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Deputy escapes encounter with water moccasin

Snakes have no respect for the law.

Rookie Pasco sheriff's Deputy Kelly Schulze on Friday avoided a disastrous encounter with a snake by a fraction of an inch when a venomous water moccasin struck her right ankle, cutting the skin without going deep enough to inject poison.

According to the Sheriff's Office, Schulze was making a routine check on a resident at 7158 Magnolia Valley Drive about 9 a.m. Friday when she walked past a utility box on the ground and was struck by a snake.

She leaped to safety, but not before the snake's fangs ripped through her sock and grazed her skin, Lt. J.P. Jackson said Sunday.

A fellow deputy took Schulze to North Bay Hospital in New Port Richey where she was able to identify the snake from a chart. She was held under observation for six hours and released after showing no ill effects.

Jackson said the incident was extremely rare for a sheriff's deputy, but warned that spring is the season when a number of dangerous Florida animals emerge from winter hiding and begin moving around.

Sgt. Ray Stanley said water moccasins are widely regarded as among the more aggressive species of snakes.

Anyone who finds a snake they are unfamiliar with should steer clear of the animal and report it to law enforcement.

"Don't try to identify it or pick it up," Stanley said.

Two deputies injured

in altercation at jail

LAND O'LAKES _ A scuffle between a Pasco County jail deputy and inmates last week left two officers with minor injuries and a federal inmate facing an additional charge.

According to a Sheriff's Office report, federal inmate Joseph J. McBride, 39, became displeased with his situation while standing in the dinner line shortly after 4 p.m. Friday and began complaining.

Deputy Phillip Barsanti, 22, told investigators he ordered McBride to be quiet, and when he wouldn't stop complaining, he ordered him out of the area. Barsanti said McBride balked at the order, then took a step toward him.

Barsanti said he fired a blast of pepper spray at McBride and the inmate attacked him, knocking him to the ground and knocking the pepper spray from his hand.

As the two struggled, Barsanti said other inmates began kicking him, and as Deputy Timothy Wilcox, 27, tried to break up the scuffle, another inmate picked up the pepper spray and sprayed Wilcox with it.

A third deputy, Loni Taylor, 30, helped break up the fight, and McBride was taken to a booking area where he was charged with battery on a detention deputy.

The investigation into which inmate sprayed the pepper spray and if other inmates participated in the scuffle is scheduled to continue today.

Barsanti suffered scrapes and cuts, a bloody nose and a back injury. Wilcox suffered a bruised shoulder.

McBride is a federal inmate being held in the Pasco County jail under a contract with the government. A description of his federal charges was not available Sunday. He suffered a bloody nose during the scuffle. He remained at the jail Sunday on the federal charges and the added charge of battery on a jail official with an additional bail of $10,000.

Motorist faces charge

of damaging golf course

NEW PORT RICHEY _ A local teenager who told investigators he just wanted to have some fun was arrested Saturday morning after witnesses reported seeing him driving through a golf course in his car.

According to Pasco County sheriff's deputies, Christopher John Childers, 19, was arrested about 5:30 a.m. after leading deputies on a low-speed chase with a flat tire.

Authorities said a witness reported someone was driving on the Magnolia Valley Golf Course, tearing up the course and doing doughnuts.

Deputy Steven Sickles spotted a car meeting the description driving along Raintree Drive with a flat rear tire with Childers driving. Sickles pursued Childers at about 2 mph until Childers stopped, reports state.

Childers refused to take a blood alcohol test but admitted to tearing up the 16th fairway at the golf course "because he was just trying to have some fun," Sickles reported.

Childers was charged with criminal mischief and released Sunday from the Pasco jail in Land O'Lakes on his own recognizance.

ATV accident leaves

two riders in hospital

HUDSON _ Two people remained hospitalized Sunday after they were thrown from an all-terrain vehicle in a Friday night crash.

According to the Florida Highway Patrol, Charles Dale Lemons, 17, was driving a four-wheeler south on Delmar Drive about 7:20 p.m. Friday without headlights and was speeding when a vehicle driven by Brian Ford, 43, of Hudson, turned left into Lemons' path.

Lemons and his passenger, Lacy Marie Bark, 22, of Hudson, were throw from the four-wheeler.

Bark was listed Sunday in critical condition at Bayfront Medical Center, St. Petersburg, meaning her vital signs remained unstable and not within normal limits.

Lemons was at the same hospital Sunday in serious condition, a condition that is slightly better than critical although his vital signs are still unstable.

The FHP reported charges may be filed in the crash.