Century Man Tased By Deputies Convicted Of Resisting Arrest, Battery

April 23, 2014

A Century man tased by Escambia County deputies late last year has been convicted on charges of battery and resisting arrest without violence.

Emanuel Rabun Bethea, 28, was sentenced by Judge Terry Terrell to one year probation. He was also ordered to complete counseling and stay away from controlled substances without a prescription, including “spice” or bath salts.

According to an arrest report, an Escambia County Sheriff’s deputy in a marked patrol vehicle was first to arrive after a disturbance call in the 7500 block of Jack Smith Road in November 23. He watched as someone attempted to flee as he approached, spinning tires in a circular driveway, accelerating and running over a tree stump. Bethea exited the vehicle and ran, fell in the gravel driveway, got up and ran again despite multiple verbal commands from the deputy to stop. When Bethea fell again, he was tackled by the deputy.

According to an arrest report, Bethea refused to place his hands behind his back as ordered, instead he tried to reach his pocket multiple times. The deputy, not knowing what Bethea was  trying to retrieve from his pocket, ordered him to stop or be tased. He refused to comply  and was tased once before the deputy managed to handcuff one hand. Bethea continued to resist and another deputy arrived on scene and assisted in handcuffing him, according to the report.

During the struggle, Bethea reported told the deputy “just shoot me” multiple times. After Bethea was taken into custody, a folding pocket knife was located next to his leg. Bethea continued to fight deputies as he was placed in a patrol vehicle, the report states.

The female victim told deputies that she and Bethea live together at the Jack Smith Road address and that they have a child together. She said Bethea refused to allow her to leave the residence, grabbed her and took her cell phone while he prevented her from using the couple’s only vehicle.

A charge of kidnapping against Bethea was dropped, according to court records.

Bethea was transported by Escambia County EMS to Sacred Heart Hospital before being booked into the Escambia County Jail.  The arresting deputy noted that Bethea was cooperative, polite and apologetic at the hospital.

Goodyear Blimp Spotted Over North Escambia

April 23, 2014

The Goodyear Blimp was spotted over the North Escambia area Tuesday. Numerous people reported seeing the blimp in the area of I-10 north to Muscogee Road. The blimp was on the way to Mobile for an overnight stop.  Pictured top: The Goodyear Blimp over International Paper in Cantonment (by Josh Black). Pictured inset: The Goodyear Blimp over Muscogee Road (by Mona Baker)Reader submitted photos for NorthEscambia.com, click to enlarge.

Century Approves Contractor To Repair Gas Leak Under Highway 29

April 22, 2014

Over three years since the problem was first publicly revealed as a potential “major public safety issue”, natural gas continues to leak under Highway 29 in Century.

Monday night, the Century Town Council voted to award a repair contract to R.A.W. Construction, LLC of Tallahassee for $393,500 to repair the problem.

About 6,515 feet of 4-inch steel natural gas line was buried beneath the southbound lanes of Highway 29 when the road was widened to four lanes. Now, over 45 years since the almost 1.25 mile long pipe was put into the ground, the town believes the steel is corroding and leaking somewhere between West Highway 4 and McCurdy Street.

The R.A.W. bid paperwork must now be approved by USDA Rural Development, a process that should take about two weeks.  After approval, the contractor should begin work within about 60 days with 120 days to complete the project, according to Dale Long, the town’s engineer.

That repair portion of the project has been estimated to cost the town about $1 million.

In April 2012, Century signed off on a $1.4 million USDA Rural Development loan to cover the cost of replacing the pipe. But, according to town officials, the town received the wrong form from the USDA, and as a result advertised the meetings incorrectly.

That meant heading back to the drawing board and starting the loan process again.

A new 4-inch pipe will be placed on the west side of Highway 29, while a new 2-inch pipe will be installed on the east side of the highway, eliminating the need to install pipes under the road to service natural gas customers. The pipe will be installed where existing easements exist or can be obtained at no cost, otherwise, it will be installed under existing sidewalks.

