Lady Lake

Lady Lake Woman Accused of Killing Woman and Seriously Injuring Man in 2022 Hit-and-Run Crash Turns Herself in to FHP Thursday

LADY LAKE, Florida—A Lady Lake woman turned herself in at the Lake County Jail Thursday after a warrant was issued for her arrest for hitting and killing a woman and seriously injuring a man last year and fleeing the scene, according to the Florida Highway Patrol.

Tara Renee Schiessle, 31, is accused of striking the pair as they walked northbound on the grass shoulder of Rolling Acres Road near West Lakeview Street shortly before 9:45 p.m. Sept. 11, 2022. The impact killed the 40-year-old woman, and the 31-year-old man, identified as Jonathan Kirkland in a separate civil suit, was airlifted to Ocala Regional Medical Center with serious injuries. Schiessle fled the scene, FHP Lt. Tara Crescenzi said last year.

After a 9-month investigation that included waiting for DNA evidence to come back from the Florida Department of Law Enforcement lab, troopers issued a warrant for Schiessle’s arrest for leaving the scene of a crash involving death, leaving the scene of a crash involving serious bodily injuries and false and fraudulent insurance claims, Crescenzi told Inside Lake. She met the investigating trooper at the Lake County Jail Thursday, turned herself in and was released the same day on $42,000 bond.  

Fourth Annual Lake County Back the Blue Walk Scheduled for Saturday

TAVARES, Florida—Law enforcement and supporters will join forces for the fourth annual Lake County Back the Blue Walk at Wooton Park Saturday morning.

Scheduled for 9 a.m., this is one of many law enforcement events around Lake County held in May during Law Enforcement Appreciation Month. In its fourth year, 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, event organizer Shannon Cook told Inside Lake. 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.

Cook has always had respect for law enforcement officers and the job they do, she said. Her 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.

Shannon Cook shows off one of the many gifts she has for the law enforcement officers who attend the walk Saturday. PHOTO: Shannon Cook

Cook told Inside Lake it is important the community show its support for all of the good officers and those who were lost in the line of duty. Usually a one-woman show, Cook has some help this year from Wayne Koester’s brother, Victor Koester, Jolie Fowler, owner of The Car Doctor Automotive Specialist Inc., in Eustis, Lt. Kristin Thompson of the Lake County Sheriff’s Office and Nina Rosania, who is very active in the community, especially in her efforts helping out small businesses in Lake County.

Participants will meet a 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. Donuts will be provided before the walk by Lake Tire & Auto in Tavares, and a hot dog lunch will be available at Kalua Beach Bar, provided by the restaurant and Duct-Man Mechanical LLC in Eustis.

Lady Lake Names New Police Chief

LADY LAKE, Florida—The Town of Lady Lake has named a new police chief after former Chief Robert Tempesta returned to his former rank of lieutenant, according to Lady Lake Director of Communications Elisha Pappacoda.

Steven W. Hunt will officially begin as his role as interim police chief Monday, according to a press release. Hunt, of Eustis, has more than 35 years of law enforcement experience and most recently served as a detective for the State of Florida Department of Financial Services, Division of Investigative & Forensic Services, Bureau of Insurance.

Hunt began his career in law enforcement at 18 years old in Veazie, Maine, his hometown and later joined the Bangor, Maine Police Department, where he worked his way up to the rank of lieutenant, the press release stated. In Bangor, he supervised 12 patrol officers and two sergeants and during his time in Bangor, he was assigned to the Maine Drug Enforcement Agency for a decade.

Lady Lake Interim Police Chief Steven Hunt PHOTO: Town of Lady Lake

He is a graduate of the FBI National Academy, the Maine Criminal Justice Academy and the IACP Leadership in Police Organizations. Hunt is married, has three children and one grandchild and enjoys the outdoors.

Hunt says his strongest attributes are compassion and building relationships.

 “I have a passion to mentor officers and campaign the positive aspects of law enforcement by building relationships, one person at a time,” he said. “I look forward to making a positive impact within the community of Lady Lake.”

Dry Conditions Force Countywide Burn Ban

LAKE COUNTY, Florida—Lake County officials imposed a burn ban effective Friday that will last indefinitely, according to a press release.

The burn ban is in effect for all of Lake County and prohibits the burning of yard debris, land and recreational fires but does not include outdoor fireplaces, barbecue grills and barbecue pits that have a total fuel area of 3 feet or less and 2 feet or less in height.

Dry conditions forced the move by county officials and surrounding counties have enacted similar bans. For more than three weeks, the Keetch-Byram Drought Index (KBDI) rating has exceeded 500 and the ban is necessary for public safety, the press release stated.

When the KDBI rating falls below 500 for seven consecutive days, the county will lift the ban.

