Mount Dora

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. 

Former Mount Dora Police Officer Arrested For Stalking Local Woman

EUSTIS, Florida—A former Mount Dora Police Officer and current Palm Beach Garden Police detective has been arrested for aggravated stalking and cyberstalking, according to a probable cause affidavit.

Bryan Craig Broehm, 53, is accused of stalking a woman who he was in a recent relationship with and worked with more than 20 years ago at MDPD, according to the affidavit. The woman was a dispatcher at the time, the affidavit states and according to Broehm’s Linked In account, he was a road patrol corporal and worked for the agency for 2.5 years.

A Lake County Sheriff’s deputy went to the woman’s home in Eustis at the request of the Palm Beach Gardens Police Department in September because it was conducting an internal affairs investigation into Broehm’s behavior toward the victim. The victim provided LCSO a 10-page statement detailing his behavior. A detective then met with the victim and she provided screenshots of harassing text messages, copies of emails and other evidence, according to the affidavit.

During the relationship, the victim gave Broehm access to her security cameras, but he accessed them on numerous occasions without permission and after she eliminated his access he continued to try to access them, she said, and he admitted to it in a text message that the victim provided to LCSO. She referred to the relationship as “toxic” and during a “fit of rage” he told her if she left him, he would “hunt her down,” and the victim believed his threats were due to his “uncontrollable anger, ”abnormal controlling behavior” and “position as a law enforcement officer.” Broehm continued to call her from “burner” phones and spoof numbers after she blocked him, she told LCSO; and made a fake account on Mercari, a buying and selling website, to inquire about buying something from her and asked her numerous personal questions before revealing himself.

Broehm was arrested Wednesday for one count of aggravated stalking and four counts of cyberstalking.

8-Month-Old Baby’s Leg Broken, Dad Arrested

MOUNT DORA, Florida—A Mount Dora man was arrested Monday for aggravated child abuse after he was accused of breaking his 8-month-old daughter’s leg, bruising several ribs and failing to get her immediate medical attention.

According to a heavily redacted arrest affidavit, the infant was picked up from a home in Eustis around 5 p.m. Wednesday by her father, Dominic Tyler Ralston, 22, after spending the night of Oct. 26 and most of the day Wednesday with two individuals whose names were redacted. The baby had no visible injuries, except for a bruised forehead that was explained by the baby’s parents, according to the affidavit. The baby shied away from Ralston when he attempted to pick her up, the affidavit states. Ralston’s relationship to the baby is redacted from the affidavit, but social media

posts indicate he is the child’s father.

Later the same evening, the baby’s mother called her own mother and said the baby was not eating and would “flip out” in apparent pain if she was touched, and was favoring her right leg, the affidavit states. An unnamed person took the baby to AdventHealth Waterman and Ralston and the baby’s mother followed.

The hospital found the baby had a broken leg and an unnamed person told police the baby had fresh bruises on her body and face. The person told police the baby’s parents had a history of domestic violence and just a few weeks before Ralston threw a 12-pack at the baby’s mother, striking her in the face. She locked him out of the hotel room, and he kicked the door in. Ralston was arrested in Lake County in December 2019 for domestic battery, the charges were later dropped.

On Thursday, the baby was transferred to Advent Pediatric Hospital in Orlando and when Ralston was informed of the transfer, he at first refused to go. After an unnamed person yelled at him about not going, he did go to his daughter. While there, the Department of Children and Families (DCF) asked Ralston to sign a safety plan giving temporary custody of the baby to someone else. He refused and is alleged to have said it was, “all a bunch of (expletive.)”

Later the same day, Mount Dora Police asked Ralston to come to the department to be interviewed and he asked if he was going to be arrested, the affidavit states. A detective told Ralston he wanted to know how the baby’s leg and ribs were broken and bruised and Ralston went to Mount Dora Police Department around 4:15 p.m. for the interview.

Ralston told police Oct. 26 was the fourth day the infant had issues with her right leg and there was concern because she was accident prone. He went on to explain safety measures he had taken including pool noodles and crib liners and said he was concerned DCF was going to permanently take the baby. MDPD explained witnesses said the baby was very sensitive to her leg being touched after being with Ralston and Ralston suggested she broke her leg by getting caught in the crib liner. He then stated he did not know how she broke her leg and said her bruised ribs must have been from a fall, according to the affidavit. The MDPD detective asked Ralston to take a Controlled Voice Stress Analysis examination and he refused.

Ralston was arrested Monday and charged with aggravated child abuse. He was released from the Lake County Jail on $10,000 bond Tuesday morning. 

