It was an elaborate fraud scheme surrounding prescription drug trade, thousands of dollars and piles of guns, but Pasco sheriff's deputies were most disturbed that Mark Eisenberg brought along small children to his deals with drug addicts.
Eisenberg's scheme, detailed in a news conference Tuesday by Pasco Sheriff Chris Nocco and detectives, was to drive addicts to doctor's offices in Tampa where they were prescribed pills. Eisenberg, 55, would pay for the doctors appointments in exchange for a majority cut of the pills....
07/28/14 Public Safety
NEW PORT RICHEY — Pasco-Hernando State College on July 17 fired its police academy's instructor coordinator whose complaints launched a recent Florida Department of Law Enforcement investigation.
Patricia Maxwell began working at the college in March, hired on the same day as the new academy director, Charlie May. Her relationship with her co-workers quickly soured.
Maxwell detailed some of her grievances in an email last month to PHSC president Katherine Johnson....
DADE CITY — On Friday morning, three years later, Ryan Dougherty apologized for spraying a pursuing police car with bullets.
It was the first stop on Dougherty's and his siblings' cross-country crime rampage and quick rise to infamy in 2011, when he and sister Lee Grace and brother Dylan were labeled "the Dougherty gang."
The rampage started as an escape plan to Mexico when Ryan violated his probation for "sexting" an 11-year-old girl....
LAND O'LAKES — A man confined to his jail cell for 23 hours a day committed an elaborate fraud scheme over several months, deputies say, during his only hour of free time.
Brian Michael Chipman, 30, was put in protective custody some time after his first arrest in January on 26 fraud-related charges. From then through July 17, while he was allowed just one hour a day to mingle in the jail's general population, he would go into other inmates' cells and collect their personal information, a Pasco Sheriff's Office report states....
HUDSON — When everything stopped, Debra Boyd got out of her car and ran to the crushed Ford Taurus.
She saw Vilma Miller, 87, slumped over her husband's chest. Boyd knew the woman had already died. Lee Miller, also 87, looked at Boyd from the driver's seat.
"If you need to go," Boyd remembers telling him, "close your eyes and go be with your wife."
Then, his breathing stopped....
07/22/14 Public Safety
HUDSON — A Sheriff's Office report from last year foreshadows what detectives are calling a murder-suicide Monday night in Hudson.
Rhonda Patterson and her boyfriend Robert Clark went out for beers and shared two small bottles of sake the evening of May 15, 2013, according to the report.
Patterson and Clark argued when they got back to her home at 6601 Clark St,, she told deputies. Clark loaded his belongings into a car during the early-morning hours while Patterson told him to go away....
07/21/14 Public Safety
It's Monday morning, and Pasco County sheriff's Capt. James Steffens is standing at the head of an auditorium in front of two rows of squirming children, trying to strike a balance.
He knows that the children of the Boys and Girls Club have been told they'll get to see SWAT gear and guns and badges and handcuffs. He's already sold them on that part of the demonstration. But first, he wants to explain that there are two paths in life: right decisions and wrong decisions. This job has made him familiar with the effects of both....
07/18/14 Public Safety
NEW PORT RICHEY — The Florida Department of Law Enforcement responded Friday to Pasco-Hernando State College's investigation of problems at its law enforcement academy, saying "there appear to be no sustained instructor violations that would require further action."
Last month, academy instructor Patricia Maxwell raised concerns, complaining that instructors were "routinely" absent from classes. She also said the student guide for the academy was being used without approval by the college, questions were removed from tests to pass students who otherwise would have failed and shotgun firearms qualifications were being incorrectly scored....
NEW PORT RICHEY
The carnage Eric Brethen saw more than 40 years ago from his helicopter cockpit over the Vietnam jungle never left him.
Even on the morning of his 65th birthday, as he spoke in front of about 50 other veterans and their families, he could still recall the vivid details.
The way he'd internalized the human suffering made the rest of his life harder, he said. He feared crowds and failure. He hated himself for the deaths of his men. He never let anyone get close....
DADE CITY — Linda Hiracheta's attention bounced back and forth Thursday evening between her cellphone and the courthouse's automatic glass doors.
She dialed, then switched to speakerphone.
Her Spanish flowed rapid fire into the receiver about her son, Carlos Perez. One word, she repeated: libre, which means "free."
After a year and two months in jail, here at the end of his first-degree murder trial, that's what he was: free....
07/14/14 Public Safety
HUDSON — On Sunday night, Terry Edwards' family was home watching TV when they noticed flashing emergency lights out the front window. The commotion on Hudson Avenue made it hard for Edwards' daughter Rebecca Miller to tell what was happening, but she could see her father's truck parked at the scene, its engine idling.
Rescue workers first told her that Edwards, 72, had been an onlooker in the crash. She tried his phone but got nothing. That's when she knew what happened....
07/02/14 Public Safety
NEW PORT RICHEY — A whistle-blower at Pasco-Hernando State College's law enforcement academy brought allegations last month that include questions being removed from tests, which allowed failing students to pass.
The academy has been the target of criticism for the better part of a year now — mostly from the Pasco County Sheriff's Office. This is the first time someone inside the academy has raised concerns about the quality of instruction and other issues....
PORT RICHEY — A woman was arrested Saturday after, deputies say, she left her two young children in her car while she went shopping at the Todd Adult Superstore.
About 9:30 p.m., a passerby saw the children and waited by the car for 20 minutes before calling deputies, a Pasco sheriff's report states.
Deputies arrived and found the children, ages 1 and 3, in the car. The doors were locked and the engine was left running. Inside the store, at 10831 U.S. 19, they found Ke'ala O Kea Kua Morgan Crocker, 22, who said she was helping a friend shop....
06/23/14 Public Safety
LUTZ — Early Monday, a neighbor watched as Brandon Machetto looked around outside his grandmother's home, appearing to make sure the coast was clear. Then Machetto began to drag something to his grandmother's minivan. The object was wrapped, but the neighbor saw feet dangling from the end and called authorities.
Hours later, Machetto, 18, was in custody, accused of killing his grandmother, Sylvia Rosalie Schmitt, 74. Her body was found in her gold Honda Odyssey, Pasco County authorities said, and there was blood, along with signs of a struggle, in her house in Paradise Lakes....
HUDSON — Bryan Joachinson checked into a behavioral health center so something like this wouldn't happen.
He says he made decent grades at Hudson High School where he played as a defensive lineman on the varsity team. He graduated in 2011 and moved on to Pasco-Hernando State College. There were some flareups with his mental health along the way. He'd gotten them under control.
By April last year, he was 19 and on the final semester toward an associate's degree on a Bright Futures scholarship. But an ill-advised mushroom binge would be his derailment....