State Attorney Finds Atmore Officer Involved Shooting In Walnut Hill Was Justified

December 31, 2009


The State Attorney’s Office has found that the shooting of a suspect by the Atmore Police Department after a chase that ended in Walnut Hill last May was justified.

Danny Ray Williams, 33, died May 25 from wounds he received when he was shot by Atmore Police early Sunday morning, May 24 in Walnut Hill. Atmore Police said Williams was seen leaving the scene of a shots fired call in Atmore when they gave chase. That chase came to an end on Highway 97 just south of Kansas Road when officers fired on Williams’ car after they say he attempted to run over them.

Assistant State Attorney John Molchan reached the following conclusion in the case:

readreport.jpg“When Danny Williams made the decision to look for more beer while driving an automobile with a SAL of .228, he placed himself and other members of the public in danger of death or great bodily harm because of his impairment. The risk increased significantly when he attempted to elude the Atmore police officers after running through a stop sign and reaching speeds of nearly 100 mph in the middle of the night. Furthermore, the patient care report from the Atmore ambulance service indicates poor weather conditions also existed. An entry in the report says, “air transport unavailable due to weather.” When Danny Williams lost control of his car and ended up in the field, he could have chosen to surrender. Instead, he continued his efforts to elude the police and placed then in danger of imminent death or great bodily harm. He could have chosen to obey their commands but, as his passenger said, “he couldn’t get any more DUl’s.” It was a series of poor decisions by Mr. Williams that ultimately resulted in his unfortunate death. Based on the totality of the circumstances, it is the opinion of the Office of the State Attorney that the actions of the officers were reasonable. It was reasonable for the officers to attempt to stop Mr. Williams after he ran the stop sign. It was reasonable for them to pursue him after information suggested his car might contain a wanted felon who may have been involved in the “shots fired” incident that had occurred in the same area only moments before. When Mr. Williams drove at the shootphootos.jpgofficers in the field, it was reasonable for them to be in fear of imminent death or great bodily harm not only for themselves but for other officers in the vehicle’s path.”Therefore, it is the opinion of the Office of State Attorney that, the Atmore, Alabama police officers were justified in using deadly force against Mr. Danny Williams.”

To read the complete, detailed report from the State Attorney’s Office, click here (7 page pdf)

Pictured above and below: The scene of a shooting involving an Atmore Police Department officer early May 24 in Walnut Hill. Pictured middle: Crime scene investigators from the Florida Department of Law Enforcement work to recover evidence inside the car. Pictured bottom: FDLE investigators returned to the scene four days after the shooting. exclusive photos, click to enlarge.  


Who Will Be The North Escambia Persons Of The Year?

December 31, 2009

nepersons.gifWho will be the North Escambia Persons Of The Year? will honor several North Escambia residents as North Escambia Persons of the Year for 2009. We will name each of them this weekend. So don’t miss checking each each day to find our who our winners are!

Disaster Area Declared; Assistance Available In Alabama And Florida

December 31, 2009


A disaster area declaration by the U.S. Small Business Administration following December’s floods is making federal assistance available to seven counties in Alabama and Florida.

The declaration covers Escambia County (Ala.) and the adjacent counties of Baldwin, Conecuh, Covington and Monroe in Alabama; and the counties of Escambia, Okaloosa and Santa Rosa in Florida.

sbafact.jpgAssistance in the form of low interest loans is available to homeowners, renters and businesses that were affected by the flooding between December 12 and December 18. Loans up to $200,000 are available to homeowners to repair or replace damaged or destroyed real estate. Homeowners and renters are eligible for loans up to $40,000 to repair or replace damaged or destroyed personal property. Businesses and non-profit organizations can borrow up to $2 million to repair or replace damaged or destroyed real estate, machinery and equipment, inventory, and other business assets.”

The SBA also provides mitigation funds to disaster victims up to 20 percent of the verified physical damage. These funds are designed to help borrowers pay for protective measures to minimize damages of the same kind in the future.

For small businesses, and most private non-profit organizations of all sizes, the SBA offers Economic Injury Disaster Loans (EIDLs) to help meet working capital needs caused by the disaster. EIDL assistance is available regardless of whether the business suffered any physical property damage.

flomaton-flooding-019.jpgInterest rates are as low as 2.562 percent for homeowners and renters, four percent for businesses and three percent for non-profit organizations with terms up to 30 years. Loan amounts and terms are set by the SBA and are based on each applicant’s financial condition.

“The SBA is strongly committed to providing the people affected by these storms and floods with the most effective and customer-focused response possible, to assist homeowners, renters, and businesses of all sizes with federal disaster loans,” said SBA Administrator Karen G. Mills. “Getting our businesses and communities up and running after a disaster is our highest priority.”

Disaster Loan Outreach Centers will be opened as follows:

  • Atmore Public Library: Tuesday, January 5 – Friday, January 8 from 8:30 am to 4:30 p.m. and Saturday, January 9 from 8 a.m. to 1 p.m.
  • Escambia County Courthouse, Brewton: Monday, January 11 and Tuesday, January 12 from 8 a.m. to 4 p.m.

