This report represents some events the FWC handled over the past week;
however, it does not include all actions taken by the Division of Law Enforcement.
SANTA ROSA COUNTY
Investigator Jim Hughes and Officer Brandon Lewis patrolled the Blackwater River State Forest. They found several individuals in possession of alcohol beverages in a primitive area. Possession of alcohol beverages in the primitive area is prohibited. A computer check of one subject revealed an outstanding warrant out of Santa Rosa County for failure to pay child support. A computer check of another subject revealed an outstanding warrant from Santa Rosa County for violation of probation on a petit theft charge. Both subjects were arrested and transported to the Santa Rosa County Jail. Written warnings for possession of alcohol beverages in a primitive area were also issued.
Officer Howard Jones was on vessel patrol on Santa Rosa Sound near Navarre Beach when he contacted two 10 year old boys riding a personal watercraft (PWC) without an adult onboard. He contacted the owner of the PWC who admitted allowing the juveniles to operate the vessel. Officer Jones issued a notice to appear to the PWC owner for allowing a child under the age of 14 to operate a personal watercraft.
Investigator Jim Hughes, Officer David Jernigan, and Officer Brandon Lewis received a complaint through FWC dispatch that three teenage boys were missing on the Coldwater Creek. The officers developed a search plan and located the boys a short time after initiating the search. All three boys were cold, but were in good condition. The Santa Rosa Sheriff’s Office and Fire Rescue assisted in the search.
SANTA ROSA COUNTY COMMUNITY ORIENTED POLICING (COPS)
Lieutenant Doug Berryman and Officer Joe Murphy assisted WEAR Channel 3 News with a story on boating safety. While on patrol of the Blackwater River during the ride along, the officers encountered, educated, and addressed several boating violations. In addition, the officers conducted an on camera interview.
Officer Faris Livesay and Investigator Rob Goley were working the idle speed zone in the Big Lagoon State Park when they observed a vessel violating the zone. Upon stopping the vessel and making contact with the operator, Investigator Goley noticed several signs of impairment. Investigator Goley conducted field sobriety exercises to which the operator performed poorly. The individual was arrested for BUI and transported to the Escambia County Jail where the operator gave a sample of his breath. Results of the sample were .154 g/210L. The operator was booked into the Escambia County Jail. The subject was also issued a citation for violation of the idle speed zone.
Officers Christopher Pettey, Nick Barnard and John Clark, along with Lieutenant Brian Lambert, assisted with a wildfire off of Blue Angel Parkway in Pensacola. The fire was threatening homes and businesses, and the smoke was causing near zero visibility on the roadways. The fire department issued an evacuation order for the area, and the officers assisted by notifying homeowners and limiting access into the area. The Florida Highway Patrol stopped and rerouted traffic around the smoke and fire. Several surrounding area fire departments, along with Florida Forest Service, were able to gain control of the fire.
Lieutenant Mark Hollinhead, Officers Ken White and Alan Kirchinger were on water patrol in Choctawhatchee Bay when they were approached by a recreational vessel. The driver of the vessel reported that there was an injury to an occupant onboard the vessel. The injured occupant had dislocated his shoulder when their vessel struck a wake in the bay. The injured subject was transported to the Destin Coast Guard Station and then by ambulance to a local hospital for treatment.
Officers Alan Kirchinger, Ken White, and Lieutenant Mark Hollinhead stopped a vessel leaving Crab Island for careless operation. The operator displayed signs of impairment and was asked to perform some field sobriety exercises. When the operator performed poorly, she was transported to the Destin Coast Guard Station for further land field sobriety exercises that determined she was impaired. The operator refused to submit to a certified breath test and was booked into the Okaloosa County Jail and charged with operating a vessel while impaired.
Lieutenants Mark Hollinhead, Phillip Glover, and Investigator James Armstrong were on water patrol around Destin Pass when they observed an operator of a PWC without a personal flotation device. When the officers approached, they observed the operator had not properly put his flotation device on and it was hanging off one shoulder. The operator displayed other signs of impairment and stated he had been drinking although he was only 18 years old. The subject agreed to submit to a certified breath test which revealed his breath alcohol content to be .109. He was cited for operating a vessel with breath alcohol content higher than .02, while under 21 years of age.
RPS Officer Ben Pineda and Lieutenant Dan Hahr were working a popular marina when they observed two subjects attempting to buy fish from several subjects who were cleaning fish. The subjects made a deal with one subject and purchased two coolers full of fish carcasses including banded rudderfish, vermillion snapper, porgy, triggerfish, and king mackerel. When the man who sold the fish was detained, he admitted to selling the fish. He was also found to be in possession of prescription drugs without a prescription. He was issued a notice to appear for selling saltwater products without the required Saltwater Products License (SPL) and for possessing prescription drugs without a prescription. RPS Officers Pineda and Kenneth Manning were working the same area when they observed another transaction take place. One subject sold four hard tails and a jack crevalle to another man for $20. The subject was detained and issued a notice to appear for selling saltwater products without the required SPL.
Lieutenants Philip Glover and Mark Hollinhead, along with Investigator J.W. Armstrong, requested the assistance of Officer Alan Kirchinger, Reserve Officer Jeff Hahr, and Captain Mary Sumner with the recovery of a kayak and an uncooperative, extremely intoxicated female in the Crab Island area. Lieutenants Glover, Hollinhead, and Investigator Armstrong had successfully recovered the kayak in the swift current.
The officers located the female walking away from the scene in chest deep water, occasionally swimming. She was shouting obscenities and making threats of physical harm to every vessel she came in contact with. After determining the female was not a passenger on any vessel or with any remaining party on the sandbar, the officers attempted to persuade her to come aboard the patrol vessel. She refused to cooperate, stating she wanted to kill others and herself. She then ventured into deeper swift waters. The officers quickly maneuvered their patrol vessels to cut off her avenue of escape and continued to encourage her to come to the patrol vessel. She ventured even further into deeper swift current and was in water over her head. Captain Sumner observed the female go under for a second time.
Officer Kirchinger and Reserve Officer Hahr were able to grab onto the female when she resurfaced. Her weight made it extremely difficult to pull her aboard the patrol vessel. Investigator Armstrong entered the water and physically pushed the female, while Officers Kirchinger and Hahr assisted with pulling her into the patrol vessel. As soon as she was onboard, she immediately became physically combative, yelled profanities, and continued to state she was going to kill everyone and she wanted to die.
Lieutenant Hollinhead boarded the patrol vessel to assist with controlling her violent resistance. Captain Sumner proceeded to the USCG Destin Station and requested EMS to meet them at the dock. Due to the female’s continued physical resistance and combative manner, she was strapped to a backboard and lifted from the patrol vessel where she was delivered to awaiting EMS personnel and transported to the Ft. Walton Medical Center under the Baker Act. Investigator Armstrong is working the case.