This is Marcia Lane, your roving reporter.
A 26-year-old Florida man has died after apparently drowning at Crescent Beach Saturday. St. Johns County Sheriff’s Office reports Andrew Miller of Chiefland was swimming in the Atlantic Ocean when his wife lost sight of him. She contacted a deputy at the beach and they began looking for Miller, finding him as two people were pulling him out of the water near the Crescent Beach ramp. CPR was begun and first responders took the man to Flagler Hospital, where he later died. An autopsy is scheduled. Miller survived a motorcycle crash in 2017 and after therapy regained his ability to walk and talk. By 2018 he’d recovered enough to take part in a Gate River Run event. Rip tides were reported all along the coast over the weekend.
Lifeguards are scheduled to begin summer day at area beaches, most beginning this Memorial Day weekend. For those going to the beaches a reminder to pay attention to flags that indicate water conditions. Green flags mean calm currents. Yellow indicates slightly more dangerous conditions but safe for people in the water. Red flags mean high surf and/or strong currents. Two red flags mean stay out of the water.
Three new coronavirus cases have been reported in Putnam County, bringing the total count to 134. Latest cases are a 27-year-old Melrose man, 59-year-old Melrose woman and 48-year-old Interlachen woman. None were travel-related, all had contact with a confirmed case. Flagler County went up by four cases to 160 and St. Johns County went up one case to 232.
A 14-year-old girl out for a joyride early Monday morning now faces a felony charge after fleeing law enforcement in Flagler County. According to the Flagler County Sheriff’s Office, around 3 a.m. a deputy tried to pull over a black Jeep Wrangler on Belle Terre Parkway because of a partially obscured tag. When the deputy turned on his emergency light, the vehicle sped up through residential neighborhoods. The deputy turned off his emergency lights but followed until the Jeep was disabled with stop sticks on Pine Grove Drive. The driver turned out to be 14 and her passenger was a 15-year-old boy. The Jeep belonged to his parents. The girl was arrested on a misdemeanor charge of operating a vehicle without a Florida driver’s license and a felony charge of fleeing and eluding law enforcement. Both teens have been released from custody. “Parents need to be aware of what their kids are doing all the time. This time the parents only have to buy a new tire but trying to evade law enforcement is dangerous to everyone involved,” said Sheriff Rick Staly.
Putnam County Sheriff’s Office this morning reported they are seeking an individual in the Interlachen area who has reportedly threatened self harm. The man sought is white with a long beard and hair and wearing brown pants and a black shirt. He may have a firearm and people are advised to call 911 and not try to engage him.
Tony Benford, vice principal at Moseley Elementary School, is stepping up to be principal, according to Rick Surrency, Putnam County School Superintendent. The move comes after principal Sarajean McDaniel was moved to an administrative post at the school district office. McDaniel, Putnam’s 2020 principal of the year, was just named top principal of the year for the state. Benford is Putnam’s 2020 assistant principal of the year.
Two missing teenagers from Putnam County have been located and are safe, according to the Putnam County Sheriff’ Office. The office had put out a request for help to find Elizabeth Bradshaw, 15, of Interlachen, and Mikayla Galloway, 14, of Putnam Hall, who were reported missing since May 16.
St. Johns County schools are using a virtual format for graduation exercises for their eight high schools. However, high schools do have the option to hold celebrations, according to the district. St. Augustine High School has opted for an in-person graduation ceremony on June 17. The decision comes after consulting with students, faculty, parents and administrators. Graduates are allowed to have four family members with them at the school stadium. Social distancing will be practiced.