This is Marcia Lane, your roving reporter.
A 44-year-old Palatka man faces a variety of charges after an hours-long hostage standoff Saturday in Green Cove Springs. Lancy Keenon is accused of holding a woman at gunpoint for more than four hours inside a bathroom at the Speedway gas station at U.S. 17 and State Road 16. According to a store clerk, the incident began when a man and woman started arguing outside and then went into the bathroom. Green Cove Springs Police Department, Clay County Sheriff’s Office and SWAT were called to the scene a little after 7 p.m., just as the annual Christmas parade downtown was breaking up. Hostage negotiations began with Keenon, with deputies closing off portions of the roads around the station. According to one report, a member of the SWAT team came face-to-face with Keenon and fired. Keenon was taken to the hospital when he remained Sunday. He is charged with armed kidnapping, aggravated assault with a deadly weapon and aggravated assault with intent to commit a felony. The woman hostage was not injured. It’s not clear whether people at the parade understood the hostage situation was occurring when law enforcement headed through town rapidly as the parade broke up. Some complained on Facebook about seeing guns. Green Cove Springs Police are in charge of the hostage investigation while the Florida Department of Law Enforcement has been called in because of the officer-involved shooting. U.S. 17 was one of the roads closed off and it wasn’t reopened until around midnight.
While Christmas parades in Interlachen and Crescent City were happy events, the Holiday Parade of Flagler Beach was cut short Saturday afternoon after an antique car in the parade caught fire. Occupants of the car were able to make a safe escape, but the vehicle was engulfed in flames. The car was reportedly a replica of a 1930s Jaguar. Oil was seen leaking from the car as it drove down SR A1A. More than 50 entries were in this year’s parade with one of the entries — the Fire Department — moving up as firefighters headed to put out the fire.
A St. Johns County Sheriff’s Office deputy struck by a car during a traffic stop Friday is out of the hospital and recovering at home, according to the Sheriff’s Office. The deputy was standing on the passenger side of a stopped vehicle on U.S. 1 in Ponte Vedra Beach when another driver struck the stopped car. According to the Sheriff’s Office the driver was traveling at a high rate of speed on U.S. 1 when the crash occurred near Valley Ridge Boulevard. The deputy was knocked some distance by the crash. Occupants of the stopped vehicle had non-life-threatening injuries and were taken to the hospital also.
A 35-year-old man driving a motorcycle was killed in a single-vehicle crash Saturday in Palatka, according to the Florida Highway Patrol. According to family members, the victim was Jeff Brown. He was headed east on Carole Road near South Palm Avenue around 9:30 p.m. when he lost control of the vehicle and it went onto its side. Reportedly a tire on the vehicle blew. The motorcycle and driver slid through the intersection at Palm and Carol, hitting a fence before ending up in a yard. FHP said the driver was not wearing a helmet.
An autopsy is pending in the death of a man who was diving to retrieve golf balls in Ponte Vedra Beach Friday in St. Johns County. The Sheriff’s Office reports the man had been retrieving golf balls out of a golf course pond and then didn’t resurface. St. Johns Fire Rescue responded and pronounced the victim dead at the scene. He was not identified and cause of death has not been confirmed.
If you missed out on the St. Johns County Sheriff’s Office toy and gift drive Saturday, you can still help out today. Donations are being accepted today at the four field offices. That includes the Northeast Field Office in Ponte Vedra Beach on A1A, the Northwest Field Office on Flora Branch Boulevard, the Central Office on Lewis Speedway in St. Augustine and the South Field Office at 3370 U.S. 1 South