The Voice of the Gem City

July 16, 2019

This is Marcia Lane, your roving reporter.

A couple was jailed in Palatka Monday on drug charges and child neglect after leaving their five children in a hotel room. Palatka Police stopped to question the couple after seeing their black Chevrolet Trail Blazer double parked at Riverfront Park. One deputy noticed a clear plastic bag with a crystalized substance under one of the occupant’s legs and Christopher Scranton, 34, and Shannon Scranton, 32, were ordered out of the vehicle. The bag turned out to contain methamphetamine and several items of drug paraphernalia were found inside the SUV. During the investigation police found the couple had left five children alone in a nearby hotel room. Both Scrantons were booked into the Putnam County jail just after 1 a.m. Monday on $15,000 bond each. Shannon Scranton posted bond and was released about 45 minutes later.

A Penske truck proved as effective as a Stop Stick when it came to stopping three men in a stolen vehicle. On Sunday Sheriff Rick Staly was the first to spot the vehicle after an alert was sounded. An effort by deputies to conduct a traffic stop failed and the suspect vehicle increased speed and fled on U.S. 1 heading toward Bunnell. The vehicle was driven at excessive speeds, weaving in and out of traffic and making erratic U-turns on U.S. 1 while trying to avoid a number of Stop Sticks put out by deputies. However, when the vehicle attempted to turn east on Royal Palms Parkway, the driver lost control and crashed into a Penske rental truck.  Sheriff Staly and deputies approached with guns drawn and ordered the three men out. All three complained of injuries and were taken to the hospital before being booked. Driver Brian Keith Johnson, 21, was charged with grand theft of a motor vehicle, petit theft and fleeing and eluding law enforcement. No bond was set. Passengers Marquis D. Gross, 21, and Justin Edward Thomas King, 22, were arrested as well with bond set at $5,000 each. All three are residents of Gainesville.

Formal charges have been filed against the man accused of leaving the scene of an accident that left two women bicyclists dead in St. Augustine. Henry Haigler, 37, of Jacksonville, is scheduled for an arraignment July 29. The names of the two women struck and killed in the hit-and-run in St. Augustine June 15 on Racetrack Road were released in court documents. Susanne Landino, 61, and Bonnie Parry, 53, both of Jacksonville, were killed. The names had been withheld at the family’s request under a new law.

The Voices of Moseley will be featured during the 3:30 p.m. meeting of the Putnam County School Board at district headquarters today. It’s part of a video presentation produced by the district. The school has been in the process – successfully — of finding new ways to raise grades.

Flagler County Commissioners have voted to sue the county’s clerk of court if he doesn’t respond to their latest request regarding an ongoing issue of housing some of the sheriff’s employees. At a Monday meeting they came up with a two-part request. One to have Clerk Tom Bexley to agree to a space study of the courthouse to be done by an independent party. The second request for Bexley is to comply with the study’s results. If that doesn’t happen, they plan to sue for the space. The need arose after the Sheriff’s Command Center had to be closed because their headquarters turned out to be housed in a sick building. Bexley has said he doesn’t have space in the government complex to accommodate the request.

The crash of a Cessna 172 in the Elkton area on Sunday occurred while a student pilot was practicing emergency maneuvers. The student and instructor were from Florida Flyers Flight Academy out of St. Augustine. That’s a Federal Aviation Administration approved flight school. FAA is now investigating that wreck as well as another that occurred earlier in the morning near Hastings.

Actor Billy Bob Thornton has a big fan in St. Johns County. It’s K-9 Bane (as in the bane of a crook’s existence) who’s with the St. Johns County Sheriff Office. He and his deputy were pictured with Thornton while the actor was in St. Johns. Thornton is a huge supporter of police K-9s and also donates money in support of them, according to the Sheriff’s Office Facebook site.

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