Cantonment Man Charged With Attack On Mother Of His Child

February 15, 2019

A Cantonment man was arrested after allegedly beating the mother of his child.

Austin James McCastler, 29, was charge with felony aggravated battery causing bodily harm and violation of probation. He remained in the Escambia County Jail without bond.

The victim told deputies that McCastler beat her with a closed fist, slapped her and knocked her to the ground, according to an Escambia County Sheriff’s Office arrest report. The victim suffered a laceration to her nose, bruising and a busted lip. She refused medical treatment.

No children were present at the time of the incident.

The report indicated deputies were unable to get a statement from McCastler.

Flashback Friday: It’s Been Three Years Since Century’s EF-3 Tornado

February 15, 2019

Friday marked the third anniversary of an EF-3 tornado that ripped through Century.

The tornado first touched down southwest of Lambert Bridge Road southwest of McDavid at 3:32 p.m. on February 15, 2016. The first EF-2 intensity damage was on Holland Road where a workshop was destroyed. As it moved into Century, the tornado reach peak intensity with widespread EF-2 damage with isolated EF-3 level damage that destroyed numerous homes and businesses, according to the National Weather Service.

The tornado continued to track across the state line into Alabama with EF-2 damage on Old Fannie Road east of Flomaton. The tornado continued toward Pollard, AL, where it weakened and lifted at 3:55 p.m.

The EF-3 tornado was on the ground 16.5 miles with a path up to 300 yards wide.

For a photo gallery from February 15, 2015, click here.

For a photo gallery featuring the Century UMC, click here.

For an additional damage photo gallery, click here.

For a photo gallery from Gov. Rick Scott’s visit to Century, click here.

NorthEscambia.com photos, click to enlarge.

Ransom Middle Extends Shoe Drive To Help Train Service Dogs For Veterans

February 15, 2019

Ransom Middle School has extended the deadline for their shoe drive benefiting Healing Paws for Warriors to rescue shelter dogs and train them to become service dogs for veterans.

Since NorthEscambia.com first told you about the shoe drive last week, the 35 students that started Kicks for a Cause have surpassed 200 pairs collected so far, over twice their original goal.

“We’re just trying to get as many shoes as possible,” explained Chris Briske, eighth grade student at Ransom. Briske and his classmates are shocked at the amount of support they have received.

“It’s awesome that people in the community are helping out,” said seventh grader Synoma Perea. “Just today, our custodian brought three huge boxes of new shoes from a shoe store. I thought that was awesome that people in the community are helping out.”

Kicks for a Cause is a shoe drive created by librarian Crystal Roberts and her student book club members for Acts of Kindness Week. Healing Paws will receive $10 for every 25 pairs of donated shoes, helping the organization with the $5,000 cost to train a service dog.

The donated shoes will also be used to help needy people in 24 Third World countries.

Collection bins are located in the Ransom Middle School front office and library through February 19.

Fatal Nine Mile Road Hit And Run Victim Identified

February 14, 2019

The Florida Highway Patrol has identified a man killed in a hit and run crash early Wednesday morning on Nine Mile Road.

The FHP said 37-year old Charles Q. Davis of Pensacola was crossing Nine Mile Road near Plainfield Avenue when he struck by a 2002 Chevrolet Silverado driven by 42-year old James Alan Champitto. Davis was pronounced deceased at the scene.

“Champitto left the scene without leaving any information as required by law. Investigators received information regarding the location of the vehicle and owner who then identified the driver to investigators,” according to FHP Lt. Eddie Elmore. The information led to Champitto’s arrest later in the morning.

Champitto  was charged with leaving the scene of a traffic crash with a fatality and two counts of driving with a suspended license with a fatality. He is being held in the Escambia County Jail without bond.

Pictured: Hit and run suspect James Alan Champitto.

Two Injured In Highway 29 Head-on Collision

February 14, 2019

Two people were injured in a head-on collision in Cantonment late Thursday morning.

