Mount Dora

Former American Idol Contestant Busted With LSD By Mount Dora Police

MOUNT DORA, Florida—Former American Idol contestant David Oliver Willis was arrested late Friday after Mount Dora Police found seven squares of suspected LSD in a backpack with his personal belongings.

According to the arrest affidavit, MDPD observed a Chevrolet SUV with a non-functioning headlight on Eudora Road near Brown Avenue shortly after 11 p.m. An officer conducted a traffic stop and detected the odor of marijuana coming from the vehicle and when asked about it, Willis reportedly said he had been smoking at a friend’s house prior to the stop.

David Oliver Willis PHOTO: Lake County Sheriff’s Office

Police searched the vehicle and found a grinder in the front passenger seat with green leafy residue and a black backpack. Inside the backpack, police found Willis’ personal belongings, including bank cards and a baggie that contained seven small squares of paper.

MDPD field-tested one of the squares and it tested positive for LSD, the affidavit states. Willis, 31, admitted the backpack belonged to him, but denied the LSD was his, according to the affidavit.

Willis was transported to the Lake County Jail, where he was released on $2,000 bond. 

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Mount Dora Man Tased, Busted With Gun And Drugs

MOUNT DORA, Florida—A burned out taillight turned into a trip to jail for a van’s passenger early Friday morning.

Mount Dora Police pulled over a van on East Spring Harbor Boulevard just before 3 a.m. when an officer noticed the left taillight out, according to an arrest affidavit. The officer noticed the smell of marijuana coming from the van as the officer spoke to the driver and told the driver they could smell it. The occupants were asked if there was any marijuana in the van and the driver said he smoked earlier, but to his knowledge there was not any in the van. Inside Lake is not naming the driver because he was not charged with a crime.

The passenger, identified as Darius Trenard Young, 34, was asked to exit the van and after questioning police why he had to exit, he finally did, according to the affidavit.

PHOTO: Lake County Sheriff’s Office

Young ran as one officer began to search the van and a second officer gave chase and announced Young would be tased. Young continued to run and an officer tased him. “It was evident Darius was not feeling the effects of the TaserX26P. I then conducted a follow through with the Taser to complete the cycle. Darius immediately felt the effects of the Taser X26P and began to comply,” the arresting officer wrote in the affidavit.

Young was placed in handcuffs and MDPD located several sandwich bags of marijuana, a sandwich bag containing MDMA, a glass jar of marijuana, seven bags of “Stoner Patch” marijuana edibles, empty baggies and a Sig P225 handgun. The marijuana and edibles weighed 324.8 grams and the MDMA weighed 41 grams, according to the affidavit.

Young was arrested for armed trafficking of MDMA, possession of a firearm by a convicted felon, possession of a firearm during the commission of a felony, possession of marijuana more than 20 grams, possession of drug paraphernalia, resisting an officer without violence

Young, a convicted felon since 2008, was transported to the Lake County Jail, where he was released on $44,000 bond. 

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Mount Dora Man Arrested After Eustis Police Find Bag Of Ecstasy Next To Baby In Unsecured Car Seat

EUSTIS, Florida—A Mount Dora man was arrested after Eustis Police found a bag containing “several” ecstasy pills during a traffic stop Tuesday night.

EPD stopped a vehicle around 9 p.m. Tuesday for an inoperable tag light, near North Exeter Street and McDonald Avenue, according to an arrest affidavit.  The driver, who Inside Lake is not naming because she wasn’t charged with a crime, “appeared very nervous” and had three passengers with her, including a 1-year-old baby, according to the arrest affidavit.

One of the passengers, Troy Nix, 29 who was sitting in the back seat next to the unsecured car seat and baby, was drinking from a cup and spontaneously said, “This is Hennessy,” the affidavit states. Hennessy is a popular brand of cognac. An EPD officer told Nix to pour the liquor out and instead he took a sip, the affidavit states.

The driver consented to a search of the vehicle and EPD found a baggie with several multi-colored pills that field-tested positive for ecstasy. The baggie of pills was found in the baby’s car seat on the left of the baby’s body underneath a blanket being used to keep the baby warm, according to the affidavit.

Nix was arrested for child neglect, possession of ecstasy and possession of drug paraphernalia. He was transported to the Lake County Jail, where he is being held on $5,000 bond. 

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Duo Follows Intended Robbery Victim Into MDPD Parking Lot

MOUNT DORA, Florida—Two men who followed their intended robbery victim right into the parking lot of Mount Dora Police Department are behind bars on no bond.

