Last Friday’s traffic accidents blocked entry and exit to all of the Florida Keys

Monroe County Sheriff Rick Ramsay joined Good Morning Keys on KeysTalk 96.9/102.5FM this morning to talk about what’s been going on in the county.

Last Friday in the Upper Keys, the 18 mile stretch had a serious situation.

Sheriff Ramsay said, “There’s only two ways to get into Keys. US 1 and also Card Sound Road. We had about 9:30 in the morning a sewer pump out truck crashed and flipped over on the 18 mile stretch about the 115. Then what happened is it started leaking fuel. So we had a hazardous fuel leak as well, which definitely makes things more difficult, problematic. So we had the southbound lane on US 1 shutdown. Then the northbound was affected by emergency workers because we know at the 115 there’s a concrete barrier. So when you leave Key Largo to respond, you have to kind of block that northbound lane too, which makes it problematic. While we’re dealing with that, it was a mess. FHP is out there and we’re trying to figure out how to get it all cleaned up and tow trucks out there. Well, then we had a crash on the Card sound Road about 10:30, which blocked both north and southbound lanes. The front of the truck was actually touching the guardrail on the north shoulder and the back of the trailer was actually touching the guardrail on the right to the point that you couldn’t get a bicycle past it. It was a large truck towing a flatbed trailer with a Bobcat. When it flipped over the Bobcat got ejected off in the middle of the road. So both were very problematic, both took heavy equipment to get out there. It forced us for about a two hour period to have an entire US 1 and Card Sound Road access to the key shutdown. So just really, really difficult timing. Obviously not good for people who are trying to get to and from work, to or from airports, or other related travel ventures. So that was frustrating for a lot of our citizens. We put our notice out right away in the Sheriff’s Office app, as we always do, trying to give our citizens plenty of time to be aware.”

An experimental airplane crashed shortly after takeoff at the airport in Tavernier recently.

Sheriff Ramsay said, “A lot of people don’t know there’s an airport in Tavernier. It’s a really small private homeowners association. It’s based out about the 90 mile marker, just on the south side of Tavernier Creek Bridge, a small experimental aircraft, a two passenger machine was trying to take off and while trying to take off, the pilot was struggling to get the aircraft off the ground, and probably should have aborted at some point in time, but continued to try to push the issue, to the point he could not. By time he was at the end of the field, he wound up crashing through the gates, which lead to the entrance of the homeowners association, the end of the field onto the road. So we’re lucky no one got seriously hurt. The two people on board were both transported for minor injuries. The aircraft looked to be totaled out, destroyed, but could have been really really bad. There wasn’t much to protect you in this aircraft. It was an experimental aircraft. Really small, a narrow fuselage almost like a soapbox derby car. So it was kind of a small and could have been really really bad. We’re thankful for that.”

Two individuals from Marathon, a 68 year old man and a 27 year old man were found deceased in their vehicle in Marathon on Friday.

Sheriff Ramsay said, “Definitely unusual. This was a call about a unresponsive person in the car, and another unresponsive person right next to the car. So, not knowing what we got, we get there and never know. We determined pretty quickly. We believe there’s no foul play involved. Both were determined to be deceased. We had our friends at Fire and Rescue respond, but they both went down sometime in the middle of the night. We believe at this point in time, we’re waiting for a medical exam or toxicology, but we believe they were both overdoses, drug overdoses, presumably with the same batch of bad drugs that killed one and killed the other person. They were on the same property, one person was living I think in a car on the property and the other person was living in a Conex box. Both working there at this trap yard. So we believe again, it was a drug overdose with a bad batch of a dope. We see more and more drugs these days are laced with fentanyl or other related drugs. A lot of times people who buy drugs, they don’t even know it’s laced. Whether it be a meth laced or cocaine laced or anything heroin laced. More drugs people buy these days, unbeknownst to them, even marijuana are laced with fentanyl. The drug dealers are trying to get the people to have a super high so they keep buying drugs from them. So you don’t know that you’re smoking marijuana that’s laced with fentanyl. In this case, we think it was meth laced potentially with fentanyl. We have to wait for toxicology stuff to come back. But again, as sad as it is, we just tell our people it doesn’t appear to be any nefarious or crime, a medical overdose.”

There could be others that could be held accountable.

Sheriff Ramsay said, “If we can track it down to the drug seller. You’ve seen us in the past. We’ve arrested a half a dozen people over the last couple of years for selling drugs where people have overdosed and died. That’s our plan. Anytime we can track it back to somebody, hold someone accountable and charge them. If they sell drugs to someone and the result the person overdoses and dies, they’re going to be charged with murder.”

Big Pine Key saw a man arrested for domestic violence recently.

Sheriff Ramsay said, “We deal with so much domestic violence cases and it’s probably the traffic stops and domestic violence are the two most dangerous jobs law enforcement officers have to deal with. We deal with people who are violent. Even here, they break up these two because of violent tendencies. They’re no longer together because of how this guy was treating her. But yet some people can’t take no. So he continued to stalk her, harass her, bother her, come by. As he does, he gets rejected, which gets him more pissed off, where he becomes more violent, attacking this woman. We get out there. Obviously, our goal is to try to separate, check for medical, get people’s attention, to de-escalate. But these are difficult parts for us, too, because the perpetrator is more likely to be a male. Probably 75% of times it can be the male who’s the aggressor, is aggressive towards us as well. They can’t take no for an answer. So ultimately, after battering this woman, and coming back up there, we did it charge him with domestic battery charges. Our goal is always to get these people in the court system, try to get no contact orders from the courts, and try to give good guidance to the victims, in this case between our victim advocates, how they can better defend themselves, protect themselves from these aggressive people. So it’s sad to see these types of things though, people become so dependent on another person who they batter and treat terrible that they won’t let them go. Then they do some crazy things sometimes and their behavior is unpredictable.”

There is some heavy traffic expected this weekend.

Sheriff Ramsay said, “We are dealing with heavy traffic still, up in Key Largo today there was heavy traffic on the roads. We’re dealing a lot of construction projects occurring in all parts of the county in Key Largo, Islamorada, Cudjoe. So our people should be conscious and aware that road work has to get done. Be aware of the Sheriff’s Office app will help guide you to traffic congestion. We always tell people leave early, plan ahead, have a plan, don’t get involved in road rage or try to make up for lost time. Bad things happen because of that. We always say we want our listeners to be part of the solution, not part of the problem. Happy Easter to everybody coming up. We look forward to a great holiday time with family and friends and spring is upon us.”