Two other bids were received on the project — one for $795,700.75 from Utility Service Company  and one for $897,000 from Roberson Excavation, Inc. of Milton.

Long said due to the significantly lower  bid from R.A.W, he verified the company’s references and verified the bid was correct. He said the company was lower because they are primarily a gas contractor, while the other two companies are primarily water and sewer contractors.

Pictured above and below: Natural gas is leaking under Highway 29 in Century. Pictured inset: Century Mayor Freddie McCall signs documents in April 2012 for a $1.401 million USDA Rural Development loan to repair the leaky gas lines. The loan was later invalidated by the USDA due to  an incorrect form.  NorthEscambia.com photos, click to enlarge.

Northview Senior Wright Accepts Air Force Academy Appointment

April 22, 2014

Northview High School senior Victoria Anne Wright has accepted an appointment to The United States Air Force Academy in Colorado Springs, CO.

The United States Air Force Academy offers a four-year program of instruction and experience designed to provide cadets the knowledge and character essential for leadership, and the motivation to serve as Air Force career officers. Each cadet graduates with a bachelor of science degree and a commission as a second lieutenant in the Air Force.

Pictured above are: Victoria Wright (center, seated), her parents Joseph and Tami Wright (seated): (back row, L-R) cousin Jessica McCullough, her grandparents John and Brenda Ekstrom and sister Elizabeth Wright. Pictured inset: Wright with her NJROTC instructors Charlie C. Code, Capt USN (ret), and Jeffrey D. Simpkins, CPO, USN (ret). Pictured below: Northview Principal Gayle Weaver and Assistant Principal Gerry Pippins presented Wright with a mountain bicycle  to navigate between classes.  NorthEscambia.com photos, click to enlarge. Pictured bottom: The Wrights with Lt. Col. David Landfair, USAFA’s admission liaison officer.

Atmore Man Finishes 148th In Boston Marathon (With Other Local Results)

April 22, 2014

An Atmore man who has ran marathons for less than an year finished 148th of about 36,000 runners in Monday’s Boston Marathon.

Alan Ash, 22, finished the 26.2 mile course in just over two and a half hours — 2:33:54. The Escambia Academy graduate was the 127th overall fastest malee. During college, he ran cross country at Vanderbilt, and was the top local finisher at 17th overall in Mobile’s recent Azalea Trail Run.

Monday’s overall winner was Meb Keflezighi of the United States with a time of 2:08:37.

North Escambia area runners completing the Boston Marathon on Monday were:

  • Alan Ash, 22, Atmore – 2:33:54, Overall: 148
  • Eric J Kujawski, 39, Pensacola – 3:03:00, Overall: 2,856
  • Paul Epstein, 48 Pensacola – 3:07:36, Overall: 3,669
  • Timothy J. Moser, 42, Pensacola – 3:15:08, Overall: 5,313
  • Heather M, Asmar, 42, Pensacola – 3:16:22, Overall: 5,560 (82nd in division)
  • Cherie Epstein, 46, Pensacola – 3:37:27, Overall: 11,612
  • Veronica Brown, 43, Pensacola – 3:48:47, Overall: 14,964
  • Brian K. Spencer, 56, Pensacola – 3:59:31, Overall: 17,964
  • Gail Fry, 46, Pensacola – 4:13:57, Overall: 20,780
  • Mindi G. Straw, Pensacola -4:15:11, Overall: 21,007
  • Perry A. Palmer, Pensacola – 4:27:44, Overall: 23,111
  • Mark Rice, 53, Atmore – 5:16:36, Overall: 28,602

Fire Scorches Cable TV Van

April 22, 2014

Fire heavily damaged a Bright House Networks van Monday evening in Cantonment. The fire, in the company’s parking lot in the 200 block of south Highway 97, was reported about 6:40 p.m. There were no structures damaged and no reports of any injuries. NorthEscambia.com photos by Kristi Smith, click to enlarge.