Let’s check in with Sheriff Rick Ramsay

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

Last night saw a tragedy where a man was found dead in a home that caught fire in Big Pine Key.

Sheriff Ramsay said, “A terrible sad case. I got a call about this last night. A small trailer caught on fire. At this point time we don’t think there’s any suspicious circumstances but we still because of an unattended death, we bring in our homicide team investigate, make sure that it’s just that, an accident. We’re thinking the person was drinking very heavy, fell asleep with a cigarette in his mouth. We think the cigarette ignited the trailer. He and his dog got trapped inside and succumbed to the fire, tragically. Fire Rescue responded. We called out the county and state fire marshal to respond as well. So just a very sad situation, but we’ll be investigating it again just to make sure it was just that, an accident and that there was no foul play involved.”

An event over the weekend helped Deputy Garcia who was injured in an incident with a drunk driver.

Sheriff Ramsay said, “This is Islamorada Deputy Julian Garcia, a great young man was struck by a drunk driver, a woman who was driving four times the legal limit. After about 10 surgeries, eight transfusions, they ultimately had to remove his leg above the kneecap, so a really tragic situation. Young man, great guy. The community came together for a large scale fundraiser. So many people showed up to help, volunteer, help provide services. Wyland, our artist here painted a specific painting and donated it for an auction there which bought $4,500. The 100 club of Monroe County provided a check, Rotary Club in Marathon, Ocean Reef, so many, and there’s so many other businesses and organizations, which all came together to try to help this young man in one of the most difficult challenging times of his life. He was there with his family, in good spirits. It was just a testament to this community, and how this community rallies together to help those in need and also a testament to the amazing relationship that the sheriff’s office has with this community and how much trust and respect there is for law enforcement, which doesn’t exist in so many other places.”

A man from Lauderhill, Florida was found over the weekend in possession of undersized barracuda.

Sheriff Ramsay said, “There are just so many violations on our waterways for our environment, it’s hard to keep track of them all. We actually had a couple of this weekend. One of my land based patrol officers who’s really trying to protect our environment, did several bridge checks throughout the Lower Keys and actually made a couple of notice to appear arrests for violations. One included a person who was in possession of a goliath grouper, which we know you’re not allowed to possess. They’re an endangered species. But we had a goliath grouper also a bunch of undersized snapper over the bag limit. So he did receive a mandatory notice to appear. Another individual again, a bunch of undersized snapper, over the back limit. He as well was cited. So we continue whether it be the Barracuda, whether it be snapper, whether it be Goliath Grouper, lobster, we’re going to keep doing our part to protect our environment, our resources, try to make sure we can sustain it for the future generations. It’s difficult, challenging because there’s just so many attacks on our environment and they continue to be almost all the time. The majority of time people coming out of Miami Dade County coming into Monroe to attack what we have.”

There will be an additional day prior to mini season this year.

Sheriff Ramsay said, “This came as a surprise. I think everybody involved, I don’t think anybody knew this was coming, even FWC I don’t think knew about until the night before, or less than 24 hours before the governor made the announcement. So I think it sent shockwaves because it was just, there was no telegraphing and the impacts I don’t know. People say the impacts are going to be brutal. I just say, listen, it’s only three weeks away. Three weeks doesn’t give many people time to do much, people aren’t going to come down and rent a house for a week to dive for one day. Do I think we’re going to see an increase on the water? Absolutely. Boat ramps, traffic, probably more local base. It will require more law enforcement services on the water, FWC especially and sheriff’s office. But the impacts I don’t know, I’m not sure this is a one time thing only or it’s going to occur every year. If it occurs next year, it’s carried over, then next year is really going to be the time we can gauge the impact of how positive or negative it is between the economy, impacts on the environment, law enforcement and public safety services. We know mini season is challenging. But I don’t know how many people are going to travel the Keys for one day.”

A young man made poor decisions recently combined with alcohol and was arrested for fleeing and eluding, reckless driving, leaving the scene of a crash, possession of a fake ID, and going through a construction zone at high rates of speed up in the Upper Keys.

