Tag Archives: debary

DeBary Burger King robber gets 12.5 years in prison

The felon who robbed the DeBary Burger King last year was recently sentenced to more than a decade in prison.

Mathew H. Juan, 33, flashed a gun while robbing two employees at the restaurant at 305 Sunrise Blvd. before noon June 21, according to the Volusia County Sheriff’s Office.

No one was hurt. The robber ran into the woods.

Minutes later, an Orange City police officer spotted his getaway vehicle – a silver Ford SUV – in the area of Saxon Boulevard and Threadgill Place in Orange City and conducted a traffic stop.

2 witnesses

Deputies responded to the scene with two witnesses who identified Juan as the suspect. Deputies said they think he was homeless.

“Deputies also recovered cash from the wooded area near the Burger King where the SUV had been parked,” the Sheriff’s Office report said. “At the scene of the traffic stop, deputies noticed a piece greenery stuck to the back of the vehicle, as if it had been recently parked amid some brush and vegetation.”

Juan entered no-contest pleas to charges of robbery with a firearm/deadly weapon and false imprisonment.

Volusia County Circuit Judge James R. Clayton recently found him guilty and sentenced him to 12.5 years in state prison.

Clayton on Jan. 12 also declared Juan a habitual violent felon, meaning he’ll have to serve at least 10 years of his sentence.

Violent past

Juan has a violent criminal past, both as a juvenile and an adult, records show.

Records show Juan served more than three years in state prison before he was released in December 2012.

He was adjudicated guilty in Volusia County in 2007 after pleading no contest to charges of aggravated battery and aggravated assault.

Juan was accused of attacking his wife’s brother with a baseball bat in Edgewater.

State prison

He was placed on probation in the 2007 case but was charged the following year for violating his probation for allegedly attacking his wife.

A judge sentenced Juan to five years in prison with credit for 153 days in jail and five years of probation.

He entered the state prison system in March 2009 and left in December 2012.

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DeBary declares emergency for Fort Florida Road

Emergency repairs on the worst sections of Fort Florida Road could be underway as soon as next week after the City Council declared a public emergency Wednesday.

The narrow roadway is crumbling along the edges because of dump-truck traffic, prompting some drivers to swerve into oncoming traffic to avoid going off Fort Florida Road, officials said.

The City Council voted unanimously for the emergency declaration, giving Interim City Manager Ron McLemore the power to waive purchasing policies and make repairs as quickly as possible.

Henin Group’s share

McLemore said the work will cost about $53,000 and Henin Group — the developer of two subdivision expansions – will pay 80 to 90 percent under a road-maintenance agreement with the city.

Dump trucks – possibly ones only approved for construction sites and not traditional roadways – are hauling dirt from Springview and to Riviera Bella, causing heavy damage.

“Those are not street-legal dump trucks,” DeBary resident Howard Gates told City Council members.

He commented on photos provided by another resident showing extremely large trucks on Fort Florida Road – equipment only allowed on construction sites.

City Council member Stephen Bacon said Henin should pay for all of the repairs.

“It’s his trucks that are doing it, especially these,” Bacon said, referring to Henin Group founder Jerome Henin.

Head-on crash threat

Kevin Hare, the city’s construction manager, the roadway is rapidly deteriorating and is a public-safety hazard.

The risk of head-on crashes is increased, he said, because drivers trying to avoid the crumbling edges of roadway are veering into the oppositive travel lane, he said.

Fort Florida RoadDeBary Mayor Bob Garcia said he recently witnessed the dangers.

“I was out there this weekend and I had a vehicle in front of me that hit one of those soft spots and they did lose control,” Garcia said. “It went to the left or right on it.”

Called the worst road in the city, Fort Florida connects U.S. Highway 17-92 to West Highbanks Road, running between two water bodies – the 1,100-acre Konomac Lake and the St. Johns River.

Road failures

Fort Florida Road was paved about eight years ago using temporary asphalt meant to last roughly five to seven years.

Last spring, the City Council approved a quick-fix resurfacing plan for $183,000 for the worst sections of Fort Florida Road.

Ron McLemoreThe work authorized Wednesday will fix other sections, mainly ones between Barwick Road and  Riviera Bella, McLemore said.

“We think we can be at work next week if the weather will be reasonable,” McLemore said. “At 50 degrees and below, you don’t get asphalt. You have to wait until it warms up.”

