Astatula

Scheduled Holiday Closings And Modified Garbage Pickup

LAKE COUNTY, Florida—Many local government offices are scheduled to close this week in observance of the Thanksgiving holiday.

Lake County Government offices will be closed Thursday and Friday and county garbage pickup regularly scheduled for Thursday will be Friday and regularly scheduled pickup for Friday will be Saturday. This includes Altoona, Astor, Ferndale, Grand Island, Okahumpka, Paisley, Sorrento and Yalaha. For more information, visit  https://lakecountyfl.gov/trash-recycling.

Most city government and town halls will be closed Thursday and Friday; this includes Clermont, Eustis, Fruitland Park, Groveland, Howey-In-The-Hills, Leesburg, Mascotte, Mount Dora, Tavares and Umatilla. Astatula, Lady Lake and Minneola are scheduled to close just on Thursday. Aligning with the county garbage pickup modified schedule; garbage pickup for Thursday will be Friday and pickup for Friday will be Saturday for most cities, except Lady Lake, Leesburg and Tavares.

Lady Lake’s and Leesburg’s garbage pickup will resume Monday and Tavares will resume Tuesday. 

Man Tells Troopers He Tampered With Evidence Because He Didn’t Want To Disappoint His Dad

ASTATULA, Florida—A man wanted for a hit-and-run caught two extra charges Monday when Florida Highway Patrol troopers attempted to question him about the crime, according to an arrest affidavit.

On Monday, a trooper was investigating a hit-and-run crash that occurred on Nov. 9 after receiving an anonymous tip including the tag number of the vehicle that fled the scene. The trooper went to the registered owner’s address in Clermont and he said although the van is registered to him, his son, Christopher Keith MacMillan, drives it and he had not seen him since the day of the crash and was not aware of the crash.  

The trooper used social media to find an associate of MacMillan, 31, and her address, and he, along with two other troopers went to the woman’s home in Astatula. When they arrived, they spotted the van suspected of being in the hit-and-run partially covered with a tarp and without a tag.

PHOTO CREDIT: Lake County Sheriff’s Office

Troopers spoke to the woman and asked where MacMillan was, and she offered to go inside and bring him out. While waiting, the trooper saw that the front of the van had several parts removed from it, including the headlights, bumper, grill and right fender. “It was obvious that someone was attempting to fix the vehicle involved in the accident and tamper with evidence,” he noted in the affidavit.

After waiting several minutes for the woman to return, FHP knocked on her door and she stated she could not find MacMillan. She told the troopers she was worried about her children and said they could search the home after she got them out. FHP called Astatula Police Department (APD) for assistance and about 25 minutes later, the woman finally exited the home with her children and troopers entered.

They gave several verbal demands for MacMillan to come out or a K-9 would be deployed. APD deployed its K-9 and the dog located MacMillan in a bedroom under a bed. MacMillan refused to come out until the dog started moving towards him and scratched his face. MacMillan then agreed to come out and he was taken into custody. Troopers found a loaded handgun under the bed, but McMillan denied knowing it was there and said it must have fallen from a magnet on the wall during the commotion. A magnet was attached to the wall, the trooper noted. An AR 15 style rifle with a round in the chamber was found on the bed.

MacMillan was questioned about the crash and he said he was trying to fix the vehicle so his dad would not find out. He made jokes about cleaning the trooper’s car and said he was not trying to evade legal trouble, but he was trying to fix it, so he did not disappoint his dad. He also said he knew it was wrong to leave the crash, but it was too late to go back.

MacMillan was arrested for tampering with evidence, resisting an officer and leaving the scene of a crash. He was released Tuesday on $8,000 bond. 

Weeks Of Threats To Shoot Up An Astatula House

The following story was published under a different headline in another publication.

ASTATULA, Florida — A Leesburg man who threatened to shoot up his victim’s house for several weeks followed through on his threat Thursday night — the same the day victim attended his daughter’s funeral.

According to an arrest affidavit, Groveland Police were investigating the theft of a 2007 Toyota Scion and Bobby Lynn Russell, 25, was named a suspect. About 10 minutes later, the Lake County Communications Center received a report of a drive-by shooting in Astatula and again, Russell was named a suspect.

The victim told a deputy Russell had been harassing his son for weeks and threatening to shoot up the victim’s home. While visiting with family after his daughter’s funeral the victim heard five to six gunshots outside. The victim stepped outside and a witness told him a black vehicle drove by and a man she believed to be Russell started shooting, the affidavit states.

A deputy did not find any bullet holes in the home, but did find a .380 Hornday shell casing in the road in front of the home. No one was injured.

Believing the Scion was involved in the shooting, various law enforcement officers began searching the area for the Scion when it was spotted shortly before midnight Friday on State Road 19, south of Howey-in-the-Hills. The Scion was traveling northbound when a deputy got behind it and followed it down Dewey Robbins Road and watched it conduct a U-turn in a driveway. The Scion continued northbound through Howey-in-the-Hills and fled when deputies activated their emergency lights.

The Scion sped down State Road 19, almost hitting a deputy and several Tavares Police officers “while driving extremely recklessly,’ the affidavit states. As the Scion approached County Road 561, it made an abrupt turn into a gas station, drove through the parking lot, attempted to get back onto County Road 561 and crashed into a wooded area. Russell exited the Scion with his hands up and was taken into custody. Deputies searched the car and found a stolen Taurus .380 handgun that was loaded and chambered. It was loaded with .380 Hornday self defense rounds — the same ammunition found at the scene of the drive-by shooting.

Russell is charged with shooting a missile at an unoccupied dwelling, possession of a firearm by a convicted felon, no driver license, fleeing and eluding with wanton disregard and grand theft of a firearm. He is being held at the Lake County Jail on $96,000 bond.

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