Columbia County children found safe, parents facing charges after Amber Alert issued
After a Florida Amber Alert was issued Wednesday evening for two children last seen in Lake City, authorities announced Thursday that the children had been found safe and their biological parents had been taken into custody.
State opens drive-thru Johnson & Johnson vaccine site in Lake City
Ron DeSantis was in Lake City on Thursday morning to announce another new drive-thru vaccine site. The site, located at the Southside Sports Complex on SW Bascom Norris Drive, will administer 1,000 doses of the one-shot Johnson & Johnson vaccine, DeSantis said. “Basically this is part of our effort to surge vaccines to areas that are performing a little bit below the state average in terms of senior coverage,” DeSantis said. But rural counties in Florida tend to be below the state average, he added. Previously, just 12 Walgreens stores in the state were offering the vaccine, but that will now expand to 97.
3 arrested, 1 wanted in heavy equipment theft operation
From left to right: Robert Sanders, Matthew Yopp, Tony Richards and Joshua ReddThree men were arrested and another man is wanted in a theft operation that involved stealing and selling heavy equipment across North Florida and South Georgia, according to the Suwannee County Sheriff’s Office. The Sheriff’s Office said Yopp and Redd stole numerous trailers and pieces of heavy equipment across North Florida and South Georgia. A fourth man, Tony Richards, 40, of Lake City, used his construction business to sell the stolen equipment, according to the Sheriff’s Office. When the Sheriff’s Office found out the thefts spanned multiple states, it contacted the FBI. The investigation is ongoing by all agencies involved, including the Columbia County Sheriff’s Office and Live Oak Police Department.
4 Northeast Florida men among 12 arrested in Marion County child sex sting
Four Northeast Florida men were among 12 arrested in a child sex sting out of Marion County, authorities said. According to the Marion County Sheriff’s Office, the 12 men talked online with who they thought were children but were actually undercover detectives. Investigators said eight men traveled to a location in Marion County to have sex with the child they thought they had been messaging online, but when they arrived, they were actually met by law enforcement officers and arrested. During a news conference Monday, Marion County Sheriff Billy Woods issued a stern warning to parents and also people who prey on children. Lonny Blankenship, 51, of Lake City, was arrested in Marion County on charges of traveling to meet after using a computer to lure a child, using a computer to seduce/solicit/lure a child and using a two-way communication device to facilitate a felony.
VA to begin vaccinating vets under 65 with high-risk conditions, essential workers
Donna Garlitz lives in Jacksonville but was in Lake City on Thursday to get her first shot of the vaccine. The VA’s Health Service will also vaccinate high-risk veterans who are homeless, hemodialysis patients, solid organ transplant patients or patients enlisted for transplant, and chemotherapy patients of any age. It will also vaccinate veterans employed as essential workers (firefighters, police officers, corrections officers, food and agricultural workers, Postal Service workers, manufacturing workers, grocery store workers, public transit workers and those who work in the educational sector (teachers, support staff and daycare workers) of any age. AdThe clinics will continue to vaccinate anyone in the VA system age 65 and above. AdAs supply increases and Veterans Health Service has filled the needs of veterans who meet the current criteria, additional groups of veterans will have the opportunity to schedule an appointment.
Reports of damage, hail as storm moves through Northeast Florida
The National Weather Service is investigating reports of damage and hail in the wake of Monday’s storms. Storm reports show emergency managers in Columbia County have reported possible tornado damage in two spots, both in Lake City. “I’m just glad it didn’t come up towards my house.”AdIn addition to the damage, there were multiple reports of hail. There were additional reports of hail in St. Johns County. Notably, there haven’t been any reports from the NWS about a tornado forming in St. Johns County on Monday afternoon.
Tornado watches expire for NE Fla., SE Ga.
The tornado watch remains in effect for the following counties through 10 p.m.:Northeast Florida:Baker, Clay, Duval, Flagler, Nassau, Putnam, St. Johns. The National Weather Service has issued a tornado warning for Columbia County through 4:45 p.m. The National Weather Service has issued a tornado warning for Columbia, Gilchrist, Suwannee counties through 4:15 p.m.🌪 Tornado warning issued for supercell moving into Suwannee county. UPDATE 2:37 p.m.: The National Weather Service has issued a tornado warning for Putnam County through 3:15 p.m. Here's a closer look at the area affect by the Tornado Warning just issued for Putnam county.
