At approximately 9 p.m. on May 28th, deputies responded to a call at 65 Goldenrod Circle in reference to an intoxicated person attacking a security guard. Upon arrival, law enforcement found a security guard covered in blood, kneeling down on the ground, holding down another male (who was later identified as Terry Hays, 39, of Lakeland, FL). According to deputies, Hays was “growling” and still combative. When a deputy on scene identified himself as law enforcement, Hays told the deputy he would kill him.
The security guard informed deputies he had been attacked by Hays after Hays became confrontational at a wedding taking place on property. Hays tried to leave in his vehicle but security tried to stop him since he was intoxicated. The verbal argument progressed into a physical confrontation in which the security guard was pushed and then charged at by the suspect. Hays took the keys to his vehicle and stabbed the security guard numerous times in the back of the head.
While deputies attempted to check on the status of the victim, Hays tried to get up. Deputies told Hays to stay on the ground. Hays continued to disobey the deputies by getting up and taking a swing at one of deputies. According to the deputy who was hit, Hays delivered a “glancing blow to the right temple and forehead”. The deputy was able to tase Hays and get him back down on the ground. Several deputies attempted to restrain Hays and calm him but he continued to fight and resist. Deputies warned Hays he would be tased again if he did not comply. Hays continued to resist and was tased again. He was handcuffed and placed into the back of a deputy’s car, only to kick one of the rear windows out. His legs were then restrained and he was transported to the Walton County Department of Corrections.
The security guard was transported to Sacred Heart hospital for treatment of his injuries.
Hays was charged with battery on a law enforcement officer, aggravated battery on a law enforcement officer, criminal mischief over $200 but less than $1000, resisting with violence, and disorderly conduct.
At approximately 6:05 p.m. on May 28, 2013, Chad Biernacki, a deputy with the Walton County Sheriff’s Office (WCSO) was patrolling the beach area southwest of Pompano Joe’s (Miramar Beach). The deputy came into contact with a group of underage drinkers and issued Notice to Appear (NTA) to the subjects. After clearing the scene, Deputy Biernacki got back into his patrol vehicle. He looked around his vehicle and saw no one in his immediate area so he put the vehicle into drive and began to move forward. He then began to turn the vehicle to the right to make a U-turn and travel in the other direction down the beach. Biernacki stated he felt “a slight bump” to his vehicle and heard a female curse. The deputy reported that at no time did anyone yell at him to stop or tried to flag him to let him know he was going to hit someone.
Deputy Biernacki exited the vehicle and found two females located on the front passenger side, one of which had a tire mark on her right shoulder. The deputy assessed her injuries and called for EMS. South Walton Fire Rescue arrived on scene and transported the pedestrian to Sacred Heart for treatment and observation. She is in stable condition at this time and she may be released today. According to information gathered, the victim had been asleep on the beach for over 20 minutes before the deputy got back in his vehicle and she did not wake up until the vehicle hit her.
Florida Highway Patrol (FHP) responded to the scene and worked the accident. Deputy Biernacki was found at fault. He is not on administrative leave at this time.
Deputies were dispatched to a call of a loud party at 99 Tang O Mar Drive, Miramar Beach, in the early morning hours of May 25th. Upon arrival, deputies saw between 150-200 people coming in and out of the home. Deputies also saw in plain view numerous alcoholic beverages.
As soon as law enforcement was spotted, the crowd began to quickly disperse. It was discovered a majority of those in the home for the party were underage. It was also learned during the investigation the kids at the party found out about it through Facebook and most of the alcohol was already present upon their arrival.
Deputies made contact with David J. Thomas, 30, who owns the home. He told deputies he threw the party for a 20 year old friend of his. The particular 20 year old was passed out and the smell of an alcoholic beverage was on him. South Walton Fire was called to the scene to check on the 20 year old.
Thomas was charged with a violation of Florida State Statute 856.015 (4), Open House Party.
The Emergency Management Bureau of the Walton County Sheriff’s Office (WCSO) participated in the Annual Statewide Hurricane/EOC Activation Exercise Wednesday, May 22nd at the Sheriff’s Office Emergency Operations Center in DeFuniak Springs. The annual exercise serves to practice Walton’s emergency plans and procedures for a potential hurricane making landfall in the panhandle, in preparation for the upcoming Atlantic Hurricane Season. Along with federal, state and private-sector partners, the Emergency Management Bureau simulated emergency response efforts to manage an evolving hurricane scenario. “I was very pleased by the representation and cooperation of the various Emergency Service Function participants. Every one worked together toward the common goal of preparing our community for potential storm impact,” said Major Joe Preston, Director of Emergency Management.
