PORT RICHEY — Fire Rescue officials shut down a stretch of U.S. 19 for about an hour Tuesday evening after a gas leak was reported at the Congo River miniature golf course, which is under construction.
The highway was closed in both directions shortly before 5 p.m. from Jasmine Boulevard to Coventry Drive. The Holiday Inn Express next door to the golf course also was evacuated.
By 6 p.m., the leak had been capped, traffic was moving and the hotel was back open, fire officials said.
NEW PORT RICHEY
Charge reduced in Chasco Fiesta slaying
The murder charge has been reduced against the man accused of gunning down another man during a melee at Chasco Fiesta.
Max Wesley Horn Jr. was originally arrested on a charge of first-degree murder after the March 30 shooting of 34-year-old Joe Martell, but prosecutors reduced the charge to second-degree murder last month.
First-degree murder involves an intent to kill, while second-degree murder involves an intent to do harm with ill will or malice.
"After we took some more testimony from witnesses we felt it was a clear-cut case of murder two," said Assistant State Attorney Mike Halkitis.
Horn could still face up to life in prison, however.
His defense attorney, Keith Hammond, declined to comment.
Horn, 46, has pleaded not guilty to the newest charge.
Deputy subdues man in attack
A man being arrested Monday on a vehicle theft charge attacked a sheriff's detective, officials said, and wound up with another charge: battery on a law enforcement officer.
Jeffrey Edward Hollister, 26, cursed at Detective T.J. Dougherty Jr., his arrest report says, and grabbed him around the neck and squeezed.
Dougherty eventually subdued Hollister by striking his arms and putting him in a headlock. He didn't use his Taser or firearm.
"Fortunately this individual was apprehended and the detective wasn't injured," sheriff's spokesman Doug Tobin said.
Hollister, of 4310 Lobo Lane, is also charged with three counts each of auto burglary and grand theft. He was being held Tuesday in the county jail in Land O'Lakes in lieu of $40,000 bail.
Cameras catch use of stolen credit cards
Two men robbed a woman as she walked out of a U.S. 19 gas station, the Sheriff's Office said, and minutes later a Wal-Mart security camera caught images of two other people trying to use her credit cards. Sheriff's officials think the four people were working together in the April 13 incident.
The robbery happened about 10:40 p.m. at the RaceTrac station at 4431 U.S. 19, near Trouble Creek Road. A 47-year-old woman was dragged across the sidewalk as she tried to keep the two men from getting away with her purse.
These surveillance images, of a man and woman, were captured less than an hour later at the Wal-Mart Supercenter at U.S. 19 and Ridge Road. Anyone with information on the robbery or the people in the pictures is asked to call Detective Jim Gariepy toll-free at 1-800-854-2862, ext. 7279.