EUSTIS, Fla.—A rollover crash sent one person to the hospital by helicopter and another by ground Tuesday morning, according to Eustis Police Department.
Wilbert McMillian, 66, of Eustis, was driving a 1998 Chevrolet 1500 pickup truck westbound on East Barnes Avenue when he attempted to turn southbound on Bay Street, shortly before 7:30 a.m. Tuesday.
McMillian failed to yield to traffic traveling southbound on Bay Street and rear-ended a 2010 Chevrolet Equinox being driven by Brittany Weatherspoon, 30, of Umatilla. The impact caused the Equinox to strike the median and rollover three times before landing on its roof. Weatherspoon was airlifted to Orlando Regional Medical Center, and her passenger, a 4-year-old boy, was transported to AdventHealth Waterman in Tavares by Lake EMS. Their conditions were unknown at press time.
The crash occurred just minutes before school zone lights and speed limits were activated in that area.
VOLUSIA COUNTY, Fla.—A Umatilla man was arrested Thursday after stealing a pickup truck from the City of Umatilla and heading into Volusia County at speeds of more than 100 miles per hour, according to the Volusia Sheriff’s Office.
Just before 3:45 p.m. VSO received a call from the Lake County Sheriff’s Office advising a truck stolen from the City of Umatilla was headed into Volusia County. About 20 minutes later the truck was spotted on West New York Avenue, also known as State Road 44, near the Lake County line, according to an arrest affidavit.
The driver, Eblair Sylvain, 18, apparently saw law enforcement officers and began driving the truck over 100 miles per hour, passing multiple vehicles, going in and out of the ditch area on the side of the road and almost causing several head-on collisions.
Body cam footage of the apprehension of Eblair Sylvain, 18, who is accused of stealing a truck from the City of Umatilla and reaching speeds of more than 100 mph in Volusia County Thursday. VIDEO: Volusia Sheriff’s Office
A VSO deputy deployed stop sticks and struck two passenger side tires and Sylvain continued driving about a half a mile before bailing out, armed with a gun. He fled into a wooded area, dropped the gun and VSO deployed a K9 that apprehended Sylvain a short time later, the affidavit states.
The gun, which had an altered serial number, was found on the scene and Sylvain reportedly told VSO he stole the truck because he was “bored,” and claimed he found the gun under the seat of the truck.
Sylvain was arrested for grand theft of a motor vehicle, grand theft of a firearm, resisting arrest without violence and reckless driving. He was also issued a traffic citation for improper lane change, according to the affidavit.
He was transported to the Volusia Branch Jail, where he is being held on $17,000 bond.
EUSTIS, Fla.—The Florida Highway Patrol has confirmed the identity of the man killed after he crashed into a tree Saturday morning.
Tyler Evans, 27, of Umatilla, was driving a 2016 Nissan Versa northbound on County Road 439 near Dairy Road in unincorporated Eustis when he lost control, left the roadway and struck a tree around 5:15 a.m., FHP Lt. Tara Crescenzi said.
Evans was transported to HCA Florida Lake Monroe Hospital in Sanford, where he was pronounced deceased. He was not wearing a seatbelt at the time of the crash.
According to a gofundme created to benefit Evans’ family, Tyler loved music and spent many years playing drums in his church youth group. He also loved planes and was taking flying lessons. He grew up in Lake County with his sister Bria, and his parents, Jeremy and Amy also grew up in Lake County.
“Tyler will be missed by many,” the gofundme states.
EUSTIS, Fla.—A Umatilla man was killed before daylight Saturday morning after losing control of his car and striking a tree, the Florida Highway Patrol said.
The 27-year-old man was driving a 2016 Nissan Versa north on County Road 439 near Dairy Road, in unicorporated Eustis, shortly before 5:15 a.m. when he lost control for an unknown reason, left the roadway and struck a tree, FHP Lt. Tara Crescenzi said. The man was transported to HCA Florida Lake Monroe Hospital in Sanford, where he was pronounced deceased.
The crash closed County Road 439 for more than five hours and remains under investigation, Crescenzi said.
UMATILLA, Fla.—A woman who was arrested when she was a teenager for trying to have her parents killed has been arrested again—this time for stealing from her job and it was captured on camera, according to an arrest affidavit.
Alyssa Hatcher, 21, was arrested Monday by Umatilla Police Department after the manager of Circle K, 391 North Central Ave., Umatilla, reported Hatcher, an employee, was captured on video surveillance multiple times taking money out of the register and slipping it into her sock, instead of putting it in a safe. Hatcher was also captured on video walking into an office and appearing to conceal cash in her purse, the affidavit states.