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DeBary, Florida faces cold front, thunderstorms today





Get ready for a messy commute home this afternoon.

A gigantic cold front will sweep through Central Florida between 1 p.m. and 4 p.m. today, bringing thunderstorms and lightning. Twenty to 30-mph gusts are possible.

Saturday’s high will be in the 50s.

The front will drop temperatures into the mid-30s Saturday night into Sunday morning, according to the National Weather Service in Melbourne.

Saturday’s high will be 60.

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DeBary may pay $2K to settle suit against ex-Mayor Clint Johnson

A $2,000 settlement is being proposed to resolve a lawsuit filed by DeBary resident Colette Rowley against former Mayor Clint Johnson for an alleged verbal assault in 2015.

“On June 24, 2015 the plaintiff and Mayor Johnson got into an altercation that resulted [in the] plaintiff filing a suit against Mayor Johnson alleging ‘assault’ and ‘slander’ and the plaintiff demanding damages in the amount of $15,000.00,” a DeBary city staff report says.Clint Johnson

As others watched at City Hall, Johnson moved close to Rowley while telling her loudly she couldn’t attend a meeting because she spreads lies about him online, records allege.

The case is set for trial in February. DeBary staffers are recommending approval of the settlement. A message to Johnson wasn’t immediately returned.

The City Council is expected to act on the proposal Wednesday, Jan. 17.

A majority on the City Council removed Johnson from office in August 2016, saying he violated the charter by telling staffers what to do.

Johnson unsuccessfully challenged his removal by filing a lawsuit against the city.

Details of the alleged conflict between Rowley and Johnson are outlined in the court document below:

Colette Rowley vs Clint Johnson

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DeBary weather: Freezes over, 56-degree high today

After days of freeze warnings, DeBary and the rest of Central Florida will warm up a bit today. But not by much.

Today’s high will be 56 degrees in the River City. The lows will dip into the 30s overnight.

Sunday will be mostly sunny, with a high near 63.  The low overnight into Monday morning 51.

Monday’s high will be 72 degrees. There’s a 20 percent chance of showers Monday night.  The rain chance jumps to 40 percent Tuesday.

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DeBary Mayor Bob Garcia: I’m not running again

This year’s election season just took a surprise turn after Mayor Bob Garcia announced his political retirement.

Bob Garcia
Bob Garcia

During Wednesday’ s City Council meeting — the first of the New Year — Garcia revealed he would not seek another term.

“It’s been wonderful serving you,” Garcia said. The move leaves only one officially declared candidate – Louis Sweet — though an open seat will likely draw more hopefuls with months before the election.

Garcia, 67, was most recently elected a year ago, defeating two other challengers for the vacancy created by Clint Johnson’s removal from office.

Johnson was removed after four other City Council members said he violated the charter by trying to direct staffers. Johnson lost an appeal to overturn the decision and return to office.

Garcia said he will serve the remainder of his term, which ends on Dec. 31.

Garcia previously served as mayor from 2009 to 2014.

He resigned effective June 2014 to run an unsuccessful bid for the state House.

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Coyote spotted in DeBary, prompting concerns

DeBary residents are more accustomed to seeing bears in their neighborhoods. So Thursday’s rare coyote sighting prompted concerns from residents in the River City.

A driver snapped a photo of a coyote on Sanford Avenue near Wilson Road and posted it on the DeBary Proud Facebook page Thursday afternoon.

“Be careful with your pets and kids,” Evelyn Rodriguez wrote. “He didn’t seem scared at all by us stopping and taking a picture.”

FWC takes report

DeBary Life reported the coyote to the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission just before 1 p.m.

An officer who took the call said there was nothing the agency would do other than taking a report.

However, if a coyote is on your property, the officer said, the owner can trap or euthanize the intruder a humane way or hire someone to do it.

The agency says online that coyotes have been documented in all of Florida’s 67 counties.

‘Fear of people’

“Encounters between people and coyotes in Florida are occurring more often,” FWC says online. “As coyotes become used to people, they may lose some fear of people, so sightings of coyotes during the day may increase.”

You can report the animals at 888-404-3922.

People who responded to the Facebook post said coyotes have attacked their pets or chickens.

“Out in the middle of the day, absolutely no fear of human contact. Something that definitely needs to be addressed,” David Connors wrote on Facebook.

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SunRail announces special services on Dec. 28, Jan. 1

SunRail on Wednesday announced special train services on Dec 28 and Jan. 1.

