Howey-in-the-Hills

Second Pedestrian Killed In Leesburg Thursday

LEESBURG, Florida—Another pedestrian was killed Thursday in Leesburg, unrelated to the crash that killed a man early Thursday morning, according to Leesburg Police Capt. Joe Iozzi.  

Jarret Roque, 40, of Howey-in-the-Hills, was observed by an independent witness standing in the center travel lane of U.S. Highway 441 just north of County Road 44A, around 11:50 p.m. Thursday, Iozzi said in a press release. Awilda Hernandez, 61, of Eustis, was southbound on U.S. Highway 441 in a 2021 Jeep SUV, when she collided with Roque.

Roque suffered life-threatening injuries and was transported by Lake EMS to UF Health-Leesburg, where he was pronounced dead. The crash closed U.S. Highway 441 southbound for about three hours.

“The crash remains under investigation, by the Leesburg Police Department Traffic Unit, however it appears the pedestrian was “at-fault” at this time,” Iozzi said. 

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. 

Pregnant Woman Suffers Two Violent Attacks By Boyfriend In Howey — Crawls To Get Away

The following story was previously published on Lake Legal News.

HOWEY-IN-THE-HILLS, Florida — A pregnant woman who had to crawl through a patch of woods to get away from her violent boyfriend told Howey-in-the Hills Police the man said he was going to “punch her in the stomach to get rid of her problem,” last week.

The woman told police Steven Wallie Matthews, 36, came home on Oct. 4 between 11 p.m. and midnight and woke her up, screaming and yelling in her face; she said she believed he was angry about her pregnancy, according to an arrest affidavit. Matthews head-butted the victim in the face, giving her a bloody nose. The victim fled the violent scene and went to the police department, but no one was at the office and she did not have her phone because Matthews had taken it, the affidavit states.

She returned home and found Matthews was not there and she went to sleep. On Oct. 5, Matthews woke her again by yelling and screaming. The victim grabbed her clothes and went into another room to change and Matthews is alleged to have chased her down, slammed her against a door several times and slapped her in the face. She found her phone and tried to leave, but Matthews chased her again and said, “he was going to punch her in the stomach to get rid of her problem,” the affidavit states. Matthews then took her phone again.

The victim crawled through a patch of woods to get away from Matthews and a neighbor called the police department’s non-emergency number and no one answered. She then went to a convenience store on Palm Avenue and called for help.

Photo Credit: Lake County Sheriff’s Office

Police arrived and found the victim with visible injuries and dried blood on her clothes and face, the arresting officer noted in the affidavit. Police contacted Matthews and placed him under arrest for aggravated battery on a pregnant female and deprivation of 9-1-1.

Matthews’ bond was revoked on a possession of methamphetamine charge from August 2020. He is being held at the Lake County Jail on no bond.

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