Hatcher tried to cover up her misdeeds by using a “lottery buyout button” that accounts for money paid out in lottery winnings, the arresting officer noted in the affidavit.
Hatcher was arrested for grand theft, less than $5,000, and transported to the Lake County Jail, where she was released on $2,000 bond.
In 2019, Hatcher was arrested for stealing money from her parents to have them killed. A witness came forward and told a Lake County Sheriff’s Office school resource deputy Hatcher had given her friend “a lot of money” to kill her parents and Hatcher later admitted to an LCSO detective she stole the money and wanted to have her parents killed. The case quickly gained international attention and was the subject of a Dr. Phil episode. Hatcher later pleaded guilty to two counts of criminal solicitation to commit murder, two counts of grand theft, and one count each of petit theft and fraudulent use of a credit card. She was sanctioned as a juvenile and sentenced to a maximum-risk program with the Department of Juvenile Justice, the most severe sanction in the juvenile system, 5th Judicial Circuit State Attorney’s Office Public Information Officer Brittney Carman told Inside Lake Wednesday.
EUSTIS, Fla.—An event to benefit a Lake County Sheriff’s Office school resource deputy who was diagnosed with cancer earlier this year is scheduled for Saturday.
What started as chest pain in 2022 turned into a terrifying diagnosis last summer for LCSO Cpl. Adam Tytler. In November 2022, Tytler went to a cardiologist for ongoing chest pain, and after a EKG showed his heart was in good shape, the cardiologist told him the pain was likely gastrointestinal. The next month, on Christmas Eve, Tytler discovered a swollen lymph node on his neck and by February the lymph node had not gotten any better. He was also suffering from a sinus infection at the time and went to his primary care doctor for treatment and mentioned the lymph node. The doctor chalked it up to the infection, but during the spring Tytler’s chest pain continued and had also moved to his back, and then he began to find swollen lymph nodes on his chest.
Tytler went through a battery of tests and upon reviewing the results, his doctor said it was likely cancer. Tytler sought a second opinion from the Moffitt Cancer Center in Tampa and his fears were confirmed when he was diagnosed with Stage 4 Hodgkins Lymphoma in June 2023.
Tytler, his wife Tiffany, and two daughters, Shay 17, Lily, 14, are currently splitting their time between Mount Dora and Tampa for treatment and it is taking a financial toll on the family while already dealing with an emotional roller coaster. Tytler said he came forward with his struggle because cancer affects millions of people and often they go through it alone.
“I would have given up if it weren’t for my faith, my family and the support from the school resource deputy unit,” Tytler said. “I only wanted for those who are struggling to know they are not alone. Not now. Not ever and to never give up.”
Tytler’s struggle inspired Shannon Cook, organizer of Lake County’s annual Back the Blue Walk, and LCSO Lt. Kristin Thompson to create the benefit scheduled for 1 p.m. Saturday at That Place, 925 North Bay Street, Eustis.
Dinners will be available for purchase, along with an auction of numerous items, including a Back the Blue basket with items from multiple Lake County law enforcement agencies, tickets to various events, like New Kids on the Block concert tickets and Richard Petty Driving Experience, along with a Yeti cooler packed with alcohol, various craft items made by local residents, a high-end fishing pole and numerous other items. A poker scramble is also scheduled to start at 9 a.m. at Gator Harley-Davidson, 1745 U.S. Highway 441, Leesburg, and will include five stops, ending at That Place, Cook told Inside Lake.
Tytler has spent nearly his entire adult life at LCSO, and most recently worked as a corporal in the school resource deputy unit. He prevented a shooting on the Eustis High School campus during the 2018-2019 school year and was awarded the Lake County Officer of the Year in 2019 for his efforts.
He said he is excited he has only one treatment left, and it has been a difficult journey. “Truthfully, it’s been challenging and difficult treatment-wise, not just for me but my family also,” Tytler said.
He will have to wait until after the new year to find out if he is cancer-free, he said.
Tytler told Inside Lake saying thank you to all those who have helped him, and contributed to the benefit will never be enough.
“My family and I are so appreciative and overwhelmed of the outpouring of love and support from everyone. Especially from people I’ve never met,” he said.
UMATILLA, Fla.—A social media challenge ended in the arrest of a Umatilla Middle School student after he stood up in class and yelled there was a bomb earlier this week.
The boy, 11, stood up in his second period class shortly before 10:30 a.m. Wednesday and reportedly said “There is a bomb on campus,” according to an arrest affidavit. Inside Lake is not naming the boy due to his age.