Multiple Shots Fired on Busy Leesburg Road Friday Night, Mount Dora Man Behind Bars

LEESBURG, Florida—A Mount Dora man is facing a litany of charges after he was accused of shooting at a vehicle on North Boulevard Friday night.

Leesburg Police received a complaint about a burgundy Ford Expedition driving recklessly in the area of Citizens Boulevard and North Boulevard at 8:21 p.m. Friday. The complainant provided dispatch with updated locations and about two minutes into the call the complainant said they heard what sounded like four to five gunshots, according to an arrest affidavit. The SUV then pulled into a business on U.S. Highway 441.

One minute later, a second complainant reported the SUV shot at his vehicle on West North Boulevard. The caller described the driver as a white male with tattoos. The caller told dispatch he returned fire at the SUV and pulled over on Mills Street; he stated he was standing by his vehicle with his unloaded firearm on the dash, the affidavit states. After officers arrived, he told them the SUV was driving recklessly and he slowed down to allow it to pass, once the vehicles were even, Gonzalez opened fire and the victim returned fire and immediately pulled over and called 9-1-1.

LPD located the SUV at a business on U.S. Highway 441 and found Adrian Omar Gonzalez, who has multiple tattoos, shirtless, in the driver’s seat with the door wide open. The arresting officer saw a bullet hole through the windshield and asked Gonzalez to explain the damage. Gonzalez said he was driving eastbound on North Boulevard when a white male began to shoot at him.

Gonzalez, who smelled of alcohol, and had watery bloodshot eyes, told the officer he did not know why the man shot at him and denied it was a road rage incident. Gonzalez also denied having a gun. Police inspected the SUV and found two additional bullet holes, a shattered window and a flat tire. Police searched the SUV and found a loaded FNX FN .40 caliber handgun, a Bulldog brand handgun, multiple loose rounds, a loaded magazine, cocaine, marijuana and a digital scale. Gonzalez refused to submit to field sobriety exercises.

Gonzalez, 29, was taken into custody and arrested for two counts of aggravated assault, shooting a deadly missile into a vehicle, discharging a firearm from a vehicle within 1,000 feet of a person, possessing a firearm by a convicted felon, discharging a firearm under the influence, DUI, possession of cocaine, possession of marijuana, possession of drug paraphernalia and driving on a suspended license. He is being held in the Lake County Jail on $61,500 bond.

Mount Dora House Guest Apparently Hopped Out Of Window With Shower Water Running To Steal Host’s SUV

The following story was previously published on Lake Legal News.

MOUNT DORA, Florida — A man whose ex-girlfriend let him stay with her for a few weeks repaid her by stealing her SUV while she thought he was in the shower, and using her debit card without permission Sunday, according to an arrest affidavit.

Shortly after 7 p.m. Lake County Sheriff’s Office deputies responded to a home in Mount Dora on a report of a stolen vehicle. The victim told LCSO Joaquin Ramon Medina-Rondon, 34, had been staying with her for about two weeks, and told her he was going to take a shower.

The victim thought Medina-Rondon was taking a long time in the shower and began investigating why, the affidavit states. She walked around the front of her house and noticed her 2020 Nissan Rogue was missing and her keys were gone. She went into the bathroom and found the water running and Medina-Rondon gone, possibly leaving through the bathroom window.

She told LCSO Medina-Rondon has never had permission to use her vehicle and said her purse and wallet, containing her debit card were in the SUV. She checked her account and found that her card was used for two separate withdrawals totaling $309. The victim said Medina-Rondon must have figured out her PIN. A laptop was also in the vehicle.

Early Monday morning, LCSO spotted the SUV on County 437 in the Sorrento area. They deployed stop sticks, deflating the driver’s side tires and took Medina-Rondon into custody. The victim’s purse, wallet, debit card and laptop were all found in the vehicle.

Medina-Rondon, who was already out on bond for a prior grand theft charge was arrested for grand theft of a motor vehicle, petit theft, unlawful possession of a stolen debit card and fraudulent use of a credit card. He was booked into the Lake County Jail, where he was later released on $10,000 bond.

Mount Dora Traffic Fatality: Wife And Children Open Up About Losing A Man Who Was “Just Amazing”

The following story was previously published on Lake Legal News. 

EUSTIS, Florida — Seventeen years ago Adrick Rojas pushed his best friend’s sister down on a bed and kissed her. And there began a love story spanning nearly two decades that included the couple moving to Lake County and bringing four children into this world who are loved dearly.

“Our first kiss! We were sitting in my brother’s room and my brother walked out for whatever reason. Adrick pushed me down on the bed and kissed me! Then [he] looked at me and yelled, ‘You kissed me!”

