Eustis

Suspicious Substance Mailed to Eustis High was Cornstarch, According to Eustis Police

EUSTIS, Florida—The white powder sent to Eustis High School Monday that caused the school to be placed on lockdown was cornstarch, Eustis Police Chief Craig Capri said.

A package was opened shortly before noon Monday and contained an unknown white powder later determined to be cornstarch, Capri said. EHS was placed on lockdown out of abundance of caution, and students and faculty were not in danger, Capri said.

“We are following protocol to ensure the safety and students and faculty,” Capri told Inside Lake Monday afternoon.  

Eustis Fire Department and Lake EMS also responded to the scene.

Suspicious Package with White Powder Sent to Eustis High Monday; Students and Faculty Safe, Eustis Police Chief Says

EUSTIS, Florida—Eustis Police Department is investigating a suspicious package sent to Eustis High School, Eustis Police Chief Craig Capri told Inside Lake.

“Everything is under control concerning the safety of the students,” Capri said.

The package was opened shortly before noon Monday and contained an unknown white powder that will be sent to a lab for testing, Capri said. EHS was placed on lockdown, and students and faculty are not in danger, Capri said.

“We are following protocol to ensure the safety and students and faculty,” Capri said.  

Eustis Fire Department and Lake EMS were also on scene and staging in the area. This is one of several incidents around Lake County Monday involving a suspicious package, Capri said. Inside Lake is working to get more information on those incidents.

Attack on EMT Spills Out Onto the Side of the Road Thanksgiving Night

EUSTIS, Florida—An intoxicated combative patient on her way to the hospital attacked an EMT, opened the side door of the ambulance, attacked him again as they both fell out on the grass on the side of the road, attacked his partner as she tried to help and kicked a Eustis Police officer in the face after she arrived at the hospital Thanksgiving night, according to an arrest affidavit.  

Ashley Polston, 34, is facing three charges of battery on a first responder after EPD responded to help Lake EMS EMTs after Polston attacked a male EMT in the back of an ambulance, opened the door of the ambulance and the fight spilled out onto the side of the 1200 block of Lakeshore Drive as his partner pulled the ambulance over around 8:45 p.m. Thursday, the affidavit states.

The male EMT told police Polston began unbuckling her seatbelts on the way to AdventHealth Waterman in Tavares; he told to her to keep them on for safety and Polston is alleged to have unbuckled the seatbelts, stood up and threw a punch at the EMT.

Ashley Polston PHOTO: Lake County Sheriff’s Office

He blocked the punch and Polston opened the side door of the ambulance with her foot and as the EMT tried to exit, Polston grabbed him and they both fell into the grass, he told EPD. Polston attacked him again, swinging, punching and spitting as his female partner tried to help. The female EMT tried to secure Polston’s legs and Polston kicked her in the face, she told police. EPD then arrived on the scene and secured Polston in handcuffs and on a stretcher. She was transported to AdventHealth Waterman and when the EPD officer arrived at the hospital to assist, and Polston kicked him in the face as well, according to the affidavit.

Polston was released from the hospital and arrested for three counts of battery on a first responder. She was transported to the Lake County Jail, where she was released on $15,000 bond.

Eustis Man Killed in Orange County Head-On Collision

APOPKA, Florida—A Eustis man was killed Saturday night after the 2000 Ford Focus he was driving was struck head-on by a 2017 Dodge Ram 1500, according to the Florida Highway Patrol.

A 38-year-old Apopka man was driving the Ram eastbound on South Binion Road, also known as County Road 437, near Sheaf Road when he failed to maintain his lane entered the westbound lane and struck the Focus being driven by a 65-year-old Eustis man, shortly before 9 p.m. Saturday, FHP Lt. Tara Crescenzi said.

The impact caused the Ram to overturn on its right side and the driver was transported to Orlando Regional Medical Center with non-life-threatening injuries. The Eustis man was transported to AdventHealth Apopka, where he was pronounced dead.

The crash remains under investigation.

Villages Man Dead, Teen Ejected and Seriously Injured in SR 44 Crash Saturday Afternoon

EUSTIS, Florida—The Florida Highway Patrol is investigating a crash that killed an elderly man and seriously injured a teenager Saturday afternoon.

The 73-year-old Villages man was traveling southbound in a 2021 Honda CRV on State Road 44 near Rory Lane in unincorporated Eustis just before 2 p.m. Saturday when he attempted to make a U-turn and entered the direct path of 2004 Chevrolet Tahoe also traveling southbound. The front of the Tahoe struck the left side of the CRV, according to FHP Lt. Tara Crescenzi.

The impact ejected the Tahoe’s passenger, a 19-year-old male from Eustis; he was not wearing his seatbelt. He was transported to Central Florida Regional Medical Center in Sanford with serious injuries. The driver, of the Tahoe, an 18-year-old male, also of Eustis, was not injured; he was not wearing a seatbelt either, Crescenzi said in a press release.