He was taken to the main office, and he said he made it up because of a TikTok. He told the school resource deputy an “app on TikTok has you yell out statements to get points in their accounts,” the affidavit states. He said it was a joke and there was not a bomb on campus.
The 6th grade building, gym and lunchroom were evacuated, and a search was performed to ensure a bomb was not on campus. Nothing was found, according to the affidavit.
The boy was arrested for disruption of a school function and making a false bomb threat; he was transported to the Lake County Jail and turned over to the Department of Juvenile Justice.
LEESBURG, Fla.—Dozens of vehicles lined both sides of Goose Prairie Road Tuesday night for a candlelight vigil held in remembrance of a teen who was killed in a crash Monday.
The Florida Highway Patrol confirmed the names of both teens to Inside Lake Tuesday afternoon and loved ones and friends gathered to honor Michael Pasternak, 16, of Umatilla, who was the passenger in a Jeep Wrangler that overturned several times, killing him and the driver shortly before 8 p.m. Monday.
Lane Johnson, 17, of Leesburg, was driving the 2016 Wrangler eastbound on Goose Prairie Road near Felkins Road when he attempted to pass a 2005 Ford F-150 in a no-passing zone, shortly before 8 p.m. Monday, FHP Lt. Tara Crescenzi said.
The Wrangler entered the westbound lane and attempted to reenter the eastbound lane due to oncoming traffic. The rear of the Wrangler collided with the front of the F-150 and the Wrangler traveled onto the eastbound grass shoulder of the road. Johnson overcorrected, the Wrangler then traveled across both lanes, overturned several times and struck a wire fence, according to Crescenzi.
Johnson and Pasternak were pronounced deceased on the scene; they were both wearing their seatbelts. The teens were identified as adult males shortly after the crash by FHP and later confirmed to be teenagers in a media release Tuesday morning. Both teens’ next of kin were notified before their names were confirmed to Inside Lake.
The driver of the F-150 was not injured. His age and city were originally incorrect in the first media release; FHP later said he was a 38-year-old man from Umatilla.
Pasternak was a junior at Alee Academy Charter High School in Eustis and Director/Principal Cindy Emerick spoke to Inside Lake about him Tuesday afternoon. She described him as “always smiling” and he was “literally liked by everyone,” Emerick said.
“He had big plans,” Emerick said. “He was going to do something great.”
The school’s mantra is they are a “Fam-Alee” and the “Fam-Alee” bond between the students and faculty was apparent to Emerick Tuesday, she said.
“Our students had a rough day today. So did we,” she said.
Grief counselors were available on campus Tuesday and will continue to be available if needed, Emerick said.
LEESBURG, Fla.—The Florida Highway Patrol has released more information on a crash that killed two teens near Leesburg Monday night.
FHP said two adult males were killed Monday night, but an early Tuesday morning press release stated the crash victims were a 17-year-old male of Leesburg and a 16-year-old male of Umatilla.
The 17-year-old male was driving a 2016 Jeep Wrangler eastbound on Goose Prairie Road when it attempted to pass a 2005 Ford F-150 in a no-passing zone shortly before 8 p.m. Monday, FHP Lt. Tara Crescenzi said.
The Wrangler entered the westbound lane and then tried to reenter the eastbound lane due to oncoming traffic. The right rear of the Wrangler collided with the front left of the F-150 and the Wrangler overcorrected, traveled across both lanes, overturned several times and struck a wire fence. The driver and the passenger, a 16-year-old male of Umatilla, were pronounced deceased on the scene. They were both wearing their seatbelts, Crescenzi said.
Inside Lake is working to confirm the identities of the teens.
The F-150 driver, a 38-year-old Umatilla man, was not injured. The crash remains under investigation.
UMATILLA, Fla.—A tracking app helped nab an accused teenaged armed robber earlier this week, according to an arrest affidavit.
Juan “Slugga” Gomez Jr., 16, of Umatilla, is accused of robbing two victims of $500 on Orange Circle in Lady Lake Sunday. The victims told Lake County Sheriff’s Office deputies a masked male suspect pointed a gun at them and demanded money, and a second male who was not wearing a mask helped him, the affidavit states.
The victims identified Gomez through social media and LSCO found that he attended Umatilla High School. Gomes was secured and detained at UHS Monday, where he was interviewed by an LCSO detective. He denied being in Lady Lake and taking part in the robbery and refused to give the detective a DNA sample, according to the affidavit.
Gomez’ father responded to the school and told LCSO he has a tracking app and it showed Gomez was in Lady Lake around the time of the robbery. Gomez then confessed to the crime but said he did not get any money; he refused to identify he accomplice. Gomez was arrested for armed robbery and turned over to the Department of Juvenile Justice.