Our coronavirus coverage is free for the first 24 hours. Find the latest information at Please consider subscribing or donating.

  1. Archive

Woman, 22, dies from accident injuries

A 22-year-old woman involved Tuesday in a two-vehicle wreck died as a result of her injuries, Florida Highway Patrol troopers said.

Jodi Arnelle Reese of New Port Richey was flown to Bayfront Medical Center in St. Petersburg and was pronounced dead, troopers said Wednesday.

They said she was driving north on Celtic Drive shortly before 5 p.m. At State Road 54 she pulled her Chevrolet in front of an eastbound sport utility vehicle driven by Brian Lynn, 41, of Land O'Lakes, troopers said. The Dodge Durango and her Chevrolet collided.

Reese was not wearing a seat belt, troopers said. Lynn was not injured.

MADD honors deputies

for making DUI arrests

Eight Pasco County sheriff's deputies were honored last month by Mothers Against Drunk Driving for each making more than 100 drunken-driving arrests last year.

That's double the number of Pasco deputies honored at the same ceremony last year.

The Sheriff's Office released information about their honors Wednesday. Sheriff's Office arrests for driving under the influence had fallen gradually since 1994 _ until last year.

At the Feb. 25 ceremony in Tallahassee, MADD honored Deputy Timothy Harris (131 arrests), Deputy Bennie Barrington (126 arrests), Deputy George Winton (125 arrests), Cpl. Denton Steele (113 arrests), Deputy Matthew Denney (106 arrests), Deputy Ted Clegg (104 arrests), Deputy John Watson (102 arrests) and Deputy Michael Molasso (102 arrests).

Peeved customer jailed

for brandishing weapon

HUDSON _ Rocky Racitano wasn't happy with the service at A-1 Appliances.

So on Tuesday afternoon he walked in the store with a .38 Special Smith & Wesson handgun, Pasco County sheriff's deputies said.

The company's secretary said he pointed the gun at her and said, "I'm 70 years old and you are not taking advantage of me," according to a deputy report.

"I'm still shook up over the whole thing," secretary Mary Kaufmann told the Times on Wednesday. "We bent over backwards to try to satisfy this man and to make him happy."

Racitano, of 7501 Gulfbreeze Circle in Hudson, was arrested and faces a charge of aggravated assault, deputies said. He was being held Wednesday at the county jail in Land O'Lakes in lieu of $5,000 bail.

According to the report, Kaufmann said Racitano bought a refrigerator last month. It broke, she said, and the company replaced it.

On Tuesday, Racitano _ who actually is 68 _ was arguing over the warranty and Kaufmann was the only person at the store at 13919 U.S. 19, the report said.

Boy, 13, held in pot,

heroin possession case

NEW PORT RICHEY _ A 13-year-old boy was arrested Tuesday morning and faces charges of possession of heroin and marijuana, police said.

The boy, who is not being named by the Times because of his age, was walking in the back yard of a house on Allamanda Drive in New Port Richey about 10:15 a.m., New Port Richey police said.

Someone called the police to report a suspicious person, according to a police report. When the boy saw the officer approaching, he threw a screwdriver and a film container out of his pocket, the report said. The heroin and marijuana were inside the container, the report said, although it did not give quantities.

The boy told officers that he was returning the screwdriver to a friend. Officers said there were fresh pry marks on the door at the house on Allamanda Drive.

The boy also faces charges of loitering and prowling and possession of burglary tools, officers said.

Deputies investigate

purse-snatching report

HUDSON _ A 79-year-old woman told deputies that someone grabbed her by the throat and snatched her purse Monday night in the parking lot at Hudson Bowl, 14523 U.S. 19.

According to a deputy's report, the woman said she was walking to her car about 8:10 p.m. when a man came from behind her, grabbed her throat and took her purse. She said she was carrying her bowling ball in her right hand and her purse was resting on her right forearm.

She said the man ran to a car and drove away, the report said.

Deputies were investigating Wednesday.

Up next:Lotto