“I didn’t kiss you! You kissed me!”

“I definitely didn’t kiss you! You pinned me down! I’m telling your brother!”

“And then he kissed me again.”

Rojas’ wife Shannon, spoke with this reporter Monday, about her husband, just six weeks and one day after he passed away in a tragic crash and spoke about their children and their life together, including the kiss that started it all.

Growing up in South Florida, Rojas, 36, was Shannon’s brother’s best friend and the two sets of parents were best friends as well, Shannon said. Shannon’s grandparents were looking to move to The Villages and instead found 12.5 acres in Eustis. In 2004, when Shannon and Adrick’s oldest daughter, Mikaylee was just two months old, they moved to Lake County and began their new life together. The family property is like a compound, Shannon laughed; her grandparents gave her brother and parents three acres each, along with Shannon and Adrick.  

Adrick, who learned his gardening skills from his mom, grew tomatoes, strawberries and peppers also built Shannon a garden and koi pond. “He built me a special garden where I park,” she said.

Shannon’s strength was apparent as she spoke with this reporter; although she choked back tears several times during the interview, she also acknowledged Adrick made a mistake the evening of Aug. 16.

“He was irresponsible in his speed, 100 percent. I cannot defend him on that,” she said, “but he was so much more than that. That one mistake is not what makes you.”

According to a report released by Mount Dora Spokeswoman Lisa McDonald, witnesses told Mount Dora Police Adrick was driving southbound around 80 miles per hour, near 4150 Highway 19A in a 2001 black Ford Expedition around 6:45 p.m. when he attempted to pass another driver. He crossed over the double line, lost control and rolled the SUV three times and was ejected. He was killed less than a block from his job, Simplex, Inc. a glass and mirror business, located at 4085 North Highway 19A.  

Adrick, who worked in construction most of his life picked up his skills from both of his dads and could do it all, Shannon said. “[He could do] anything you could think of in construction.”

Adrick was an avid skateboarder for many years. Everywhere the family went the skateboard was in the trunk, Shannon remembers fondly. “He had our babies on a skateboard.”

The couple has four children, and they all miss their father desperately. Shannon said he was a very active father and they referred to him as their “bearded Disney Daddy.” The children shared some of their tender memories.

“Dad was my gossip buddy. He would hear about everything I had to say. Even at 6:30 every morning when he drove me to school. I miss you Dad,” said Mikaylee, 15.

Maddox, 12, the couple’s only son, has stepped up as the ‘man of the house,’ Shannon said. He misses his father terribly. “He really liked playing sports with me. I miss you a lot, Dad.”

Maylani, 6, who would wait at the door with her little sister Mila and the family’s two dogs for their Daddy to come home every day so they could ride on his back like a horse, misses their tea parties. “He would play dress up with us and let us put pretty bows in his hair and beard! I love you so much, Daddy! My Daddy was the best Daddy in the world!”

Three-year-old Mila waves to her Daddy in the sky each day, Shannon told LLN. “My Daddy dance with me! Daddy’s in the sky! I love my Dad.”

Shannon and her children struggle with the loss each day, “The only thing keeping me going is those four babies,” but next month will be especially hard. The couple shares the same birthday — Oct. 17. This will be the first birthday in 17 years they spent apart, Shannon (one year older than Adrick) told LLN with a laugh; she was always known as the cougar because she is one year older.

Though Shannon spoke of many things she loved about Adrick, she said it was his smile that always got to her. It was infectious, he lit up a room and was the life of the party. “His smile. Everything about his smile.”

Shannon visits Adrick’s grave each Sunday and cleans up and brings fresh flowers; a plaque at the gravesite reads, “If I had my life to do over again… I’d find you sooner so I could love you longer.”

 “I want him remembered as an amazing friend and a great father. He was just amazing.”

Man Ejected, Dies, In Mount Dora SUV Rollover — Witness Reports Failed Attempt To Pass Another Vehicle

The following story was previously published on Lake Legal News.

MOUNT DORA, Florida — A single-vehicle crash that shut down a popular roadway for several hours Sunday night claimed the life of a 36-year-old man, according to Mount Dora Public Information Officer Lisa McDonald.

Witnesses told Mount Dora Police Adrick Rojas, was driving southbound around 80 miles per hour, near 4150 Highway 19A in a 2001 black Ford Expedition around 6:45 p.m. Sunday when he attempted to pass another driver. He crossed over the double line, lost control and rolled the SUV three times, McDonald said in a press release.  

Rojas was ejected and pronounced dead on the scene. Three passengers were in the SUV with Rojas; two were uninjured and one went to a local hospital later for treatment, McDonald said.

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