The 2013 Statewide Hurricane Exercise scenario centered on the potential landfall of two fictitious storms, Hurricane Kirk and Hurricane Lay. Hurricane Lay, named in honor of the late Brevard County Emergency Management Director Bob Lay, made landfall directly in Walton County.
As part of this year’s exercise, the Florida Department of Health deployed a Forward Operating Base and Healthcare Facility Assessment Team to Walton County. This was the first ever deployment of these two assets and their participation was deemed a huge success. “Working with our state partners to deploy these new resources helps to ensure that Walton County will be able to respond to the health and medical needs of our county post-disaster. We were grateful to have had the opportunity to host these teams as part of our exercise,” commented Russell Beaty, Assistant Director of Emergency Management.
The 2013 Atlantic Hurricane Season begins Saturday, June 1. Make sure your family and business are prepared to follow the instructions of local officials if a hurricane threatens our community by knowing the nearest shelter, making an evacuation plan, having a disaster supply kit, and having business continuity plan. More information on family disaster planning can be found at: http://www.floridadisaster.org/family and information on business continuity planning can be found at: http://www.ready.gov/business-continuity-planning-suite.
The official mark of the summer season is upon us—Memorial Day weekend. As schools around the nation release for summer break, families from all over will descend on Walton County to enjoy all we have to offer. The influx of people to the area means citizens and visitors need to pay attention to their surroundings, whether on the roadway or in the emerald green waters of the Gulf.
There are several safety tips the Walton County Sheriff’s Office (WCSO) offers up to the public.
1) Travel/road safety: The increased traffic on the roadways can be hazardous. Take precautions.
- Being in a hurry to get to the beach or shopping center could mean drivers are not aware of vehicles maneuvering around them, especially if they are not familiar with the area. Drivers are cautioned to familiarize themselves with the area ahead of time.
- Don’t drink and drive or travel with anyone who has been drinking.
- Wear seatbelts at all times and make sure vehicles have been serviced before a long road trip.
2) Beach Flag System: Get acquainted and abide by the rules that have been set forth for your safety.
- South Walton beaches follow Florida’s uniform beach warning flag system, designed to alert beachgoers to changing surf conditions and their relative safety to swimmers. Because the Gulf of Mexico is a natural body of water, dangerous rip currents can be present even under seemingly calm conditions. By heeding the flag system, beachgoers can remain safe.
- The easiest way to keep abreast of changing surf conditions is through South Walton’s text alert system. Simply text the word “SAFETY” to 67463 to have daily updates sent to your mobile phone for the duration of your stay. You may also check out http://www.visitsouthwalton.com/beach-safety or http://www.swfd.org/beach.php which details beach flag colors and current weather conditions.
3) Boater and swimmer safety: Memorial Day weekend is often the time of year that boaters begin to come out in full force to enjoy our beaches and waterways.
- Boaters should remember to wear their life jackets, as 67% of the 55 boating deaths last year in Florida resulted from drowning (according to the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission). Operators of vessels, just as with vehicles on the roadway, should remain sober.
- Boaters should also be aware of maritime rules, water conditions and swimmers in the area.
- Marine pests, such as jellyfish, are present in our waters. For jelly fish stings, rinse away the tentacles using hot water if possible. If heated water isn’t available, use salt water rather than fresh. Fresh water may worsen the stinging pain.
- Don’t swim alone and supervise children at all times in and near the water.
- Identify points on the beaches where lifeguards are stationed. Lifeguards will be stationed between 10 a.m. and 6 p.m.
- Learn to identify rip current conditions. One or more of the following features indicate the presence of a rip current:
•Darker color surf
•Murky brown water caused by sand stirred up on the bottom
•Smaller unorganized waves, alongside more evenly breaking waves over a sand bar
•Waves breaking further out to sea on both sides of the rip current
4) Sun Safety: Even if water-related activities are not in the plans for this holiday, you may want to enjoy Florida’s sunny weather. If you do so, make sure you are prepared.
- Use sunscreen with an SPF of 15 or higher and apply it generously throughout the day
- Wear a hat and sunglasses
- Drink a lot of water to stay hydrated