A man was arrested Friday on a charge that he lit a three-story Clearwater Beach condo where he lives on fire. Investigators quickly determined that the Dec. 30 fire at 171 Marina Del Ray Court in Clearwater was suspicious. A State Fire Marshal's Office investigation concluded that large amounts of a flammable liquid was spread through the unit. Gerald W. Parks, 60, was arrested about 6 p.m. Friday on an arson charge in connection with the blaze. An arrest report states that other condos in the building were occupied at the time the fire was set. The investigation suggested Parks escaped the fire by jumping from a second-story balcony. Emergency workers noted the smell of gasoline on his clothing.
Band teacher quits in wake of charges
Facing the near certainty of termination, not to mention criminal charges of unlawful sexual activity with a minor, Nature Coast Technical High School band director Tim Brightbill has resigned. Brightbill, 42, was arrested Dec. 31 after being found atop a 17-year-old female student, according to police reports. The girl's mother discovered them at her home wearing only underwear, and Brightbill subsequently confessed to engaging in sex acts with her that day and on one previous occasion, police said.
Men's fence feud spills into fistfight
A 62-year-old man was jailed Thursday morning after a fence dispute with his 83-year-old neighbor. Lawrence Turner and John Humbach, who live next to each other on Mark Twain Lane, have had an ongoing feud. Turner, according to a Pasco Sheriff's Office report, has a security camera mounted on his house facing Humbach's property. So Thursday morning, Humbach was constructing a stockade fence to block the camera. Turner came out of his house yelling, the report says, then climbed over the fence and tackled Humbach. Turner said the security camera is a fake intended to antagonize Humbach. Turner has been released from the Land O'Lakes jail.
NEW PORT RICHEY
Woman registers 0.3 in DUI arrest
A 28-year-old woman arrested on drunken driving charges early Thursday registered a blood-alcohol level of more than 0.3, about four times the level a driver is presumed impaired. For Jennifer Marie Johnston, who is 5 feet 6 and 115 pounds, that's the equivalent of 12 beers consumed over three hours. She was pulled over at U.S. 19 and State Road 54 about 2 a.m. after a Pasco County deputy clocked her driving 70 mph in 45 mph zone. Johnston took two Breathalyzer tests, with results of 0.33 and 0.319. Florida law presumes a driver impaired at 0.08.