Astatula man killed Friday morning after rear-ending dump truck in Orange County

ORANGE COUNTY, Fla.—A 30-year-old Astatula man was killed before daybreak Friday morning after he rear-ended a dump truck near Zellwood, according to the Florida Highway Patrol.

Shortly after 5:30 a.m., the Astatula man was driving a 2014 Chevrolet Silverado westbound on Jones Avenue near Jewel Foliage Road when he entered the eastbound lane, traveling above the posted speed limit, to pass another vehicle, FHP said.

He reentered the westbound lane, failed to slow down and rear-ended a 1985 dump truck being driven by a 38-year-old Eustis man. The Astatula man was transported to AdventHealth Apopka and pronounced deceased; the Eustis man was not injured.

Astatula man killed Friday morning after rear-ending dump truck in Orange County Read More »

Ham Radio Field Day set for this weekend

TAVARES, Fla.—Each June, more than 40,000 amateur radio operators, known as “hams” set up temporary transmitting stations in public places  throughout North America to demonstrate ham radio’s science, skill, and service to our communities and nation. It combines public service, emergency preparedness, community outreach, and technical skills in a single event. Field Day has been an annual event since 1933 and remains the most popular event in ham radio. The competitive aspect of Field Day is to contact as many other amateur stations as possible between 2 p.m. Saturday and 2 p.m. Sunday.

The public is invited to attend the event in Tavares this weekend that will showcase mobile command vehicles from the Lake County Sheriff’s Office and the Lake Amateur Radio Association (LARA.) It will be held at the Lake County Sheriff’s Office Training Bureau and Lake Tech Institute of Public Safety Weapons and Driving Range, 13000 Frankies Road, Tavares.

LARA consistently wins top honors each year in Florida and North America. The club was established in 1952 by a local group of radio amateurs and now has a membership of over 150 “Hams.” LARA’s vast radio systems enable worldwide communications, amplifying the club’s impact and reach. For their life-saving work, hams worldwide have received commendations and international praise.


Ham Radio Field Day set for this weekend Read More »

FWC: License-free freshwater fishing this weekend

FLORIDA—The Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission (FWC) is hosting a license-free freshwater fishing weekend Saturday and Sunday

Florida residents and visitors of all ages and skill levels are encouraged to try recreational fishing this weekend and FWC has helpful resources for new anglers to get started.

Largemouth bass are Florida’s most popular freshwater fish and if you catch one 8 pounds or heavier, submit it to TrophyCatch. There is a special promotion this season where pink-tagged bass are swimming and worth extra prizes in five waterbodies across the state. Try your luck and you could even win sunglasses just for fishing in these five waters!

All other rules, such as seasons, bag and size limits apply during license-free fishing weekend.

Keep the fun going all year and buy a recreational freshwater fishing license, to renew or purchase a fishing license, visit

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National Safe Boating Week kicks off Saturday

LITTLE LAKE HARRIS, Fla.—The unofficial start to summer is upon us and the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission (FWC) is reminding boaters to stay safe during National Safe Boating Week that begins Saturday.

Inside Lake had the opportunity to speak with FWC’s Kristen Turner and Chad Weber, along with Hunter Bland of the National Safe Boating Council Friday about staying safe on the waterways. Florida is the “Boating Capital of the World,” with more than 1 million vessels registered in the state, according to FWC.

Florida does have some requirements for boating but common sense and taking simple precautions can prevent a tragedy. A boating safety course is required for anyone born after Jan. 1, 1988; classes are available in classroom setting and also online, FWC-approved courses can be found here.

All vessels are required to have personal flotation device (PFD) for each person onboard and FWC encourages everyone to wear it at all times. In an emergency situation, people often won’t have time to put on a PFD. This reporter and Inside Lake Photographer Bonnie Whicher were required to wear a PFD during a ride-along Friday. The weather cut the ride-along short, but Weber used that opportunity to educate the Inside Lake staff on how to handle changing weather conditions.

FWC Officer Chad Weber PHOTO: Bonnie Whicher/Inside Lake

“You need to know where you are at. (Bad weather) is one of the hidden dangers (people) overlook,” Weber said. “The best thing to do is get out of the water.”