FHP: Lake City man dies when car hydroplanes, hits tree
A 68-year-old man was attempting to pass another vehicle on State Road 100 in Union County Tuesday morning when his car hit standing water and hydroplaned, according to the Florida Highway Patrol. The vehicle left the road and the driver’s side slammed into a tree. The Lake City man died at the scene, troopers said. A 64-year-old man riding in the car suffered minor injuries, according to a crash report. Troopers said both men were wearing seat belts.
Storms drop heaps of hail and rainfall in Northeast Florida
JACKSONVILLE, Fla. – Strong to severe thunderstorms are producing penny-sized hail covering lawns in Baker, Clay, Duval, and Nassau counties right now. Areas are seeing blinding downpours, resulting in reduced visibility and temporary flooding. — NAS Jacksonville (@NASJax_) February 9, 2021Behind the line of strong storms is more moderate to light rain, which will add insult to injury for areas already seeing flooding. We could see another .5-1 inch of rainfall within the back end of this round of showers. We’ll see a small break in the rain before the next round of showers and storms pushes through our area, where we may see similar rainfall rates in the strongest storms, but hail will be less of a possibility.
Security added at Columbia County schools after teen killed in double shooting
LAKE CITY, Fla. – Columbia County Schools announced Thursday that added security will be in place “for some of our schools” after the district consulted with the Sheriff’s Office following a deadly shooting of a Columbia High School student. Dionne Leslie, a 17-year-old sophomore at Columbia High, was killed and another juvenile was wounded in a shooting in a Lake City neighborhood. The district said the Sheriff’s Office does not believe the schools are in danger, but the security is being added as a precaution as the investigation continues. Clayton Hopkins (Provided by Columbia County Sheriff's Office)Deputies said they’re also seeking information about an ATV, which they say was being operated nearby at the time of the shooting. People can also submit an anonymous tip through Crime Stoppers of Columbia County.
Columbia County High teenager killed in double shooting
LAKE CITY, Fla. – A 17-year-old is dead and another juvenile was wounded in a shooting in a Lake City neighborhood. According to the Sheriff’s Office, deputies responded to a call of shots fired at about 5:05 p.m. in the area of Lochlynn Terrace and Putnam Street in Lake City. Steve Kachigan, public information officer for the Sheriff’s Office, told News4Jax that two juveniles were found shot near the intersection. The teen who died was identified by the Sheriff’s Office on Wednesday as Dionne Leslie, a sophomore at Columbia County High School. The Sheriff’s Office asked anyone with information to contact deputies by calling 386-719-2005 or by leaving an anonymous tip to Crime Stoppers at 386-754-7099.
Lake City man’s tongue swells during COVID-19 treatment
HOUSTON – A Houston doctor helped restore a Lake City man’s quality of life after he suffered from a rare condition while being treated for COVID-19, News4Jax sister station KPRC reported. Macroglossia, a medical term for an enlarged tongue, it is extremely rare and uncomfortable. Jones, who lives in Lake City, was hospitalized for three weeks because of the coronavirus. AdDuring that time, his tongue became enlarged, making it hard to talk or eat. Jones can now talk and eat again, though the pressure of the enlarged tongue forced him to remove four bottom teeth.
Man shot, killed at Lake City business
LAKE CITY, Fla. – The Columbia County Sheriff’s Office responded to a shooting at the Q-Time 777 casino on East Duval Street early Saturday morning to find a man dead with gunshot wounds. Detectives called to the scene to investigate say they don’t believe there is any active threat to the public. In a statement on Facebook, deputies said once they have collected more information and contacted next of kin they will release more detailsPUBLIC NOTICE: Units are currently on scene at the "Q-Time 777" casino located on East Duval Street near Cider Avenue... Posted by Columbia County Sheriff's Office on Saturday, January 30, 2021Anyone who may have information regarding the incident is encouraged to contact CCSO Dispatch at 386-719-2005.