Inside Scoop

Account Created to Support Family of High School Student Tragically Killed Thursday

MONTVERDE, Florida—A GoFundMe has been created to help provide financial support to the family of  the Lake Minneola High School freshman who was tragically killed in a hit and run crash Thursday.

The account, created by family friend Derek Kelley, describes 14-year-old Owen Wells as “always smiling” and “always on some adventure”

“Owen had a love of God and a love of life,” Kelley wrote. “Owen had a deep love for his parents. And definitely loved the occasional harassment of his two younger brothers.

The funds collected are slated to pay for Owen’s funeral expenses and to give Owen’s parents, Jim and Beth, time to grieve, Kelley said.

Owen, of Montverde, was the victim of a hit and run crash just before 6:30 a.m. Thursday as he waited for his school bus, according to Kelley.

Florida Highway Patrol Lt. Tara Crescenzi said Owen was crossing the lanes of County Road 455 near Willo Pines Lane when he was struck by a 2007 Pontiac G6 being driven by Enrique Ramirez, 57, of Winter Garden. The impact threw Owen into the southbound lane of County Road 455, where he was struck a second time by a 2006 Dodge Ram being driven by a 59-year-old Ferndale man. Ramirez fled the scene; the driver of the Ram stopped.

Lake County Sheriff’s Office deputies found the Pontiac unoccupied shortly after the crash and FHP investigated and found that Ramirez was the driver. Ramirez was arrested a little over 12 hours after the crash for leaving the scene of a crash involving death. He is being held in the Lake County Jail on no bond.

If you would like to donate to the Wells family, click here Support for the Wells Family

FHP Arrests Man in Hit and Run Death of Teenager

TAVARES, Florida—The man accused of hitting a Lake Minneola High School freshman and leaving the scene shortly before daybreak Thursday has been arrested, the Florida Highway Patrol said Thursday night.

Enrique Ramirez, 57, of Winter Garden was arrested by FHP for leaving the scene of a crash involving death, FHP Lt. Tara Crescenzi said. The boy, whose name was not released, was walking across the lanes of County Road 455 near Willow Pines Lane just before 6:30 a.m. Thursday when he entered the path of a 2007 Pontiac G6 being driven by Ramirez and was struck by the front left of the car. The impact threw the 14-year-old into the southbound lane of County Road 455, where he was struck a second time by a 2006 Dodge Ram being driven by a 59-year-old Ferndale man, Crescenzi said. Ramirez and the driver of the Ram were not injured.

Ramirez fled the scene, and the car was later found by Lake County Sheriff’s Office deputies. Troopers questioned the registered owner of the car and their investigation led to Ramirez.

Ramirez was was arrested for hit and run resulting in death. He was transported to the Lake County Jail where he is being held on no bond.

Leesburg Man Arrested in Summer Overdose Death

LADY LAKE, Florida—A Leesburg man has been arrested in the overdose death of a 38-year-old man in Lady Lake over the summer, according to the Lake County Sheriff’s Office.

Albert Robert Springs, 33, was taken into custody Wednesday after an investigation revealed Springs dealt Harry Cooper the lethal fentanyl that killed him on June 25. Cooper was found dead in a bedroom at a home at 4100 Holly Hill and the medical examiner’s office ruled his death an accidental overdose of fentanyl, LCSO Lt. John Herrell said.

“Detectives worked diligently throughout the course of this investigation,” Herrell said. Phone records and surveillance video helped detectives determine Springs was responsible for dealing the fentanyl to Cooper.

Springs was arrested for death by unlawful distribution of fentanyl and is being held in the Lake County Jail on no bond.

High School Freshman Killed in Hit and Run Thursday Morning

MONTVERDE, Florida—A Lake Minneola High School freshman was killed Thursday after he was struck by a car that fled the scene and then struck by a second vehicle as he lay in the southbound lanes of County Road 455, according to the Florida Highway Patrol.

The boy, whose name has not been released, was walking across the lanes of County Road 455 near Willow Pines Lane just before 6:30 a.m. when he entered the path of a 2007 Pontiac G6 and was struck by the front left of the car. The impact threw the teenager into the southbound lane of County Road 455, where he was struck a second time by a 2006 Dodge Ram being driven by a 59-year-old Ferndale man, FHP Lt Tara Crescenzi said.

The teen was a freshman at Lake Minneola High School, according to Lake County Schools Communications Officer Sherri Owens. The tragedy comes just two days before LCS students go on Thanksgiving break.

“It’s a tough day for all of us, especially those teachers, administrators and classmates who knew him well,” Owens said.