Bland said often homeowners will let a vessel stay at their dock to ride out a storm and he’s even known people to invite boaters in their home to ride it out.

“There are good people out there,” Bland said.

Filing a “float plan can also save your life, Turner told Inside Lake. Though not required, a float plan is letting someone know where you are going and what time you expect to be back. The United States Coast Guard provides a fillable PDF float plan and suggests you provide it to a reliable person, along with a photo of the vessel. While the information would be extremely helpful in an emergency, Bland stressed that something as simple as a text message letting someone know your plans, would suffice.

FWC Northeast Region Public Information Director Kristen Turner PHOTO: Bonnie Whicher/Inside Lake

Weber also suggested other things to have onboard, such as rain jackets, a cooler with water and a first aid kit; tools and extra fuses can also come in handy, Bland added.

For more boating information from FWC, visit

National Safe Boating Council Program Director Hunter Bland PHOTO: Bonnie Whicher/Inside Lake

National Safe Boating Week kicks off Saturday Read More »

Lake County Schools high school graduations scheduled for this week and next week

LAKE COUNTY, Fla.—Caps will be flying through the air this week and next as Lake County Schools seniors say goodbye to high school and hello to adulthood. Graduations are scheduled to begin Tuesday with Tavares High School and will end with Lake County Virtual School next week. Schools are listed below in alphabetical order.

East Ridge High School—9 a.m. Wednesday at UCF/Addition Arena

Eustis High School—9 a.m. Saturday, at Eustis High School Panther Stadium

Lake County Virtual School—6 p.m. May 23, at Mount Dora High School Auditorium

Lake Hills School—occurred May 1 at Lake Hills Gymnasium

Lake Minneola High School—7 p.m. Friday at UCF/Addition Arena

Lake Success Academy—3:30 p.m. Friday at Lake Success Academy

Leesburg High School—8 a.m. Saturday at Leesburg High School Stadium

Mount Dora High School—8 p.m. Thursday at Mount Dora High School Stadium

South Lake High School—7:30 p.m. Wednesday at UCF/Addition Arena

Tavares High School—7:30 p.m., Tuesday UCF/Addition Arena

Umatilla High School—7 p.m. Friday Grafton Center Elks Club


Lake County Schools high school graduations scheduled for this week and next week Read More »

5th Annual Lake County Back the Blue and Red Walk

Photos from the 5th Annual Back the Blue and Red Walk. Organizer Shannon Cook has been supporting law enforcement since 2019 with this walk. This year, firefighters were added to the event, and the name was changed. PHOTOS: Bonnie Whicher/Special to Inside Lake

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5th Annual Lake County Back the Blue (and Red) Walk scheduled for Saturday; Firefighters added this year

TAVARES, Florida—For the fifth year in a row, law enforcement and supporters will join forces for the annual Lake County Back the Blue Walk at Wooton Park Saturday morning, and this year firefighters will join the fun. 

Scheduled for 9 a.m., this is one of many law enforcement events around Lake County held in May during Law Enforcement Appreciation Month and this year, Organizer Shannon Cook wanted to add firefighters to the appreciation walk to coincide with the Lake County Board of County Commissioners proclaiming May 4 “International Firefighters’ Day” in Lake County, she told Inside Lake.

“I figured what better day to honor our heroes in red,” Cook said.

The walk began in 2019 to show support for law enforcement during a time when the “defund the police” movement was making its way across the country, Cook said, representatives from several law enforcement agencies and numerous public officials are expected to be in attendance.

“The good ones needed to know they were appreciated,” Cook said.

Ryan Koester, son of fallen Lake County Sheriff’s Office Deputy Wayne Koester, left, and Deputy Koester’s brother Vic, right, at the 2023 Back the Blue Walk PHOTO: Shannon Cook

Cook’s close friend, Lake County Sheriff’s Office Deputy Wayne Koester, was killed in the line of duty Feb. 9, 2005. Koester, who was 33 at the time, and two other deputies were ambushed while responding to a domestic violence call. All three deputies were shot, and Koester succumbed to his injuries; the other two deputies recovered. Jason Wheeler was shot and paralyzed during his capture and convicted in Koester’s death. Cook was also close to Chris Daniels, who was serving as Lake County Sheriff when he was tragically killed in a charity bus race in 2006, on his birthday.