Individuals and businesses unable to visit one of the centers in person may obtain information and loan applications by calling the SBA’s Customer Service Center at 1-800-659-2955 (1-800-877-8339 for the hearing impaired), Monday through Friday from 8 a.m. to 6 p.m. EST, or by sending an e-mail to Business loan applications can also be downloaded from the SBA Web site at Completed applications should be returned to one of the Centers or mailed to: U.S. Small Business Administration, Processing and Disbursement Center, 14925 Kingsport Road, Fort Worth, TX 76155.

For more information, click here for a SBA fact sheet. file photos, click to enlarge.

Man Arrested In Walnut Hill On Child Sex Abuse, Theft Warrants

December 31, 2009

A Pensacola man was arrested in Walnut Hill on outstanding warrants for lewd or lascivious battery on a victim less than 16, petty theft, and violation of probation on a 2006 grand theft and narcotics case.

howardlekendrick.jpgEscambia County Sheriff’s Deputies arrested LeKedrick Dandre Howard, 21, in the 100 block of Juniper Street in Walnut Hill about 11:30 Monday night.

He is now facing the outstanding child sex abuse, petty theft and probation violation warrants. Details on the child sex abuse case were not immediately available.

A warrant for Howard’s arrest had been issued June 15 for violation of probation. Howard was arrested  June 17, 2006, and charged with third degree grand theft and possession of a controlled substance without a prescription, according to court records. In early 2007, he plead nolo contendere and an adjudication of guilt was withheld. He was sentenced to two years probation, the terms of which included 100 hours of community service and counseling.

Howard is being held in the Escambia County Jail on $20,000 bond.

Still No Suspect In Cantonment Murder

December 31, 2009

Funeral services were held this morning for Douglas E. Norton, 57, the Cantonment man murdered December 21 in his home.

Norton was found shot to death in his Cooper Road home about 10 p.m. on December 21. He was discovered by his roommate.

Escambia County deputies still have no suspects in murder.

The Cooper Road murder was the 17th in Escambia County this year. There have been 14 murders in the unincorporated areas of the county, and three in Pensacola.

Today’s The Last Day To Save On Your Property Taxes

December 31, 2009

Today is the last day to pay your Escambia County real estate and tangible personal property taxes and save a little money. A three percent discount is available on those taxes, but only if you pay up by the close of business today.

All four tax collector offices will be open normal business hours on Thursday, December 31, according to Escambia County Tax Collector Janet Holley.

In order to receive the three discount and have your tax payment posted with a December date, payment must be:

  • received in the tax collector’s office by close of business December 31;
  • made on the tax collector’s web site by midnight December 31; or
  • made on the after-hours automated telephone (800) 601-1055 by midnight December 31.

In addition, payments mailed with a December 31 postmark or left in the tax collector’s 24‑hour drop boxes after hours on December 31 will receive the three discount but will be dated in January.

You may check the status of your taxes and pay online at If you have any questions, call the tax collector’s office at 438-6500, ext. 252. (TTY users for the hearing impaired call 850-472-0031.)

New Year Will Bring Cold Air

December 31, 2009

Our 2010 is going to get off to a cold start with at least the first six nights of the year forecast to be in the 20’s.

Here is your official North Escambia forecast:

  • Tonight: A 50 percent chance of rain after midnight. Mostly cloudy, with a low around 41. North wind between 5 and 10 mph.
  • New Year’s Day: A 20 percent chance of rain before 9am. Cloudy through mid morning, then gradual clearing, with a high near 53. North wind between 10 and 15 mph, with gusts as high as 25 mph.
  • Friday Night: Clear, with a low around 29. North wind between 5 and 10 mph.
  • Saturday: Sunny, with a high near 54. Wind chill values between 25 and 35 early. North wind between 5 and 10 mph.
  • Saturday Night: Mostly clear, with a low around 26. North wind around 5 mph.
  • Sunday: Mostly sunny, with a high near 53. North wind between 5 and 10 mph.
  • Sunday Night: Mostly cloudy, with a low around 25. North wind around 5 mph.
  • Monday: Partly sunny, with a high near 48. North wind between 5 and 15 mph.
  • Monday Night: Partly cloudy, with a low around 23. North wind around 5 mph.
  • Tuesday: Mostly sunny, with a high near 50.
  • Tuesday Night: Partly cloudy, with a low around 25.
  • Wednesday: Mostly sunny, with a high near 51.
  • Wednesday Night: Mostly cloudy, with a low around 27.
  • Thursday: A 20 percent chance of rain. Mostly cloudy, with a high near 55.

Year In Review North Escambia’s Biggest Stories Of 2009: April

December 31, 2009

FCAT writing scores were released in April, and they were good news for most North Escambia schools.

A bill has passed the Florida legislature that could pump life back into Jay and North Santa Rosa County. The Florida Senate passed a bill  that will provide exemptions and tax breaks to the six active oil producing companies in Florida. One of those producers is Quantum Resources in Jay.

