highway Patrol investigators on Sunday, the 4rth passenger riding with the women, 66-year-old Barbara Thomas, sustained life-threatening injuries in the accident.

Harvey Neal said, “They were very close”. He came to know about the accident at about 4 a.m. when a Florida Highway Patrol trooper came to his home in Cocoa to inform him about the crash that occurred just south of the Fiske Boulevard exit.

Neal told about his wife, “She was a caring, stay-at-home mother and was taking care of my son who recently got a kidney transplant. My son is autistic and unable to care for himself. She was the only one who cared after him. She loved him. But she finally said she just wanted to get out. They were just coming back from this little gambling trip,” said Neal, who brought up 2 children with his wife.

The accident occurred in the northbound lane of Interstate 95. All the motor vehicles involved were going in the northbound lane.

According to the Florida Highway Patrol investigators, the 2008 Infiniti got out of control by the driver who was identified as 39-year-old Leonardo Alvarez-Savageau and the cause was not known; it hit a guardrail in the median on the darkened roadway. It was not immediately known whether the reason of the accidents is high speed.

Kim Montes, spokeswoman for the Florida Highway Patrol said, “It’s still early on in the investigation and there is a lot we don’t know right now”.

Alvarez-Savageau and his passengers, 26-year-old Mary Vanassee and 24-year-old Shayla Davis sustained serious injuries in the accident.

According to investigators, Vanassee, whose injuries were more serious, was listed in critical condition at a hospital in Melbourne. Vanassee and Davis both were wearing a seatbelt when the accident happened.

Within moments of the Infiniti’s collision with the guardrail, the front end of the Infiniti spun and crashed into the front of a 2007 Hyundai Elantra head on, due to which Ferril, the driver along with Morgane and Rose Neal died.

After a few seconds, a third car, which was a 2012 Toyota Camry driven by 25-year-old George Cornejo, crashed into the back of a Hyundai.

A 4th vehicle, a 2008 Honda Accord driven by 22-year-old Dimitri Vincent then hit the debris from the first 3 vehicles before coming to a rest.

Cornejo and Vincent didn’t sustain life-threatening injuries.

Troopers spent the remaining hours talking to witnesses and gathering proof related to the accident.

Montes said, “All three of the fatalities were sisters. Right now, we still are not sure if they died from the impact of the first crash or the collision from behind.”

Harvey Neal told that the news about his wife and her sisters was devastating. The 2 had been married since 1983 and lived in Cocoa. He said Morgane was retired from Kennedy Space Center. His focus now, he said, was working to find assistance for his son. He added, “She loved him to death. She was with him every day”.

Florida Highway Patrol told that charges are still pending.

News Source: www.USAToday.com

Man Fakes Heart Attack So Friend Can Steal Toys

To steal toys worth $400 from a Winter Haven Wal-Mart, 2 Florida men with felony criminal records tried a fake heart attack diversion.

According to a report by the Smoking Gun, Tarus Scott and Genard Dupree entered the store together and filled up the shopping cart with a Barbie Power Wheel, a Leap Frog tablet and case, and a Barbie Glam Vacation House. After that they separated and Dupree fell to the floor near the exit door, holding his chest while Scott pushed the shopping cart out the door of Winter Haven Wal-Mart.

The police officers said that the fake heart attack “appeared to be done in an attempt to create a distraction long enough for Scott to exit the store, past all points of sale, without paying for the merchandise in the cart”.

After sometime, he got back to normal for his ride.

Police added, “Dupree’s heart trouble lasted 44 seconds before he was able to get to his feet and amble out of Wal-Mart. He met up with Scott in the parking lot and the pair drove away in an SUV”.

Surveillance footage which was recorded helped law enforcement officials to identify both men.

News Source: IjReview

3 Dead And 8 Injured In Florida Car Crash Involving Bear

According to the Seminole police, individuals traveling in a 2nd motor vehicle had stopped for assistance when a 3rd motor hit them.

3 individuals died and 8 sustained injuries in an accident that occurred after a motorist in a Cadillac Escalade struck a bear and stopped along a two-lane road in the Florida Everglades.

Seminole police spokesman Gary Bitner told the Associated Press that individuals riding in a second vehicle on Sunday evening had stopped to assist when a third vehicle hit them. The bear also died in the accident.

Bitner told, “Three people from a second vehicle got out and tried to help and all were struck and killed by a third vehicle”.

On Sunday, the first vehicle hit the bear at about 7 pm.

Bitner added, “We’ve never had an accident involving a black bear. There are black bears throughout Florida and this is in the Everglades, so there absolutely are black bears in that area”.

The Broward sheriff’s office sent crews for assistance. According to an official, 4 individuals who sustained life-threatening injuries were rushed to a hospital in Fort Lauderdale by air. 4 individuals with non-life-threatening injuries were rushed by ambulance. They also told that some of the victims were children.