Participants will meet at 9 a.m. at Wooton Park, 100 East Ruby Street, Tavares. The first stop will be the Lake County Administration Building, then a stop at the Tavares Public Safety Complex and the walk will end at Kalua Beach Bar with lunch, provided by owner Randy Connor; come a little early to enjoy donuts and coffee donated by Greg Wilmore of New Life Baptist Church Leesburg. 


5th Annual Lake County Back the Blue (and Red) Walk scheduled for Saturday; Firefighters added this year Read More »

Man who threw the “Dew” at Tavares store clerk turns himself in

TAVARES, Fla.—A man who threw a bottle of Mountain Dew at a Tavares gas station clerk earlier this month turned himself in on a warrant for battery Tuesday, according to Tavares Police Department.

On April 13, TPD responded to Kangaroo, 933 County Road 48 on a report of a battery. The complainant told officers a male customer was upset about difficulties with a self-checkout and a second clerk went to a register to begin ringing up customers. The man, later identified as Scott Francis May, began complaining about the wait, and said, “This is (expletive) ridiculous,” according to a report.

The clerk asked May if he wanted to come do her job and May began cursing at her and threw a 20-ounce Mountain Dew bottle at her, striking her in the chest or stomach. The incident was captured on the store’s surveillance video and TPD released the video on its social media page April 17 in an attempt to identify the man.


The following day, May, 62, of Astatula went to Tavares Police Department and admitted to throwing the soda at the clerk. May was “polite, respectful and remorseful,” while speaking with an officer and said he did not mean to hit the clerk, he only meant for the soda and a sandwich to land on the counter.

A warrant for battery was issued for May’s arrest Monday, and he turned himself in on Tuesday. He was released from the Lake County Jail on $1,000 bond.


Man who threw the “Dew” at Tavares store clerk turns himself in Read More »

Astatula Police corporal suspended following domestic battery arrest

ASTATULA, Fla.—An Astatula Police Department corporal is suspended and under internal investigation following an arrest for domestic battery last week.

Erick Capraun, 50, who has been with APD since 2016, was arrested by the Lake County Sheriff’s Office after his girlfriend said he had been drinking and pushed her Thursday afternoon.

She told deputies when she walked into the house in unincorporated Leesburg, Capraun started yelling at her over financial issues and pushed her in the shoulder. The argument ensued and he reportedly said, “stupid (expletive) I’m going to lose my dog.”

Capraun did serve as a K9 handler for APD, but the dog has been retired since his arrest, APD Chief Wally Hoagland told Inside Lake. “It was time,” he said.

Capraun told LCSO that the victim was intoxicated, and they were arguing about her driving while she was drinking. He said she was on the phone with an unknown male and told him she was going to leave him for the unknown male and then she pushed him, and he pushed her back. She told deputies he pushed her and when asked if she pushed him back, she said, “no, not that I can remember.” Capraun was arrested and changed his story while he was in the back of the patrol vehicle, according to the affidavit.

Deputies have responded to the home multiple times, including just five days before Capraun was arrested, for a similar issue, the arresting deputy noted in the affidavit.

Capraun will remain suspended from APD until the conclusion of the internal investigation, Hoagland said.

Astatula Police corporal suspended following domestic battery arrest Read More »

Lake County Schools to Follow Wednesday Schedule in Anticipation of Severe Weather Tuesday, After School Activities Canceled

LAKE COUNTY, Fla.—Lake County Schools will follow Wednesday schedules on Tuesday in anticipation of severe weather, according to an LCS spokesperson.

“Severe thunderstorms are in the forecast for tomorrow afternoon (Tuesday, Jan. 9, 2024) in Lake County, particularly in areas on the northern end. In an effort to get as many students home before the worst of the storm begins, Lake County Schools will follow our Wednesday early dismissal schedule on Tuesday,” LCS Communications Coordinator Sherri Owens said in an email Monday night.

LCS will excuse weather-related absences and all after school outdoor activities are canceled. Extended Learning Centers (ELC) will be open, Owens said.

Lake County Schools to Follow Wednesday Schedule in Anticipation of Severe Weather Tuesday, After School Activities Canceled Read More »

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