Lady Lake Man Arrested for Throwing Soda at His Grandma and Spitting on Her and Cop

LADY LAKE, Florida—A Lady Lake man has been in the Lake County Jail for a week after being arrested for throwing a Dr. Pepper can at his grandma and spitting on her and a police officer, according to an arrest affidavit.

When Lady Lake Police Department officers responded to the home on Cierra Oaks Circle the afternoon of March 18,  Larry Alan Reed, 27,  “assumed a boxer stance with his fists balled up” and reportedly said, “Come on,” to a pair LLPD officers. One officer unholstered his taser and pointed at Reed, who complied and was taken into custody. While being taken to a patrol car, Reed spit on the second officer, according to the arrest affidavit.  

Larry Reed PHOTO: Lake County Sheriff’s Office

LLPD went into the home to speak with the victim, Reed’s grandmother, and found numerous Dr. Pepper cans scattered around the home with liquid on the floor. The 80-year-old victim explained she was in a verbal altercation with Reed and he threw a can of soda at her and spit on her.

Reed was arrested for domestic battery on a person over 65 years old and battery on a law enforcement officer. He was transported to LCJ, where he is being held on $15,000 bond.

9-Month Investigation Uncovers Conspiracy to Smuggle Drugs into Jail, 3 Arrested, Including Siblings

TAVARES, Florida—The Lake County Sheriff’s Office has arrested three people and is looking for a fourth person, it says conspired to smuggle drugs into the Lake County Detention Center, better known as the Lake County Jail or LCJ.

LCSO announced Friday it arrested Victoria Morrison, 24, of Lady Lake, Robert Morrison, 28, of Leesburg, and Anthony Arnold, 37, of Fruitland Park and a warrant has been issued for the arrest Patrick White, 40, of Okahumpka, according to a press release. Victoria Morrison and Robert Morrison are brother and sister, LCSO Lt. Fred Jones told Inside Lake.

According to LCSO, Victoria Morrison attempted to “introduce” fentanyl, methamphetamine and suboxone into LCJ with the help of her boyfriend, Tevaughn Johnson, who was locked up in the Marion County Jail. While cooperating with her brother, who was incarcerated at LCJ and two other inmates, Arnold and White, Victoria Morrison attempted to smuggle the drugs in, but they were intercepted by detectives before they entered the jail, the press release states.

For the next nine months, detectives investigated and intercepted contraband before it made its way into the jail. The probable cause affidavits are sealed and no other information is being released at this time.

Victoria Morrison was serving felony probation when she was arrested Thursday for trafficking in methamphetamine more than 28 grams, conspiracy to traffick in methamphetamine more than 28 grams, possession of suboxone with intent to deliver within 1,000 feet of a school and conspiracy to introduce contraband into a detention facility. Due to the probation violation, she is being held on no bond. Her boyfriend, Tevaughn Johnson, 29, was moved from the Marion County Jail to federal custody on a firearms violation and no charges were filed yet in this case; LCSO has forwarded the information to the U.S. Marshals.

Arnold, who was arrested last year for strangling and raping a woman, is scheduled to go to trial next month, and Victoria Morrison’s brother, Robert, who has been held in the Lake County since June 2022 on a tampering with evidence charge and possession of marijuana with intent to deliver, are each facing additional charges of conspiracy to possess contraband in a detention facility and unlawful use of a two-way communication device and are being held on no bond. White, who was released from LCJ in December 2022, is wanted for the same charges.

Woman Arrested For Neglect After Leaving 2 Children with Store Employee Overnight

LADY LAKE, Florida—A woman is in the Lake County Jail after leaving two children overnight with a gas station employee she did not know, according to an arrest affidavit.

Around 6 a.m. Sunday, Lady Lake Police Department responded to Circle K, 3 La Grande Boulevard, Lady Lake on a report of two abandoned children. When they arrived, an employee told officers an unknown woman, later identified as April Maxwell, 39, came into the store around 10 p.m. Saturday and left the children, aged 7 and 13. The employee said he believed the woman was under the influence of narcotics due to her behavior and he kept an eye on the children throughout the night, according to the affidavit. The relationship between Maxwell and the children is redacted from the affidavit.

The store manager arrived at the store at 5 a.m. Sunday and reviewed store surveillance video that showed Maxwell entering the store at 9:55 p.m. Saturday with two children and then leaving by herself a short time later. The manager waited until 6 a.m. and when Maxwell still did not return, she called LLPD.

Officers found a man sleeping in a golf cart in front of the store and after several minutes he finally woke up and told police he was friends with Maxwell and he was watching the kids while she got air in her golf cart tire. “As I was speaking to (him) it took roughly five minutes to get a coherent statement out of him due to the level of intoxication and being under the influence of illegal narcotics,” the LLPD officer noted in the affidavit.