The CRV’s driver, who was wearing a seatbelt, was transported to AdventHealth and pronounced deceased. The crash remains under investigation.

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.

Fatal Crash Shuts Down CR 44 Monday Morning

LEESBURG, Florida—A fatal crash involving four vehicles has closed County Road 44 at Silver Lake Road in unincorporated Leesburg Monday morning, according to the Florida Highway Patrol.

The crash occurred around 7:20 a.m. Monday and killed a 42-year-old man from Eustis driving a 2004 Toyota Corolla, said FHP Lt. Tara Crescenzi.

A 23-year-old DeLand woman driving a 2015 Mitsubishi Mirage was transported to a local hospital with minor injuries, Crescenzi said; a Eustis man, 36, driving a 2004 Chevy Silverado and a 69-year-old Avon Park man driving a 2021 tractor trailer were not injured.

Drivers are asked to seek an alternate route.

This is a developing story.

Umatilla Teen Driving Mercedes Busted by Off Duty Deputy for Impersonating a Cop

EUSTIS, Florida—A teenager is being held on $6,000 bond after flipping on red and blue lights as he pulled over near a disabled vehicle Tuesday night—in front of a Lake County Sheriff’s Office detention deputy.

Joshua Michael Mazenka, 18, of Umatilla, was driving a black 2011 Mercedes on State Road 19 in Eustis around 10 p.m. Tuesday when he saw a disabled vehicle, turned on his illegal red and blue lights and pulled over, according to an arrest affidavit.

An LCSO detention deputy on his way home, saw the disabled vehicle and as he attempted to pull over, the Mercedes pulled in front of him with the flashing red and blue lights in the windshield, the deputy told Eustis Police. The uniformed deputy stepped out of his vehicle and when Mazenka saw him, he reportedly said, “Oh (expletive,)” and fled the scene in his Mercedes. The deputy called dispatch and began following Mazenka through a neighborhood and eventually Mazenka stopped in the parking lot of Winn Dixie at State Road 19 and County Road 44, the affidavit states.

EPD officers responded and when Mazenka first saw them, he blurted out, “I (expletive) up,” according to the affidavit. Officers observed a light bar in the back window attached with suction cups, in addition to a light bar in the backseat with one suction cup attached, and one still stuck to the windshield. The light bars were very similar to those used in law enforcement vehicles, the arresting officer noted in the affidavit.

Mazenka agreed to speak with officers, and he told them he was traveling north on State Road 19 when he saw a vehicle stopped with its hazard lights on. He turned on his red and blue lights “for safety” and pulled over to help.

“The way he used (the lights) is the same way (police) would use them,” EPD Capt. Jon Fahning told Inside Lake.

Mazenka said he saw the detention deputy behind him and he “knew he was in trouble” so he fled the scene. Then he decided it was best to stop and he pulled over at Winn Dixie, he told police. He also said LCSO had pulled him over recently; in that incident in September, he was pulled over for driving recklessly in Leesburg and the deputy observed red and blue lights in the front and back, along with lights in the grill. The deputy told Mazenka to remove the lights and he was given a ticket for following too closely.

Mazenka told officers he bought the lights on Amazon.

He was arrested for impersonating a police officer and having red and blue lights on a vehicle and was transported to the Lake County Jail. The Mercedes was towed and when the car when inventoried, an airsoft pistol was found that was an exact replica of a Glock 17, in addition to a pellet rifle.

When officers returned to the original scene to help the disabled vehicle and its occupants, it had already been towed, according to the affidavit.

Trick or Treat? Eustis PD Serves Up Search Warrant Halloween Morning

EUSTIS, Florida—In response to numerous complaints, Eustis Police Department executed a search warrant on a home before daybreak Monday, according to Chief Craig Capri.

Four people were arrested in the home at 15 Haselton Street, which had deplorable conditions, including a roach infestation and no running water, said Capri, who was on scene, along with City Manager Tom Carrino and Mayor Michael Holland. The house has since been condemned.

“The residents should not have to tolerate living near this type of property,” Capri said.

Four people were arrested following the execution of a search warrant Halloween morning. Top left to bottom right, Richard Cooper, Tamra Solomon, Alvin DeSantis and Christopher Morrow. PHOTOS: Lake County Sheriff’s Office

EPD and Mid Florida SWAT executed the warrant at 5 a.m. and detained six people, and later arrested four of them, in the four-bedroom house, according to a report. Upon searching the first bedroom, detectives found around 20 grams of methamphetamine, a small amount of marijuana and a digital scale. Richard Lee Cooper, 41, and Tamra Faye Solomon, 31, were both charged with trafficking in methamphetamine, possession of marijuana and possession of paraphernalia. They are each being held in the Lake County Jail on $27,000 bond.