Sheriff Ramsay said, “A 19 year old male from Dade County started in the Islamorada area, northbound, high rates of speed. He’s doing 84 miles an hour through a construction zone. He’s drunk. He’s got no license. All this bad, no insurance, all this bad stuff going on. So we’re like, why are you drawing attention to yourself when you don’t have a license, you’re drunk? What is going on? He gets our attention though and we start trying to stop him and it turns into a pursuit. We send out stinger spikes, we spike out two front tires. He continues to drive aggressively and recklessly. At some point in time we break off the pursuit because it’s unsafe. We get ready to reengage spikes down the road further. We reengage a second set of spikes and hit the other tires. So at least the speeds are now reduced, he does wind up crashing into a couple of vehicles, unfortunately. Positively no injuries involved in that though. Ultimately, he hit a couple of vehicles and a tree before coming to a stop. No one’s injured, again, thank God. We provided medical attention, he had bad ID, didn’t want to identify himself who he was. Eventually we did identify him. We arrest him for impaired driving, hit and run, leaving the scene of an accident, felony fleeing and eluding, resisting charges, no license, no registrations. His license was suspended obviously the reason this guy is a terrible driver. He’s driving a 5,000 pound missile down the road and jeopardizing everybody’s safety. He’s a risk to the general public, and has no care about anybody else, but himself and is willing to risk the safety of the lives of our citizens on the road. So we have to get this idiot off the road. So we did arrest him. He’s off the road, we towed his vehicle. He’s going to be held accountable. We’ll see what the judges and our state attorneys do with him. But this is just part of the job of a police officer each and every day. You never know what’s going to happen.”

Another traffic stop in Key Largo saw a 39 year old from Marathon arrested on a host of charges.

Sheriff Ramsay said, “These people have nothing to lose. These people potentially at that level are looking to go to prison. It’s fight or flight syndromes. A lot of times it’s more of a fight. They figure hey, if I’m going to prison, what’s one more charge? It will change nothing. But they do again driving drunk, fleeing, recklessly driving, endangering the lives of our citizens and don’t care about it. So we have to deal with this person and then we do get this person stopped and this person’s license was suspended like four prior times. He’s a habitual offender. He’s never going to be allowed to have a license in Florida. So he’s got felony driving while license suspended, obviously no insurance. So if he does hit you, you’re not covered, drunk, prior drunk driving arrest. This person’s traffic record was amazing. It was so terrible. This person is one of the biggest threats to public safety out there and won’t learn. People sometimes learn from a bad decision and stop drinking or stop drinking and driving or whatever it may be and sometimes out of something bad, something good comes out. This situation is bad after bad after bad. This person does not get it. Continues to drive when he wants, how he wants to, recklessly, impaired, no license, no insurance, doesn’t care. We’re going to keep being vigilant, we’re going to keep arresting him. The courts are going to keep taking action. This is progressive discipline. You keep doing this stuff, eventually, you wind up going to prison, and you get out, you reoffend. You go to prison for more time. This person is bound for state prison and that’s where he needs to be. We’ve got to protect our citizens and visitors alike.”

In Cudjoe Key recently a man was hit with a brick rock and he was shot in the face with a pellet gun.

Sheriff Ramsay said, “This is another alcohol influence decision. This is a 39 year old male, he came home drunk. He’s staying with a friend, a 56 year old male. He gets home and he’s drunk and then he’s doing donuts in his car on the neighbor’s front yard. So we’ve been called. He comes in the house before we get there, drunk, causing a scene. The male at the house is so frustrated, he tells the guy look, I can’t deal with this drama anymore. This is nonstop, you need to move out. I can’t have you here. I’m trying to help you. You’re a friend. But you’re driving me crazy. You got to move out. So the guy gets mad, he grabs a brick, comes back in and smashes the roommate in the head with a brick, the guy who let him stay there. Then when the guys on the ground from being hit with a brick, our suspect goes upstairs to his room, grabs a high powered pellet gun, comes downstairs and while the victims on the ground, points the pellet gun at his face and shoots him right in the face and the nose. So we get there. We separate them, secure him, provide medical attention to the victim. The victim had a pellet lodged in his face, had to be brought to the hospital. We eventually arrested guy for two counts of aggravated battery. Again, alcohol influenced decisions, if you can’t consume alcohol in a responsible manner, don’t do it because nothing good comes out of it. You lost your place to stay, you’re in jail. You hurt your friend who was helping you. You destroyed someone’s front yard with your car. All this for what? Nothing.”