Lady Lake

Lady Lake police asking for tips to crack the case that left a young man dead last year

LADY LAKE, Fla.—It’s been nearly a year since 20-year-old Bryson Leverette was gunned down by a group of armed suspects in the Skyline Hills area of Lady Lake and Lady Lake Police Department has a new, seasoned detective on the case.

Leverette and another victim were leaving a home at 104 Caroline Avenue around 12:45 a.m. June 30, 2023, when they were approached by the group, armed with several firearms, Town of Lady Lake Spokesperson Elisha Pappacoda said in a press release.

LLPD responded to the home after a report of gunshots and found Leverette deceased, and a second person suffering from gunshot wounds was transported to a local hospital for treatment. The suspects fled the area in an unknown vehicle and no arrests have been made.

“Since his death, Leverette’s girlfriend gave birth to their son, and his mother continues to grieve his violent, unsolved death,” Pappacoda said.

Earlier this year, Det. James Dunagan joined LLPD after spending more than 20 years at Leesburg Police Department, and last month he took the case over. Dunagan worked many cases while at LPD, and the 2006 disappearance of Trenton Duckett was one of his most notable cases.

“I am committed to working toward a resolution for Bryson’s family. They deserve answers,” Dunagan said. “We ask that anyone with information come forward to help us bring justice in this case.”

If you have information, call Dunagan at 352-751-1565 or email him at [email protected]. Callers who wish to remain anonymous can call Crimeline at 1-800-423-TIPS (8477.)

Previous stories: Lady Lake Shooting Victim Identified – Inside Lake

Lady Lake Police Investigating Shooting that Killed One Person and Injured Another Early Friday – Inside Lake

Lady Lake police asking for tips to crack the case that left a young man dead last year 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 GoOutdoorsFlorida.com.

FWC: License-free freshwater fishing this weekend Read More »

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 https://myfwc.com/boating/

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 »

Lady Lake honors young artists at Monday’s commission meeting

LADY LAKE—The Town of Lady Lake hosted its annual Water Conservation Poster Contest awards presentation during the Town Commission meeting on Monday. The event showcased the talent of first, second, and third-grade students from The Villages Elementary of Lady Lake, who submitted posters.

Under the theme “One Water, One Earth,” young artists explored innovative ways to promote water conservation through their artwork. Brittany Wendt, art teacher at The Villages Elementary, played a pivotal role in nurturing the students’ artistic endeavors.

Nine winning posters were selected, and the winners were honored with gift cards, gift bags, and medals. Their artwork will be prominently displayed at the Lady Lake Library, serving as a reminder of the importance of water conservation to our community.

Lady Lake honors young artists at Monday’s commission meeting Read More »

Coffee with Lady Lake Town Manager scheduled for next week

LADY LAKE—Coffee with the Town Manager is scheduled for 10 a.m. Monday at Lady Lake Library. Lady Lake Town Manager Bill Lawrence will be at Lady Lake Library, 225 West Guava St. for a casual conversation discussing town services, news and events. Enjoy coffee and light snacks provided by Friends of the Lady Lake Library.

RSVP: https://www.facebook.com/events/1095441401906996/

Coffee with Lady Lake Town Manager scheduled for 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

5th Annual Lake County Back the Blue and Red Walk Read More »

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 »

Lady Lake Woman Killed Monday after Crashing into Tree in Marion County

MARION COUNTY, Fla.—A Lady Lake woman was killed Monday morning after losing control of an SUV and crashing into a tree, according to the Florida Highway Patrol.

The 49-year-old woman was southbound on Southeast 47th Avenue north of Southeast Highway 42 when she lost control for an unknown reason, traveled into the northbound land and struck a tree off the west shoulder around 9 a.m. Monday, FHP Lt. P.V. Riordan said.

She was pronounced deceased on the scene and was not wearing a seatbelt, Riordan said.

Lady Lake Woman Killed Monday after Crashing into Tree in Marion County Read More »

FHP: Lady Lake Man Flees Fatal Citrus County Crash, Captured in a Pasture by Citrus Deputies

CITRUS COUNTY, Fla.—A Lady Lake man is accused of being drunk, causing a crash that killed a man and fleeing the scene Sunday, according to the Florida Highway Patrol.

Robert Brandon Vanzant, 31, of Lady Lake was speeding southbound in a Ford F-150 on North Carl G. Rose Highway and passing traffic on the shoulder shortly before 2:30 p.m. Sunday, FHP Sgt. Steve Gaskins said.

Vanzant merged back into traffic near East Spruce Drive and rear-ended a Honda Accord being driven by a 62-year-old Lecanto man. The impact propelled the Honda across the road, where it struck a bridge rail and then collided with a second Ford F-150 being driven northbound by a 42-year-old Beverly Hills man.

The Lecanto man was transported to an area hospital where he succumbed to his injuries. The Beverly Hills man suffered minor injuries.

Vanzant, who was not injured, left the scene, dumped his truck at a nearby gas station and fled on foot into a pasture where he was apprehended by Citrus County Sheriff’s Office deputies, Gaskins said.

Vanzant was later arrested by FHP for DUI manslaughter, leaving the scene of a crash with death, leaving the scene of a crash with injuries and driving while license suspended with death.

FHP: Lady Lake Man Flees Fatal Citrus County Crash, Captured in a Pasture by Citrus Deputies Read More »

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