Humane Society’s mobile veterinary unit recovered, but damaged
ORANGE PARK – The mobile veterinary clinic that was stolen May 31 was recovered by the Clay County Sheriff’s Office, but it was returned with heavy damage.
"Fortunately, our mobile unit was recovered, but not without some fairly significant damage," said Clay Humane Executive Director Lidna Welzant. "We are hopeful that it can be repaired in a timely manner so that we may continue to meet the demands of our busy veterinary clinic. The loss of this unit, on the heels of the COVID crisis and in the midst of hurricane season, could prove to be a substantial setback.”
Cameras recorded the robbery and helped provide detectives with leads.
The unit, which was purchased last year, largely, with contributions from the community, was redesigned as a full-function mobile triage and treatment center. It was intended to fulfill Clay Humane's long time goal of having an additional resource to face the growing need for affordable veterinary care and to serve as an emergency response unit in times of disaster or emergency.
The Humane Society vowed to press on despite the setback.
“We are, however, committed to being available for our clients and the animals in need in our community regardless of the challenges we must endure,” Welzant said.
Man caught hiding in palmetto bushes after brief car chase
FLEMING ISLAND – A man was caught hiding in palmetto bushes on the East-West Parkway after running from Clay County Sheriff’s Office deputies, after they were alerted he was driving a stolen car.
Roy Henry Forster III, of Fleming Island, was charged with grand theft auto, possession of marijuana, resisting arrest, attempting to flee and elude the police who were using their sirens and flashing lights and driving with a suspended license on June 5.
Deputies were tipped by a traffic camera that Forster’s car or license tag was reported stolen while he was near U.S. Highway 17 and Wells Road. They followed him to County Road 220 to the IHOP where they approached his car. He refused to roll down his windows and eventually sped away on U.S. 17. He then turned onto Thunderbolt Park, which is a dead end, and attempted to escape by running into a thicket. After another brief struggle, he was taken into custody.
The car was reported stolen a day earlier.
Man caught with drugs after hiding behind umbrella in garage
FLEMING ISLAND – Deputies found a man who was pulling a stolen trailer hiding in a garage behind an umbrella on June 4 and found cocaine, methamphetamine and heroin.
James David Pearson, 48, of Jacksonville, was also was charged with driving with a suspended license and burglary.
According to the Clay County Sheriff’s Office, an off-duty deputy with the Baker County Sheriff’s Office was driving on U.S. Highway 17 when Pearson nearly drove him off the road with his truck and trailer. The Baker deputy met with a Clay County deputy and searched the area where the truck was found parked. Pearson was found hiding in his mother’s garage.
Deputy revives woman, arrest her for drug possession
ORANGE PARK – A woman found passed out in a car in the parking lot of a shopping center on Wells Road was later arrested for possession of methamphetamine, heroin, amphetamines, drug paraphernalia.
Shera Jean Gore, 42, of Fleming Island was taken to jail, but not before a Clay County Sheriff’s Office deputy performed a sternum rub to help her gain consciousness.
Woman charged with DUI after driving wrong way in Oakleaf
OAKLEAF – A woman driving in the wrong travel lanes along Plantation Oaks and Oakleaf Village boulevards was arrested and charged with DUI, but not before kicking a Clay County Sheriff’s Office deputy after she refused to submit to field sobriety test.
Charmaine Eliither Gumbodete, 37, of Orange Park, also was charged on June 7 with battery on a police officer and resisting arrest.
According to CCSO, a deputy noticed Gumbodete making a wide turn from Oakleaf Plantation Parkway to Plantation Oaks Boulevard. When he followed her, she swerved several times and drifted into oncoming lanes.
She was pulled over after she drove into the wrong lane of Oakleaf Village Parkway. After she refused to do a field sobriety test, she had to be restrained by two deputies after she resisted being handcuffed. During the scuffle, the deputy was kicked in his inner thigh three times.
Once at the Clay County Jail, Gumbodete refused to take a blood alcohol test, too.
Man becomes belligerent after walking away from crashing into fence
MIDDLEBURG – A Middleburg drunken man was caught walking away from an accident on Rosemary Street on June 6.
Joseph Allen Moore II, 27, was charged with DUI with property damage, driving with a suspended license and leaving the scene of an accident with property damage.
A caller described Moore after he backed his car into a fence.
Moore, who deputies said went into several profane tirades, refused to submit to a blood alcohol test at the Clay County Jail.
Homeless man walking in traffic charged with soliciting for donations
ORANGE PARK – A homeless man was arrested June 8 for obstructing traffic on Blanding Boulevard while asking drivers from money.
Howard Williams, 66, of Jacksonville, was charged with obstruction of public streets.
According to the Clay County Sheriff’s Office, Williams walked between cars at Blanding and Wells Road with a sign that read: “Help a Vet.”
CCSO: Bears seen along Raggedy Point Road on Fleming Island
FLEMING ISLAND – The Clay County Sheriff’s Office issued a warning to residents on Raggedy Point Road of increased bear activity.
The agency said there have been several reports of bears in the 4300 block.
CCSO issued the following warning on its social media pages:
“Please secure your trash cans and anything that may attract a bear to your location. #FWC has been notified and will be responding to assist. Please do not approach or attempt to feed the bear.”