The Pontiac fled the scene and was found unoccupied in an undisclosed location by Lake County Sheriff’s Office deputies and was taken into evidence, Crescenzi said. Troopers are interviewing the registered owner of the car and investigating who was driving at the time of the deadly crash. The driver of the Dodge remained on scene, and he was not injured.

The crash remains under investigation.

No Arrests in Umatilla Murder Last Week, LCSO Developing Leads

UMATILLA Florida—The Lake County Sheriff’s Office is developing leads in the murder of a 31-year-old man Nov. 8, Lt. John Herrell told Inside Lake Wednesday.

Antwain “Lil Daddy” Hart was found shot in front of a home at 38946 Merrell Avenue last week in the Southside area of unincorporated Umatilla. He was transported to AdventHealth Waterman in Tavares by Lake EMS, but died during transport, Herrell said. LCSO has not released many details in the case.

Hart’s rental vehicle, a white 2022 Jeep Cherokee was stolen at the time he was shot and found about 12 hours later behind First Church of God-Eustis, 1550 North Highway 19, Eustis by Eustis Police officers, EPD Chief Craig Capri told Inside Lake last week. LCSO has not said if any evidence was found in the SUV.

Antwain “Lil Daddy” Hart was found shot in unincorporated Umatilla Nov. 8. Lake County Sheriff’s Office detectives are developing leads.

Friends and family members of Hart expressed their sorrow through numerous social media posts following his death, and his celebration of life is scheduled for 11 a.m. Friday, First Baptist Church of Umatilla, 550 Hatfield Drive, Umatilla. His arrangements are being handled by Snow’s Funeral Ministry & Cremation Services in Ocala.

If you have information on Hart’s murder, call LCSO at 352-343-2101 or Crimeline at 1-800-423-TIPS. Crimeline callers may be eligible for a reward.  

Pedestrian Killed Thursday Morning, CR 455 Shut Down

MONTVERDE, Florida—A pedestrian fatality has shut down County Road 455 Thursday morning.

According to the Florida Highway Patrol, a vehicle and a pedestrian were involved in a crash of County Road 455 near Willo Pines Lanes just before 6:30 a.m. The pedestrian was killed and motorists can expect County 455 to be shut down for several hours.

This is a developing story.

Man Caught on Video Using Pallet Jack to Break Into Local Publix

LEESBURG, Florida—A Leesburg man put in some work to break into a local Publix early Saturday, according to an arrest affidavit.

Edward Lee Brown, 61, was caught red-handed inside Publix, 717 North 14th Street, Leesburg shortly after 4 a.m. Saturday by Leesburg Police with a backpack full of loot that included 35 packs of Newport cigarettes and 39 Black and Mild cigars, along with other tobacco products valued at more than $500, according to the affidavit. LPD also found a crack pipe in Brown’s backpack.

LPD responded to the popular grocery store after a caller reported seeing Brown breaking into the back door of the store with a pallet jack. When officers arrived, they found Brown inside a rear office in the store with his loot, according to the affidavit.

Edward Lee Brown PHOTO: Lake County Sheriff’s Office

LPD reviewed surveillance footage while on the scene and it showed Brown utilizing a manual pallet jack to pry open the back door from the bottom. Brown is then seen crawling through the opening, entering the store and placing the stolen tobacco in his backpack, the affidavit states.

Brown was arrested for burglary, petit theft (two prior convictions) and possession of drug equipment. He was taken to LPD for processing and later to the Lake County Jail, where he is being held on $13,000 bond.

Traffic Stop Leads to More than 100 Grams of Meth

UMATILLA, Florida—A painted taillight that caught the attention of a Lake County Sheriff’s Office deputy began a series of events that ended in a trip to jail for a DeLand man Friday night after he was found with more than 125 grams of methamphetamine.

Shortly after 10 p.m. Friday, the deputy spotted a blue Mercedes with what the deputy thought was an inoperable taillight on State Road 19 south of Umatilla. As the deputy approached the car, it was apparent the lights were painted and the driver side taillight was painted darker, making it appear very dim, according to an arrest affidavit.

The deputy noticed the car’s high beam headlights were on and the driver failed to dim them as oncoming traffic approached. The car turned onto a side street and the deputy pulled off on the side of the road. Moments later, the car passed the deputy again, still with its high beams on and pulled into Circle K at State Road 19 and Ocala Street with the deputy close behind.

The deputy initiated a traffic stop and both the front passenger and rear passengers opened their doors. The deputy ordered them to remain in the car. The front passenger left his door ajar and the deputy spotted a fixed blade hatchet at his feet, the affidavit states, and he was removed from the car. Inside Lake is not naming either passenger because they were not charged with a crime.

