Wednesday, January 17, 2018
Public safety

After arrest, Lake County man sues Pasco sheriff

NEW PORT RICHEY — A Lake County man has filed a federal lawsuit against the Pasco County Sheriff's Office, saying he was arrested on driving under the influence charges for no reason.

The complaint filed Tuesday in federal court alleges that Cornelius Caldwell was driving through Dade City at 6:04 a.m. on April 7, 2013, and "exhibited no manifestations of alcohol or drug impairment" when he was pulled over by Deputy Gene Smith.

During the exchange with the deputy, Caldwell had no "physiological signs of impairment," the complaint states.

The complaint, filed by Orlando lawyer Jacob Stuart, says Caldwell passed all the deputy's field-sobriety tests and complied with Breathalyzer tests, which showed he had a 0.00 blood-alcohol level. Still, he was jailed, where he suffered, among other things, "physical inconvenience," "embarrassment" and "injury to his feelings."

For this, Caldwell is seeking $75,000 in damages.

Smith's report from Caldwell's arrest offers a different story.

Caldwell was pulled over for going 65 mph in a 55 mph zone, according to the report. His tag light also was out.

Caldwell said he was coming back from a friend's house where he'd had "a few drinks." He "performed poorly" on field sobriety tests, the report states, and showed "numerous signs of impairment," Smith wrote, including dilated pupils that did not react to light.

Initially, Caldwell refused a breath test, but after being read an implied consent warning, he relented. He was detained. Then, when he took the breath test at the Land O'Lakes jail, he did indeed have a 0.00 blood-alcohol level.

The deputy asked him to take a urine test, and Caldwell again consented. The deputy caught him trying to fill the sample cup with toilet water.

Caldwell gave a valid sample on his second try. The results of the test are not listed in the report.

The deputy wrote Caldwell a warning for speeding and the busted tag light and turned him over to booking staff. He was released at 2:26 p.m. on his own recognizance.

Court records show that Caldwell was charged with DUI and had several pretrial hearings last year, but nothing has happened in the case since.

A spokesman for the Sheriff's Office declined to comment on the lawsuit.

Comments
‘All I see is fire’: 911 calls released from Florida casino boat fire

‘All I see is fire’: 911 calls released from Florida casino boat fire

PORT RICHEY — The first call came into emergency dispatch at 4 p.m. on Sunday from shore, reporting a ‘giant’ boat on fire in the Pithlachascotee River."It’s urgent," the caller said.Others followed quickly, one woman crying as she described from her...
Updated: 2 hours ago
Gibsonton man faces 50 counts of child porn

Gibsonton man faces 50 counts of child porn

GIBSONTON — A 46-year-old man was arrested Wednesday by Florida Department of Law Enforcement agents on 50 counts of possession of child pornography and one count of promoting a sexual performance by a child.Authorities said they received several tip...
Updated: 5 hours ago

He still has nightmares: Deckhand recalls prior casino boat fire

Cory Byrd said he still has nightmares about the smoke. In them, he is back in the cabin of the Express Shuttle II, scrambling to reach the white rectangle of an open door. The smoke was so thick, he said, you could barely see an outstretched hand. ...
Updated: 5 hours ago
Pinellas sheriff, feds announce changes to controversial immigrant detention policy

Pinellas sheriff, feds announce changes to controversial immigrant detention policy

LARGO — For years, county sheriffs in the United States have faced a quandary when asked by federal officials to hold undocumented immigrants in their local jails. They could continue to hold them for up to two days past the time they were legally fr...
Updated: 6 hours ago
McDonald’s manager gets ovation at Seminole Heights investigation ceremony

McDonald’s manager gets ovation at Seminole Heights investigation ceremony

TAMPA — Delanda Walker, the McDonald’s employee who gave police the tip that led to an arrest in the Seminole Heights slayings, received a standing ovation Wednesday during a ceremony thanking citizens who helped in the investigation.Mayor Bob Buckho...
Updated: 7 hours ago
Casino company set to sail again Thursday after deadly boat fire

Casino company set to sail again Thursday after deadly boat fire

PORT RICHEY — Tropical Breeze Casino Cruz said it plans to reopen on Thursday and resume shuttling passengers back out to its gambling vessel in the Gulf of Mexico three days after a boat fire forced 50 passengers and crew to abandon ship.The 72-foot...
Updated: 7 hours ago
Man robbed while responding to Craigslist sex ad

Man robbed while responding to Craigslist sex ad

HOLIDAY — A man responding to a Craiglist ad for sex was instead robbed by the boyfriend of the woman he was meeting, sheriff’s deputies said. Robert Roser, 39, of Holiday claimed he was part of a police sting operation before taking $60 and two blue...
Updated: 10 hours ago

Teen, 14, arrested on charges of bringing loaded gun to Plant City High School

PLANT CITY — A 14-year-old high school student was accused of bringing a loaded gun to campus on Tuesday, according to the Hillsborough County Sheriff’s Office.Deputies arrested the boy after 3 p.m. at Plant City High School after administrators foun...
Updated: 11 hours ago

Plant City family attacked, robbed during early-morning home invasion

PLANT CITY — A 63-year-old woman was unloading items from her car when two men forced her into home at gun-point and threatened to kill her and her family, according to Plant City police. The woman arrived to her home on the 2700 block of Barrett Ave...
Published: 01/17/18
Deputies release name of homicide victim in Tampa’s Grant Park neighborhood

Deputies release name of homicide victim in Tampa’s Grant Park neighborhood

Hillsborough County deputies are conducting a homicide investigation after a man was found dead in the Grant Park area of Tampa late Tuesday or early Wednesday morning.Deputies say 22-year-old Elijah Moore’s was found in the 3700 block of Carroway St...
Published: 01/17/18