According to Bitner, identities of those involved in the accident and the extent of their injuries weren’t immediately available. He said accident reconstruction experts were on the accident spot late Sunday. He said at least 2 of the motor vehicles were going in opposite directions.

He told, “They are still trying to figure everything out”.

Bitner told that the accident occurred on the approximately 50,000-acre Big Cypress Seminole Reservation, one of several tribal reservations scattered around Florida. According to him, the accident occurred north of Interstate 75, which is also called as Alligator Alley.

Encounters with bears in Florida are reported sporadically. Wildlife authorities in central Florida told last week that they captured and killed a bear that was suspected of biting a woman on the arm last Wednesday as she was on a walk with her dog in the Orlando suburb of Lake Mary. Authorities told that they also captured 2 of that bear’s cubs but one was killed in the process. They added the other cub was old enough to survive on its own and they decided to release it elsewhere.

News Source: TheGuardian.net

Teen Arrested After Hit-And-Run Accident

A 17-year-old driver was arrested by Miami-Dade Police for his alleged involvement in a hit-and-run crash involving a 14-year-old.

According to the police, the crash occurred at Northeast 167th Street and Northeast 14th Avenue on Monday afternoon. A car was stopped at the intersection to let pedestrians cross the street and a car behind the stopped car tried to go around it and struck 14-year-old Brian Brito as he crossed the street.

A recorded video showed the green Honda Accord’s window smashed in. Bloody clothing was also found at the accident spot.

People who saw the accident happening gave the license tag information to Miami-Dade Police. Officers went to the 17-year-old’s residence but he was not present at home.

On Monday evening, he was arrested and police said that charges are pending.

News Source: www.NBCMiami.com

Fatal Crash Victim Identified As Florida Tech Student

Earlier this week, 25-year-old Nicholas Spiva, who was a physics student, died in a motorcycle accident.

Florida Institute of Technology students, administrators and staff are in sorrow again because one student died before this incident.

On Monday, Nicholas Spiva was killed when his motorcycle was hit by a car around 6:40 p.m. on Dairy Road near the intersection of Eber Boulevard in Melbourne, told FHP. 83-year-old Michaeleen Blair was driving the 2006 Hyundai and he did not sustain any injury in the accident.

According to investigators, Blair was traveling north on Dairy Road when she tried a left turn onto Eber with a yellow light. The front of her vehicle then hit Spiva. He was wearing a helmet as was riding a 2004 Kawasaki and going south as shown by the reports.

Florida Tech’s dean of students told about the tragic accident to the faculty, staff and students and also told Spiva’s plans to attend graduate school. The statement showed that Spiva had planned to do research on general relativity and gravity.

Rodney Bowers, dean of students said, “This is a terrible loss and we grieve with those closest to Nick. Our thoughts and prayers remain with his family, friends, and classmates”.

21-year-old Alex Brack, who was a kicker for 3 years on the Panther football team and a civil engineering major, died in a motor vehicle crash while visiting friends and family in DeFuniak Springs in the Florida panhandle. He died before Spiva.

A campus memorial is being planned but Funeral arrangements have not been finalized for Spiva.

A donation box to help Spiva’s family with funeral costs was also set up on campus.

The reason of the accident is still under investigation.

No individual was charged for the accident.

News Source: www.FloridaToday.com

Florida Highway Patrol Investigating Deadly Crash On SW Boat Ramp

PALM CITY, Fla. – An incident is under investigation by FHP that happened on Boat Ramp Ave. just north of Citrus Blvd.

According to investigators, 1 individual died and four others sustained injuries in a single car accident.

The car crashed into a tree and the driver of the car, 18-year-old Derek Vance Hadley, died at the accident spot.

All passengers riding the car were hospitalized due to life-threatening injuries they sustained in the accident.

The passengers include two 16-year-old girls, 18-year-old Christian Wagner and 19-year-old Tonya Hardison. One of the 16-year-old girls was the only individual in the vehicle wearing a seatbelt, said the investigators.

Wayne Winstead, who lives near the accident scene said, “I knew it was a matter of time before somebody got killed on this road”.

Winstead has a farm off of Boat Ramp Ave. since 2 years but in that time period according to him, he has seen his share of reckless driving. “It’s just a dirt road, and the local boys come and they mud on the side of the road when we get a heavy rain”. He also told that he has also seen some accidents. “There was one not too long ago, but not this bad”.

The Florida Highway Patrol has not yet said if high speed was a cause of the deadly accident that happened but on a road with just a 25 MPH speed limit, Winstead said that it is hard to believe the car was obeying the speed limit by knowing the extent of damage to the vehicle. “They fly up and down this road”.

