Sometimes a police officer is never truly off duty

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.

Some boaters were quick to thank our sheriff and his deputies when Sheriff Ramsay noticed their boat was sinking.

Sheriff Ramsay said, “You know my job is to always be looking and trying to observe and coming across The 7 Mile Bridge during mini season, about the 46 mile marker, I looked over to my left and I saw out to the north of the Old Seven Mile Bridge looked about a 20 foot center console boat. It was sinking. The center console back was underwater. So I stopped, I put my emergency lights on, jumped out of the car, with a police radio, trying to get better look what was going on. I saw three people on board the boat, clinging to the boat as it was going down. Only one had a life jacket on. I saw a fourth person who was in the water, clinging to the boat.”

The dispatch center was called and asked to have the Coast Guard, FWC and sheriff’s office to respond.

Sheriff Ramsay said, “Luckily, I had a sheriff’s office patrol boat that was less than a mile away. It arrived in under two minutes. Right before he got there, they cut the anchor rope. Not sure why but they cut the anchor rope so then the boat was sort of drifting.”

When all four people ended up on the sheriff’s boat, they told deputies there was a fifth person who was diving and they were still in the water.

Sheriff Ramsay said, “So now we’re concerned because when we cut the rope, you’re breaking distance to where the divers at. Now Coast Guard gets on scene now it’s a search and rescue, trying to locate a missing diver. Ultimately, the diver surfaced to find the boat gone, but police, fire, rescue services all available, so we rescued that fifth person. They were thankful and it was right place, right time.”

The wind was incredibly heavy and the waves were strong and they were in about 12 feet of water and that’s how the boat was swamped.

A head-on collision last night is still an ongoing investigation.

Sheriff Ramsay explained, “This happened last night around 10:30. We had a northbound car traveling on County Road 905, which intersects with Card Sound. The motorist was from Tamarack went out to make a pass and while passing, did not have enough distance to safely compete the pass, struck a truck which was heading southbound, head on. Killed the motorist immediately in the compact car who made the pass. There was two people that were in the truck. The crash was so severe, they got entrapped in the vehicle, which required our friends at Fire Rescue to respond and extricate them out of the vehicle with jaws of life. We dispatched the sheriff’s office Trauma Star helicopter which was on standby up there waiting for the extrication.”

The people were taken to Miami for injuries sustained in the crash.

Sheriff Ramsay said, “We called in our friend FHP who had to do what’s called a traffic homicide investigation since someone passed away. So they basically treat it like a crime scene, which means the whole road gets shut down for hours while they measure it, take pictures, do drag marks and try to figure out what took place. So it’s a really sad situation. It comes down to speeding, impatience and passing when you don’t have the proper safe distance. The pass resulted in a head on car crash.”

Traffic Enforcement Deputy Lance Hernandez was recently recognized as a 2022 officer of the year at the Florida Department of Transportation Traffic Safety Awards.

Sheriff Ramsay said, “I can’t tell you enough about Lance Hernandez. What a great officer and well-rounded, between patrol, investigations and now traffic enforcement. He’s a motor officer, out of my motor squad and works very hard. To be nominated is one thing but actually to win officer of the year for the traffic safety across the entire state was so impressive. This young man just works hard, great positive attitude. So I was really proud when he made the short list, but boy, I’ll tell you what, when he actually won the award for the police officer of the year for the entire state, it was so impressive. Just another proud day for MCSO and myself.”

The fire on the yacht last week ended in tragedy.

Sheriff Ramsay said, “So sad. Down on vacation, came down for mini season, a 70 foot Viking. A husband, wife and an adult son and a dog. They were at the marina on Stock Island behind the Perry Hotel, beautiful place. Early investigations are still ongoing, but it appears that there was an e-bike. It appears the bike fell in the ocean, in the canal, and it appears that after falling in the water, they pulled the bike out, hosed it off. It appears they took battery out of the bike, put the battery inside the boot, which is dangerous because these batteries can ignite on themselves, let alone being in salt water. It’s believed that the battery ignited after people went to sleep, and it was placed on a shelf right above a bunch of flares for the boat. So it’s believed that the battery caused the boat on fire and the flares ignited pretty quickly. By time they figured that the boat was on fire, it was a mad rush to try to get off the boat.”

The husband and son had severe burns and had to be air lifted via Trauma Start to Miami for burns.

Sheriff Ramsay continued, “But at some point in time the wife reentered the boat to look for the dog. So got on the boat, was trying to find the dog, the fire quickly enclosed behind her. It appears to be she trapped in the front berth, and was unable to get out and succumbed to the smoke, flames. What a shame. This fire raged for about three hours before the boat finally sunk. Then it was a large scale operation to bring in salvagers to salvage this boat. Then the sheriff’s office and state fire marshal office to try to do the recovery of the victim inside this boat. It was not an easy task and very, very difficult emotionally for everybody involved. Such a sad, sad situation.”

Lobster mini season wrapped up last week and it seemed to go well, although there were 541 vessels stopped for resources safety inspections.

A man from Key West was arrested for a domestic incident recently after he attacked a woman holding an infant.

Sheriff Ramsay said, “This is hard for anybody to fathom that you could be fighting with a woman holding an infant, but this was a domestic dispute. Yes, this man from Key West was with this woman and a domestic argument ensued while she’s holding in her arms an infant. He’s spit in her face. Then he proceeds to punch her and started physically attacking her, knocks her to the ground while she’s still trying to hold her baby, and continues this assault on this woman. Then he threatens her life if she calls the police. He threatened that he’s going to kill her if she notifies law enforcement. Obviously, she did the right thing by calling us because we have to hold him accountable to stop his actions from hurting her or anybody else. That’s how a bully gets by stuff is by intimidation. She did the right thing. We quickly determine yes, this crime did occur and we did arrest him for multiple charges here. But it’s just hard to believe that somebody would go to this level, to attack a woman holding an infant. He went to our jail and spent time in the Rick Ramsey Bed and Breakfast.”