Detectives searched the living room and found a small amount of marijuana and a glasses case that contained six syringes that tested positive for methamphetamine; they spoke with Alvin DeSantis, 64, who told officers he slept in the living room and admitted to being a methamphetamine user, according to the report. He was arrested for possession of drug equipment and is being held on $1,000 bond.  

In another bedroom, EPD found two rounds of ammunition and items linked to Christopher Randolph Morrow, 38, who has 21 prior felony convictions, including failure to comply with sex offender requirements, the report states. He was arrested for possession of ammunition by a convicted a felon and violation of probation, he is being held on no bond.

Conditions found during a search warrant at 15 Haselton Street Monday morning. PHOTO: Eustis Police Department

Man Accused of Shooting Man in Head Just Hours After Hurricane Ian, Apprehended by Eustis Police Tuesday

EUSTIS, Florida—Less than a month after a man was shot in the head the day Hurricane Ian made its way through Eustis, his attempted killer is behind bars, according to Eustis Police Chief Craig Capri.

Only Inside Lake was on the scene the day of the shooting and at EPD Tuesday after Christopher Worlds was picked up on the warrant for attempted murder. Detectives worked diligently on this case for nearly a month, “I have zero tolerance for gun violence in my city,” Capri told Inside Lake Tuesday.

On Sept. 29, shortly before 5 p.m., EPD responded to Lee’s Market, 1333 East Orange Avenue on a report of a battery and a shooting. When officers arrived, they found the victim, a 22-year-old male, in the alley between Family Dollar and Lee’s Market, suffering from a gunshot wound to the head. The bullet struck the man just below his right eyebrow and exited through his right temple, the detective working the case said. The victim was airlifted to a Central Florida Regional Hospital in Sanford and survived his wound, according to Capri.

EPD detectives arrived on the scene and viewed surveillance video from the market and saw footage of two females in a verbal altercation that escalated when one woman punched the other woman in the face, that woman is then seen pulling a purple firearm with a silver slide and three more women break up the fight. The woman who threw the punch then gets into her vehicle and the woman with the gun follows her at first, and then puts the gun in her vehicle.

Eustis Police officers cordon off the parking lot of Lee’s Market on Orange Avenue following a shooting on Sept. 29. PHOTO: Marilyn M. Aciego/Inside Lake

Several females walk up to the woman who threw the punch and begin arguing with her and the other woman again retrieves her gun. The woman who threw the punch gets out of her vehicle and begins punching another female in the backseat of the vehicle next to her and another fight ensues between at least five females. The gunshot victim then walks up and breaks up the fight and then walks into Lee’s Market and the woman with the gun yells in his direction; both women then leave in separate vehicles.

A few minutes later, a red, older model Hyundai pulls into the parking lot and a man, later identified as the husband of the woman holding the gun, exits the vehicle and appears to talk to the gunshot victim. As the two men talk, Dominic Brokenborough and Christopher Worlds, aka Kato, aka Kado, aka Voodoo, approach, and the woman with the gun pulls up with five women. As the women approach the men, another fight occurs out of the view of the camera, according to the report. About 20 seconds later, several people are seen running into the view of the camera and that is when police believe the shooting occurred and everyone involved fled the scene.

A Eustis Police officer looks for evidence on Sept. 29, near an alley between Family Dollar and Lee’s Market, where a man was shot in the head. PHOTO: Marilyn M. Aciego/Inside Lake

The older model Hyundai was spotted in the area not long after the shooting and as an officer followed the car, it suddenly stopped, and Brokenborough exited the vehicle. The car then turned onto North Exeter Street and was pulled over as it approached Magnolia Avenue, the report states.

Brokenborough, 34, of Mount Dora, was found nearby and officers believed at the time he fled the vehicle on foot. He was apprehended by road patrol officers behind a nearby business and said he did not know officers were trying to pull the vehicle over. The driver, who also said he was unaware officers were attempting to stop him, was detained and questioned. He was identified as the husband of the woman with the gun, but Inside Lake is not naming him because he has not been charged with a crime at this time. Brokenborough was searched and officers found six baggies containing a substance that tested positive for fentanyl and cocaine, in addition to numerous pieces of drug paraphernalia. He was arrested and transported to the Lake county Jail, where he was released on $3,000 bond.

Throughout their investigation detectives interviewed witnesses and the victim and Worlds was identified as the shooter.

On Tuesday, detectives received a tip on Worlds’ whereabouts, and he was apprehended near a shed in the 600 block of Danvers Street. A gun was found stuffed under an old mattress near where Worlds was apprehended; that gun is not the gun that was used in the shooting, an EPD detective told Inside Lake.

Worlds is facing a slew of charges, including attempted second-degree murder, aggravated battery with a deadly weapon, two counts of possession of firearm by a convicted felon, two counts of possession of ammunition by a convicted felon, carrying a concealed firearm, discharging a firearm in public and improper exhibition of a firearm. He is being held in the Lake County Jail on $104,000 bond.

Scroll to Top