The crash occurred at Highway 29 and Muscogee Road. Two were transported to area hospital with non-life threatening injuries.

Following the crash, the traffic light at the intersection was operating in flash mode. A crosswalk signal was destroyed.

The Florida Highway Patrol is investigating. Escambia County EMS and the Cantonment Station of Escambia County Fire Rescue also responded.

NorthEscambia.com photos by Kristi Barbour, click to enlarge.

CSX Proposes Solution To Keep Trains From Blocking Cottage Hill Neighborhood

February 14, 2019

CSX has proposed a plan to keep their stopped trains from completely blocking the Cottage Hill area east of Highway 95A.

The plan, according to Escambia County District 5 Commissioner Steven Barry, will benefit residents in the area from McKenzie Road to Eden Lane.

For trains under 10,000 feet, CSX trains that stop to service a Cantonment customer will be pulled far enough south that they will not block the neighborhood. That’s because the McKenzie Road crossing will remain open, Barry said.  A stopped train over 10,000 feet will initially block the neighborhood, but CSX will break the train at Eden Lane as soon as possible.

“From McKenzie Road to Eden, when they are all blocked, there is no way out,” he said. “That’s also something that didn’t used to exist. Trains didn’t used to be two miles long; now they can be. So it’s something new.”

Barry said CSX and the county are still working on a solution for Greenberry Drive, Countri Lane and surrounding area. “We are still trying to find solutions for folks that are locked by those crossings.”

In late January, Barry and Florida Sen. Doug Broxson met with CSX and International Paper to discuss trains blocking local roads for extended periods of time.

The first step included real time communication between Escambia County and the railroad. There are documented incidents where fire trucks and EMS units were unable to respond to medical emergencies in blocked neighborhoods due to stopped trains.

As previously announced, CSX and railroad officials are also working decrease the amount of time Highway 29 is blocked by trains at International Paper.

NorthEscambia.com file photo.

Congressman Matt Gaetz To Hold ‘Open Gaetz Day’ Events In Century And Jay

February 14, 2019

Congressman Matt Gaetz will hold an “Open Gaetz Day” in Jay and Century on Thursday, February 21.

The day will conclude with a 6 p.m. public town hall at the Linda Carden Community Center at 5259 Booker Lane in Jay.

Earlier in the day, he will visit Jay High School, a legislative luncheon in Jay with invited local officials, the Terrace at Ivy Acres Assisted Living Community in Jay, Century Town Hall for a round table with city and chamber officials, Escambia River Electric Cooperative and the Jay Oil Field. Those events are listed by Gaetz as open only to involved parties and the media; however, the Town of Century has issued a public notice for their meeting.

Pictured: Congressman Matt Gaetz during an “Open Gaetz Day” event last year at the Walnut Hill Ruritan Building. NorthEscambia.com photo, click to enlarge.

Shots Fired At Molino Mobile Home; Occupant Was Also Shot Last Week

February 13, 2019

Shots were  fired at a home in Molino late Tuesday night, less than a week after the occupant was shot in the finger.

The Escambia County Sheriff’s Office responded to a mobile home in the 1000 block of Barth Road about 11:40 p.m. Shots hit at least one vehicle in the front yard of the mobile home, including a rear passenger side window (pictured below) that was shattered.

The victim told deputies that he smelled smoke and went outside investigate. He said someone opened fire once he got outside, but he was unsure if the gunfire came from the road or a nearby wooded area, according to ECSO Maj. Andrew Hobbs. Multiple shell casings were recovered at the scene.

No one was injured, and the man was uncooperative in the investigation, Hobbs said.

Last Friday morning, the same man called an ambulance to the residence because he had been shot in the finger some period of time before the call. Hobbs said he was also uncooperative in that investigation.

In an unrelated incident, two women were shot at a Barth Road home a short distance away on January 1. Both survived, and the suspect is awaiting trial on two counts of attempted first degree murder. [Read more ...]

NorthEscambia.com photos, click to enlarge.