Winstead is now hoping the accident might lead to more security measures on the street or cause other drivers on the road to be more cautious.

News Source: www.WPTV.com

Orlando Ranks As Second Most Dangerous City In Florida

FBI data shows that Florida is a dangerous place to live in because of the high crime rate.

FBI data from 2012 is used by HomeSecurityShield.net because it is the most recent data available this year to know the crime rate for every city and what an individual’s odds are of becoming a victim of crime.

Orlando is on 2nd number in the list as it has 78.19 crimes per 1,000 citizens. There is a one in 13 chance of being victimized by a criminal, but it was not the only Central Florida city which is in the list.

News Source: www.OrlandoSentinel.com

Florida Grandfather Kills 6 Grandchildren And 2 Adults

BELL, Fla. – According to the police, 51-year-old Don Spirit killed his daughter and his 6 grandchildren before committing suicide, served time in jail almost 10 years ago after he accidentally shot his son to death during a hunting trip.

His daughter, 28-year-old Sarah Lorraine Spirit, was on probation when she was killed. 2 men who fathered her slay the children are locked up.

On Friday, Gilchrist County Sheriff Robert Schultz couldn’t say what the reason of the shootings was. On Thursday afternoon, Don Spirit called 911 from his home to say that he might hurt himself or others. By the time a deputy approached his mobile home along a dirt road in this town, Spirit had committed suicide.

Schultz said, “There are still a lot of unanswered questions. There’s going to be questions that we’re never going to get answered”.

Bell, in which almost 500 individuals live, is located in Gilchrist County. It’s south of Tallahassee, west of Gainesville and about 3 hours north of Tampa. Unlike much of Florida, it is not known for theme parks or beaches or tourist spots. Big dairy farms are present there and most individuals spend their free time dirt biking, hunting or fishing. It is common for people to live in mobile homes on several acres, and Don Spirit was no different.

On Friday night, several hundred individuals were present at the local high school football game, many of them wearing white in honor of the victims.

27-year-old Danielle Barry grew up in Bell but now lives in a town almost a half-hour away. She was a high school classmate of Sarah Spirit. “I got off work early to at least wear the white shirt and support everyone the best I could. Never live for tomorrow because tomorrow isn’t promised”. She also said that Sarah was a really good girl, and she had a lot of potential.

It is not confirmed when Don Spirit first arrived in Bell. His criminal records show that he was in the Tampa area in the mid- to late-1990s. There, he was charged with a variety of offenses in which leaving the scene of an accident involving death were also included.

Schultz said that Don Spirit couldn’t legally have a gun due to the reason that he had a felony record.

The victims who died due to the gunshot wounds were Sarah Spirit and her children: 11-year-old Kaleb Kuhlmann; 9-year-old Kylie Kuhlmann; 8-year-old Johnathon Kuhlmann; 5-year-old Destiny Stewart; 4-year-old Brandon Stewart, and Alanna Stewart, who was born in June.

According to Schultz, they were found “all over the property”.

According to Gilchrist County criminal records, Sarah Spirit was taken into custody on 26th of August for violating her probation. It is not known when she was released.

Don Spirit was convicted in 2001, in a case where he accidentally shot and killed his 8-year-old son, Kyle, Sarah’s younger brother. Orlando Sentinel told that on a walk through the woods with Kyle and an older son, Spirit pointed out rust on the muzzle of his rifle. The rifle fired, hitting Kyle in the head. Due to the reason of an earlier felony conviction for marijuana possession, Don Spirit couldn’t legally have a gun and spent almost 3 years in prison.

A friend of Sarah Spirit, Kasey Hart said in a Facebook message that Sarah was a busy mom, who loved to laugh and watch comedies. “Her poor mother has lost her youngest son, oldest daughter and all her grandkids to her ex-husband”.

Both of the men who fathered Sarah Spirit’s children are locked up. Edward Kuhlman, who was the father of the 3 oldest children, is in state prison for a dozen burglary and grand theft charges. He was serving a 25-year sentence for his offense. James Stewart is in Levy County jail on a probation violation charge, according to the online records.

Property records show that Don Spirit has lived in the mobile home where he shot his family since 2006. The two-acre property is for $20,000, as shown by the county property appraiser.

According to the Gilchrist County Schools Superintendent Rob Rankin, 4 of the children attended Bell Elementary School. They were enrolled in kindergarten, second grade, third grade and fifth grade. A teacher at the school said that she put the children on a bus to go home around 3 p.m. They were found dead at Spirit’s home less than 2 hours later.

29-year-old Bell resident Barbara Whiddon cried when asked about the killings at a convenience store. She said she knew some of the slain children. She said, “If he was going to do something he should have done it to himself. The babies are God’s angels”.

News Source: www.NOLA.com