The man called Maxwell and told her cops were looking for her and about 45 minutes later Maxwell was spotted driving a golf cart south on La Grande Boulevard. She told officers she arrived at Circle K around 9:55 p.m. Saturday with three children and left two of the children with the male employee because he is an acquaintance and she “felt comfortable leaving the kids at the store with him,” the affidavit states.

She went on to explain the air was low in one of her golf cart tires, so she took a 4-year-old child with her to get air at Wawa in Sumter County, while leaving the two older children with the store clerk. Maxwell, who appeared to be under the influence of narcotics, told police she did not think leaving the children at the store put their lives in danger,” according to the affidavit.

The Department of Children and Families (DCF) responded to the scene; the agency had already been searching for Maxwell for about a week because of prior cases, the arresting officer noted. Maxwell refused a drug screen and she was arrested by LLPD for two counts of domestic child neglect and driving while license suspended.

The two older children were dirty and exhausted and DCF took them and the 4-year-old into its custody. Maxwell was transported to the Lake County Jail, where she is being held on $11,000 bond.

Lady Lake Police Release More Details in Applebee’s Shooting, Victim Identified

LADY LAKE, Florida—Lady Lake Police Department continues to investigate a shooting that left a man dead early Tuesday morning.

In a press release late Wednesday afternoon, LLPD Deputy Chief Jason Brough said a man, identified as Dishaun Marquis Hudson, 38, of Leesburg was seated outside at a patio table with a group of people at Applebee’s, 1009 Bichara Boulevard, Lady Lake. Hudson walked into the parking lot where at least three  gunshots were fired and vehicle left.

Dishaun Hudson was shot and killed following an altercation at the Lady Lake Applebee’s early Tuesday morning. PHOTO: Lady Lake Police Department

After the shots were fired, several customers of the restaurant fled out the back door and Hudson walked around to a side door used by employees. A female who was with Hudson tried to get him to leave, Brough said, but Hudson went into the building. A verbal altercation took place inside the restaurant and when Hudson reached into his pants a male patron shot him. The male patron has a concealed carry permit, according to Brough.

Hudson died at the scene and the male patron is cooperating with investigators, Brough said; the male patron has not been publicly identified.

“The investigation is ongoing and charges will be determined after the investigation in complete,” Brough said in the press release.

Unidentified Man Dead After Multiple Altercations at Lady Lake Restaurant

LADY LAKE, Florida—Lady Lake Police Department is investigating an incident that left a man dead early Tuesday morning, according to LLPD Deputy Chief Jason Brough.

The man, who has not been identified, arrived at Applebee’s, 1009 Bichara Boulevard just after 1 a.m. Tuesday and was involved in an altercation outside, where at least three gunshots were fired, Brough said in a press release.

PHOTO: Lady Lake Police Department

Employees of the restaurant locked the doors and called 9-1-1. The man attempted to enter through the front door, found it locked, and a female who was inside the restaurant opened a side door and let him in, according to Brough. Another altercation ensued and a male patron with a concealed carry permit shot the man; he was pronounced dead at the scene.

The investigation is ongoing, Brough said, and it is unclear if the male patron is facing any charges. If you have information on the incident, call LLPD at 352-751-1565 or Crimeline at 1-800-423-TIPS (8477.)

Accused Bank Robber Nabbed by Leesburg Police Several Blocks from the Scene of the Crime

LEESBURG, Florida—A man is custody after Leesburg Police Department found him running several blocks from a busy bank that was robbed Monday morning, according to LPD Capt. Joe Iozzi.

Brandon J. Hooks, 38, of Lady Lake is accused of giving a teller a note indicating he was robbing Wells Fargo, 2271 Citrus Boulevard just after 9:30 a.m. Monday. Hooks, who was wearing all black, did not brandish a gun, Iozzi said.  

The teller complied and LPD responded to the scene after receiving multiple robbery alarms and confirming the robbery with a bank employee by phone. Hooks fled the scene and an undercover detective observed Hooks, wearing black shorts and a white muscle shirt, walking and then running west on Tally Box Road, just south of Tally Road, Iozzi said.

Officers responded to the scene and took Hooks into custody; he was found with a large amount of cash that was later identified as the same money stolen from the bank, according to Iozzi. An employee of the bank identified Hooks and said he removed the black shirt he was wearing during the robbery; the shirt was found on a wooded footpath off Tally Road.

Hooks was arrested for second degree bank robbery and his booking information was not available at press time.

Hook was arrested in 2017 for robbing a Wells Fargo in Lady Lake; according to Sumter County Clerk of Court online docket information, he pleaded no contest and was released in March 2022. The documents in that case were not available at press time, it is unclear what sentence he received and why the case was in Sumter County.

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