Umatilla

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. 

Middle School Student Arrested After Snapchat Post

UMATILLA, Florida—A 13-year-old girl was arrested Wednesday just four days before her 14th birthday for threatening a school shooting on Snapchat in apparent retaliation for getting in trouble for selling nicotine for vapes.

The post stated, “Am shooting up umatilla (sic) middle scholl (sic) today bc all yopu (sic) 6, 7, and 8th graders are fake as (expletive) y’all (expletive) got me expelled for selling nic- – y’all (expletive)are going to pay on god.”

Thea Stiles was interviewed at Umatilla Middle School and admitted to making the threat and said she made the post on the bus because she was upset.

Stiles, a resident of a group home, according to her arrest affidavit, was arrested by a Lake County Sheriff’s Office school resource deputy for written threats to do violence.

The Sheriff’s Office and Lake County Schools maintain a zero tolerance for such threats. Just three days ago LCSO Sheriff Peyton Grinnell and LCS Superintendent Diane Kornegay released a video warning of the consequences of making threats to do violence, LCSO Lt. John Herrell said in a press release. 

Umatilla Teen Keeps Buying Vehicles With Bum Checks — Two Lake Dealerships Hit

The following story was previously published on Lake Legal News.

EUSTIS, Florida — An unemployed Umatilla man scammed two local car dealerships with nearly $70,000 of worthless checks, and attempted to scam two more, according to a probable cause affidavit.

On April 16, Eustis Police Department responded to Advantage Chrysler Dodge Jeep RAM, 18311 U.S. Highway 441 on a report of fraud. The general manager told police Prestin Scott Carroll, 19, purchased a 2021 Jeep Wrangler with a check written for $48,940.35 four days earlier. The check was returned the next day for insufficient funds; the manager contacted the bank and found the account the check was written on had been closed.

The responding officer called Carroll and Carroll told him he purchased the Jeep with an insurance settlement from a previous crash and did not know why the bank failed to honor the check. The manager requested Carroll bring in a cashier’s check or return the Jeep by the end of the day and Carroll agreed, according to the affidavit.

The following day an unidentified female left the Jeep in the parking lot.

Just a week later, on April 23, another EPD officer responded to Danny Len Buick GMC, 17605 U.S. Highway 441, also on a fraud complaint. An employee told EPD Carroll came to the dealership on April 17— the same day the Jeep was returned— and wrote a $5,000 check to hold a 2013 Ford F150. On April 19, Carroll returned to the dealership and finished paperwork and wrote a check for the remaining balance on the truck— $14,857.78. The checks were returned as unpaid four days later and the employee attempted to contact Carroll to no avail and then called police.

An EPD corporal contacted Carroll later that same afternoon and he said he had two accounts at the same bank, one of which is closed, and he “must have accidently written checks from the wrong account,” the affidavit states. Carroll later returned the truck.

Carroll’s criminal history showed a prior arrest in Winter Haven and EPD contacted Winter Haven Police Department and found that Carroll had purchased a 2019 Chevrolet Camaro from a dealership in Winter Haven, with a worthless check in the amount of $28,379.59 The report in that case mentioned a similar case in Pasco County and EPD contacted Pasco County Sheriff’s office and found that Carroll had purchased a 2020 Toyota Tacoma from a dealership there and then traded it in on a 2021 Jeep Rubicon. He is alleged to have written two checks for those vehicles totaling nearly $75,000.

Carroll also attempted to purchase a Ford F150 Platinum worth $74,000 from Prestige Ford, 17701 U.S. Highway 441, Eustis but was unsuccessful. Carroll was also unsuccessful at Phillips Buick GMC, 2160 U.S. 441/27, Fruitland Park. A warrant was issued for Carroll’s arrest on April 27 for two counts of grand theft auto and four counts of fraud.  He was nabbed on April 29 and is being held in the Lake County Jail on $35,000 bond.

Inappropriate Teacher-Video Leaks Out To Lake County Students

The following story was previously published on Lake Legal News.

[09/06/19 9:45 p.m.] UMATILLA, Florida – Due to the nature of its content, LLN is declining to publish the video itself, to avoid further mental harm to students. However, even a cropped screenshot excerpt of the leaked video reveals that the unnamed woman appeared shocked at the salacious language being used, which is the subject of the ongoing investigation by Lake County Schools.

[09/06/19 4:56 p.m.] UMATILLA, Florida – Lt. John Herrell has informed LLN that the LCSO took a report, investigated the matter, and having determined that no criminal violation exists, has referred the matter to Lake County Schools.

09/06/19 2:45 p.m.] UMATILLA, Florida – A Umatilla Middle School teacher is under investigation by Lake County Schools after several social media videos went viral during the hurricane break.

Todd Erdman, employed since 2007, shared numerous videos on the social media platform TikTok, containing sexually explicit statements. The videos were spotted by a student who then shared them with friends and they spread throughout the community in a matter of hours. The videos were sent to LLN Thursday, by a concerned parent. The school district was made aware of the videos after a parent complained about the videos early Thursday morning.

Imani Williams, multi-media specialist and assistant public information officer for Lake County Schools told LLN that Erdman called in sick Thursday and Friday, but is under an active investigation. When he returns to work, he will be placed in a no-student contact position, Williams said. “We urge all of our teachers to operate with integrity.”

Geoff Rose, whose children were taught by Erdman, is appalled. “I find it disgusting. As a parent and youth coach, doing things like this is highly unacceptable,” Rose said. Rose has coached youth sports for 20 years.

Erdman has no prior disciplinary action, according to Williams. What happens next will be determined by outcome of the investigation. “We are working our hardest to do the most thorough investigation we can,“  Williams said. “We are here to do the best job possible.” Williams said the Lake County Sheriff’s Office also investigated. A call to LCSO was not returned by press time.

[Original Breaking Story] TAVARES, Florida – Sources are telling LLN that a Lake County middle school teacher is under investigation after inappropriate videos shared on the social media platform TikTok were viewed by numerous students during the hurricane break. A student stumbled upon the video and shared it with friends and it spread on social media in a matter of hours.  

A concerned parent emailed two of the videos to LLN Thursday. One video, 16 seconds in length shows the teacher having a verbal exchange with an unknown female. The conversation has graphic sexual connotations that most would consider vulgar. The second video, just eight seconds, shows the teacher in a bathtub making another graphic sexual remark.

No one could be reached at Lake County Schools after hours.

This is a developing story.

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