COPS CORNER 01.22.18

One man drove his vehicle into a ditch after fleeing from Winter Garden police, and another man allegedly attempted to steal reptile-heating supplies from a pet store.

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  • | 12:25 p.m. February 5, 2018
  • West Orange Times & Observer
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Jan. 19, 600 block of Windermere Road. At approximately 9:50 a.m., a law-enforcement officer responded to a call about a traffic crash at 628 Windermere Road. According to a homeowner in the area, a vehicle had crashed into a ditch in front of his residence where the roadway ends. The homeowner assumed the crash likely happened overnight and was made aware by his lawn maintenance crew that someone had been lurking around the vehicle earlier that morning. After the officer ran the tag, it was discovered the vehicle was the same one that had fled from a Winter Garden police officer around 2 a.m. near the area of Marshall Farms and Windermere Roads, which was located in close proximity to the crash location. The officer determined the driver likely did not realize Windermere Road ended in a cul-de-sac. The male owner of the vehicle was not found at his registered address, but he was eventually located later that afternoon at an Orange County courthouse. The vehicle owner approached the officer to ask questions about how to obtain a vehicle that had been towed. Having just viewed a photo of his driver's license, the officer immediately recognized the owner and asked him to elaborate on the reason why his vehicle had been towed. The owner initially stated he had left it illegally parked overnight at the Winter Garden Village shopping center, but told the truth once the officer expressed skepticism. The owner was placed under arrest and charged with leaving the scene of a crash with property damage.


Jan. 22, 9500 block of West Colonial Drive. Around 11:40 a.m., an officer responded to a pet store in reference to a retail theft. A store manager reported that a shoplifter had pushed him and ran away from the store with some heat lamps and heating pads typically used for enclosures containing reptiles. The suspected shoplifter, the manager added, was last seen headed toward the HoneyBaked Ham store in the same shopping plaza. The officer found the male suspect at the described location and questioned his whereabouts before having entered the shop. The suspect shared he had visited the pet store to purchase heating pads for his pet lizard, selected some items, and walked to the dog food section where he was approached by a store employee who allegedly pushed him and told him to leave the store. An argument ensued, the suspect said, and he recorded the last part of the altercation on his cell phone, which he showed the officer. According to the report, the video was poor quality but arguing could be heard. When asked where the reptile-heating supplies located in the passenger seat of his truck came from, the suspect stated he had had it for a while, insisting that he was innocent and the whole incident was a misunderstanding. The man was later arrested and charged with retail theft and resisting a merchant after the store manager explained the suspect had been seen trying to conceal the reptile-heating supplies inside his jacket.


Jan. 19, West Colonial Drive. At about 3:45 p.m., an officer was dispatched to Deer Isle and West Colonial Drive regarding a car accident with injuries. Upon arrival, the officer met with a Clermont police officer who had assisted with requesting aid from the local fire rescue department. According to the Clermont officer, she had heard dispatch warn of a black Mercedes recklessly driving eastbound on West Colonial Drive. Shortly after, she came upon the scene of the crash involving the black Mercedes, adding that its driver seemed to be intoxicated. The Oakland officer then approached the female driver of the Mercedes, who was slumped over the wheel with a laceration on her left hand. The driver had slurred speech and a wine bottle was clearly visible on the driver's floorboard. The other driver and passenger of the second vehicle also suffered minor injuries. The other driver told the officer she was at a steady red light when she felt the impact of the Mercedes. The Mercedes driver was transported to a hospital for further evaluation after expressing suicidal thoughts. The driver refused to submit to a blood test to check her blood alcohol levels and her driver's license was seized.


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