Century became home to a new video conferencing  system that allows area residents to interact with the Social Security Agency face to face, one of just three such sites in an eight state area. The video system now available at the Workforce Escarosa office in Century was just one of just three in an eight state Southeastern U.S. region.

relaypre10.jpgCommunities from across the area joined together  for Century’s Relay for Life.

Students at Molino Park Elementary School planted a tree in honor of Earth Day and teacher Sharon Smith who died on the final day of school in 2008.

The Escambia County School Board formally voted to sell the old Molino School to the county for a new library and community center.

Escambia River Electric Cooperative held their 70th Annual Meeting at Jay High School.  James Earl Hall and Ernie Hester were elected as cooperative trustees from Escambia County and Ed Kelly was elected as a Santa Rosa County trustee.


Escambia Sheriff David Morgan (pictured at the Century Substation with Sgt. David Preston) announced that arrests were forthcoming from weeks of undercover drug buys in Century.

The Town of Century voted to apply for a loan for water systems improvements in the State Line Road, Highway 4A and Backwoods Road areas, but the town was still hoping to receive a grant to fund the nearly $2 million project.

The town of Century celebrated its 108th birthday with a big bash in the town’s historical district.

A small army of volunteers headed out from the Barrineau Park Community Center for a Clean and Green Community Cleanup.

Molino Park Elementary School held its annual Arts Day, with the students spending the day immersed in a variety of arts.

Over a three day period, students from Carver/Century K-8 School had the opportunity to visit the campus of Ernest Ward Middle School.

wonka10.jpgThe Northview High School Theater Department presented “Willy Wonka the Musical”.

The Escambia County Commission wanted Sheriff David Morgan to cut another $4 million from his budget before it is submitted to the BOCC for approval, but the sheriff said he cut all that he intended to cut. Morgan says he would take his budget to the governor before dealing with the commission.

Students at Molino Park Elementary held a wagon parade to raise money for Relay for Life.

The faithful gathered for Easter Morning Sunrise Services across North Escambia.

FFA students and 4-H members from Escambia County celebrated the 100th anniversary of the 4-H in conjunction with the GCA and NRA Spring Livestock Show.

Residents of Century turned to a letter writing campaign in hopes of saving Carver/Century K-8 School. About 200 letters were mailed to President Barack Obama. file photos, click to enlarge.

2009 In Pictures: May

December 31, 2009


Graduate Jessica Mothershed shares a tearful moment with teacher Tommy Weaver following May’s graduation exercise at Northview High School.


During closing ceremonies for Northwest Escambia Little League, a trophy for Drew Marlow was presented to his mother Cyndi Marlow Wendt. Drew Marlow died in a 2008 auto accident near Walnut Hill.


Final goodbyes as the last day of school ever came to a close at Carver/Century K-8 School.


Rev. Willie Carter addresses the students, his 1936 Century diploma in hand, during the final graduation excercise at Carver/Century K-8 School.


Firefighters locate the “victim” in a simulated McDavid building fire, part of an Escambia Fire Rescue training exercise.


Three people were injured in this accident on Highway 97. The Blazer burst into flames shortly after the last passenger was pulled from the wreckage. 


Flags fly on the Walnut Hill grave of PFC Russell William Stewart on Memorial Day. PFC Stewart died April 14, 2007, while serving at Camp Lejeune, NC.

shootpre10.jpg had exclusive photos from the scene where the Atmore Police Department shot a suspect following a chase into North Escambia. The suspect later died.


The Northview High School Class of 2009 held their Baccalaureate service  at the First Baptist Church of Bratt — the first time in the history of the school that Baccalaureate was not held at the school.


The Northview Chiefs held their intrasquad Garnet and Gold game on a rainy night.


A truck driver from Greenville, Alabama, was killed in a fiery explosion on I-65 between Flomaton and Atmore.

The Pen Wheels Fishing Rodeo was held in Walnut Hill.


The North Pensacola Relay for Life was held at Tate High School.

Woman Arrested For Elderly Abuse

December 30, 2009

A Cantonment woman was arrested Tuesday on charges that she abused two elderly patients under her care.

wattscrystal.jpgCrystal Dawn Watts, 28, was arrested Tuesday by law enforcement officers from the Attorney General’s Medicaid Fraud Control Unit with assistance from the Escambia County Sheriff’s Office. She was charged with two counts of battery on a person 65 or older, a third-degree felony. She was a personal care assistant formerly employed by Homestead Village Retirement Center. Watts was released Tuesday from the Escambia County Jail on $10,000 bond.

Investigators with the Attorney General’s Medicaid Fraud Control Unit began investigating Watts after receiving information from the Florida Department of Children and Families Adult Protective Services, according to the Attorney General’s Office. The investigation revealed that Watts used a pillow to cover the face of an 86-year old patient in her care for approximately 30 seconds, which left the patient gasping for breath. On the same day, Watts pushed an 87-year old patient multiple times, causing the patient to bruise, the AG’s office said. She was fired from the facility shortly thereafter.

If convicted on both counts, she faces up to 10 years in prison and a $10,000 fine. The case will be prosecuted by State Attorney’s Office for the First Judicial Circuit.

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