While speaking with the passengers, LCSO noticed a glass pipe in the center console and a Umatilla Police officer arrived on scene to assist. LCSO asked the driver, Brandon Peter Torres, 36, to step out of the car and the deputy noticed a large clear bag protruding out of the front pocket of his hoodie. Torres was searched and found with a total of three bags of methamphetamine; one weighed 112 grams, the second weighed 15 grams and the smallest bag weighed just over 2 grams.

Torres was arrested for trafficking in methamphetamine, possession of methamphetamine with intent to distribute and possession of drug paraphernalia. He is being held in the Lake County Jail on $51,000 bond.

Naked Woman on Motorcycle Causes a Stir Sunday

LEESBURG, Florida— “I had to do a double take.”

Tiffany Khoudali got quite the surprise as she made her way home from a tea party with her daughter Sunday afternoon when she saw a naked woman riding a motorcycle, she told Inside Lake.

At 5:59 p.m. as Khoudali drove northbound on U.S. Highway 441 near Buzzard Beach, she spotted a woman on a motorcycle. As they approached County Road 473, she first thought the woman was wearing flesh-colored leggings, “So I sped up a little,” she looked over, “And…she’s naked,” she told Inside Lake.  

She quickly snapped a photo, because she knew no one would believe her, she said, and her son, Malik, a senior in high school, whipped out his phone and posted a video to Snapchat, she said.

Khoudali did not say anything to the woman, “She was looking straight ahead, not paying attention to anybody.” As the woman approached the red light at U.S. Highway 441 and County Road 473, she braked and allowed two cars to turn left onto County Road 473, but ran the light after that, Khoudali said. She was not wearing a helmet. “Not that I would ever put myself in that situation,” Khoudali said, “but if I was naked, I wouldn’t stop at traffic lights either.”

Khoudali posted to the popular Facebook group Leesburg’s Word Of Mouth and at press time the post had garnered more than 700 comments. Many made jokes and speculated why the woman was riding naked. Malik’s Snapchat video was set to music by an unrelated person and posted to another popular app, TikTok and shared hundreds of times.

Inside Lake reached out to surrounding law enforcement agencies Monday to inquire if the woman was spotted or arrested. Lake County Sheriff’s Office Lt. John Herrell said LCSO responded to a home in Altoona around 10 a.m. Sunday on a report a woman was drunk. When they arrived, she did not meet the criteria for a Baker Act and the complainant was given information on how to obtain an order for a mental health evaluation, Herrell said.

VIDEO: Malik Khoudali; [email protected]

Inside Lake has identified the 49-year-old woman but we are not releasing her name because Sunday’s incident may have been a mental health issue. She was released on her own recognizance from the Lake County in July after being in jail for six week for possession of methamphetamine, possession of drug paraphernalia and resisting an officer without violence; she is currently in the pre-trial intervention program for those charges.  

Tavares Police Public Information Officer Courtney Sullivan said her agency first became involved when they received a call from AdventHealth Waterman shortly before 5 p.m. The caller reported the woman came into the hospital wearing only a shirt that did not cover her nether region and was saying things that did not make sense. She was given paper scrub pants and left the hospital against medical advice, Sullivan said.

Janet Dickey Smith was at AdventHealth Waterman when the woman left. “She was barefoot (and) had a blanket wrapped around her. She got on the Harley and three security guards were following her,” she told Inside Lake. One security was on the phone and taking down her tag number, she said.

TPD began looking for her, but officers were unsuccessful, Sullivan told Inside Lake. TPD also received a call from Eustis Police Department around 6 p.m. stating the woman was riding naked on Lake Eustis Drive near Ann Rou Road; attempts to locate her were still unsuccessful.

She was eventually stopped near Gator Harley-Davidson on U.S. Highway 441 by LCSO shortly after 6 p.m. and transported by Lake EMS to a local hospital.

Mount Dora Police Seeking Public’s Assistance Identifying Man Who “Sexually Assaulted” Young Female

MOUNT DORA, Florida—Mount Dora Police Department is seeking the public’s assistance in identifying a man who “sexually assaulted” a young female in his vehicle earlier this week.

According to MDPD, the young female, whose age has not been released, was walking home in the area of Eudora Road and Old U.S. Highway 441 Tuesday when the man pulled off to the side of the road and began talking to the female.

The female got into his vehicle and a “sexual assault” occurred, according to an MDPD crime bulletin. It is unclear exactly what happened to her and there is no description of the vehicle. MDPD was not made aware of the incident until Friday, they said.

If you have information on the man’s identity, call MDPD Criminal Investigations at 352-735-7130.

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