Shortly before 1:30 a.m. Wednesday a man in a truck pulled into the parking lot of MDPD, followed by another vehicle. The man in the truck told police the vehicle had been following him since he was in Orange County, flashing its high beams at him and making him feel uncomfortable. As the officer spoke to the victim, a man exited the second vehicle and made statements, “about a small Hispanic officer that shot him and then began stating something about the Marine Corps and other incoherent items,” the arresting officer noted in the arrest affidavit. The victim then left the police department.

Police attempted to identify the driver of the second vehicle, and he gave them a false name and then gave them a second name, Lionel Malik Pierre, that matched description information in the Drivers and Vehicle Information Database (DAVID.) They later received information from Apopka Police Department, the man’s name is Leopold Pierre, 50, of Vero Beach and he has been known to use the alias, Lionel Pierre.

Police then attempted to identify the second male in the vehicle, who gave them an incorrect last name. They were able to identify him as Darion Waldo, 33. Waldo then told police the vehicle they were in was stolen and they were following the truck to commit an armed robbery on the driver, the affidavit states. He continued to tell police the pair “robbed” a female of the vehicle they were in and committed two other robberies in Orange County.

Waldo, of Sanford, told MDPD he did not want to take part in the robberies, but he did not do anything to stop them, or turn Pierre in. Police searched the vehicle and found a knife and ski mask. Waldo said the mask was his, but then said it was not his, according to the affidavit.

PHOTO: Mount Dora Police Department

Volusia County Sheriff’s Office deputies contacted the owner of the vehicle at their home in Volusia County and the owner said his vehicle had been stolen earlier in the day, but he had not reported it yet. He responded to MDPD and completed an intent to prosecute; the driver of the truck also came back to MDPD and completed an intent to prosecute, the affidavit states.

MDPD sent out a Be On (the) Lookout (BOLO) to surrounding law enforcement agencies and Apopka Police Department reported they had an incident earlier in the day and they identified who MDPD believed to be Lionel Pierre, as Leopold Pierre.

After running a check on Leopold Pierre, police found he has a criminal history in Florida and South Carolina, but Lionel has no criminal history. Leopold had also used Lionel’s name as an alias in the past, according to the affidavit.

Pierre and Waldo were both arrested for false name to law enforcement, attempted robbery with a deadly weapon, possession of burglary tools, aggravated stalking, grand theft of a motor vehicle and petit theft. Pierre was booked under Leopold Pierre in the Lake County Jail; both Pierre and Waldo are being held on no bond.

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Wanted Mount Dora Man Charged With Battering K-9, Drug Offenses

MOUNT DORA, Florida—A man wanted for conspiracy to introduce contraband into a detention facility compounded his problems Tuesday when he allegedly tampered with evidence and grabbed Lake County Sheriff’s Office K-9 Noble and refused to let him go.

LCSO deputies responded to Quality Inn, 16630 U.S. Highway 441, Mount Dora to attempt to locate Michael Carl Nieves on a warrant Tuesday afternoon. After confirming his room number with management, deputies knocked on his door and Nieves answered, asking several times if he was going to jail, according to an arrest affidavit.

Deputies informed Nieves, 51, he was going to be arrested and he retreated into the room; deputies told Nieves several times if he did not come out of the room, they would send in a K-9. A female exited the room and told deputies Nieves was in the bathroom and several deputies entered the room.

PHOTO: Lake County Sheriff’s Office

Nieves yelled from the closed bathroom, refusing to comply and deputies believed he was flushing narcotics down the toilet. LCSO forced entry into the bathroom and K-9 Noble was released to aid in apprehending Nieves.

Nieves fought with deputies, grabbed Noble and refused to let him go, the affidavit states.  He eventually let the pup go and was taken into custody. Deputies searched the room and found a large amount of marijuana in the toilet bowl and baggies of prepackaged substances, believed to be crack cocaine, marijuana and methamphetamine. Nieves is facing a slew of charges, including conspiracy to introduce contraband into a detention facility, possession of cocaine, possession of methamphetamine with intent to sell, resisting arrest, tampering with evidence, possession of marijuana over 20 grams with intent to distribute, battery on a police K-9  and two counts of violation of probation.

Nieves was transported to AdventHealth Waterman for the injuries he received from K-9 Noble, and after treatment he was booked into the Lake County Jail, where he is being held on no bond. 

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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. 

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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.

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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.”

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