The services are options for Orlando Bowl Game traffic on both days.

The Camping World Bowl will be at Camping World Stadium on Dec. 28. Virginia Tech and Oklahoma State are competing.

Overton’s Citrus Bowl, also at the same stadium, is on Jan. 1.

Special night trains on Dec. 28 will leave from LYNX Central Station at the following times:


  • 9:28 p.m.
  • 10:18 p.m.


  • 8:48 p.m.
  • 9:49 p.m.

SunRail added: “On New Year’s Day, SunRail is offering more than 11 hours of special service, with the first southbound train leaving DeBary at 8 a.m., and the last northbound train leaving Sand Lake Road at 6:15 p.m., arriving in DeBary at 7:18 p.m.”

Check for details at www.sunrail.com.

“This New Year’s Day special service provides a transportation option to those attending the Overton’s Citrus Bowl game featuring Notre Dame vs LSU at Camping World stadium in downtown Orlando,” SunRail noted.

“It also provides a transportation option for those who wish to try the train and tour local sites along the SunRail service area on New Year’s Day,” the agency added.

Shuttle bus service will be available between LYNX Central Station and Camping World Stadium for both athletic events.

Get details at www.golynx.com

DeBary felon flips off deputy, gets tires flattened

A DeBary felon flipped off a deputy before officers flattened the tires of his SUV on Interstate 4 in Deltona, records show.

Jonathan Kral, 42, remained behind bars after his alleged crime spree Friday.

Jonathan KralAfter stopping, Kral yelled at officers to shoot him and a deputy had to tackle him to get him into handcuffs.

Kral was charged with fleeing and eluding, resisting an officer with violence and other crimes.

Kral’s second arrest this month

It was his second arrest this month. He was arrested Dec. 6 in DeBary, accusing of driving without a valid license.

He threatened to kill officers and said a Jihad was coming to take out citizens, records show.

Kral is being held without bond at the Volusia County Branch Jail in Daytona Beach.

Behind the wheel

Kral was behind the wheel of a red Ford Explorer that passed too close a deputy conducting a traffic stop on U.S. Highway 17-92 and Saxon Boulevard just before 7 a.m. Dec. 16.

Sgt. Keith Peck attempted to stop the SUV at Saxon Boulevard east of Enterprise Road, but the vehicle continued moving.

Peck used his spotlight to get the driver’s attention. He later activated his siren, which was also ignored.

As the vehicle got into the turn lane to go east on Interstate 4, Peck turned off the siren and pulled alongside the vehicle when it was stopped for traffic.

Giving the ‘middle finger’

“Sgt. Peck pointed the spotlight into the driver’s area and could clearly see the driver eating something and then he gave Sgt. Peck the middle finger and continued to get on the highway,” a report said.

Peck followed, going under the speed limit, about 60 to 64 miles per hour, while other officers set up tire-deflating stop sticks on the highway at I-4 and State Road 472.

The sticks hit the right side tires and the right rear went flat.

The SUV pulled over at Mile Marker 115.

Kral got out and Peck drew his handgun, ordering the suspect to the ground. He refused and yelled at Peck to shoot him. Kral was talking to someone on his cellphone.

Officer tackled Kral

Peck holstered his firearm and drew his stun gun. But Kral was wearing a heavy coat – a factor that could impede the stun-gun’s impact.

Peck ran up behind Kral and tackled him to the ground and held him there until other officers arrived. He continued to resist, trying to throw off Peck. When after backup arrived, Kral continued to fight back, moving his head back and forth and scraping his face on the ground.

He was eventually cuffed and placed in a patrol vehicle. He threatened to kill deputies and fight them.

Deputies found marijuana, pot pipes and pills.

Long criminal history

Deputies later determined he had a 27-page criminal history, including 10 felonies, according to the Volusia County Sheriff’s Office.

He served less than a year in state prison for an October 2012 charge of aggravated assault and a May 2013 child-abuse charge, records show.

He was taken into state custody in July 2013 and released in March 2014.

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DeBary’s 2017 top stories: Irma, crime and medical marijuana

Crime, business and city government issues topped DeBary Life’s most popular stories in 2017.

Hurricane Irma

  • Hurricane Irma‘s impact, causing downed power lines and snapping tons of branches in September, also was a top issue for readers of the 4-year-old local news blog. The city’s rapid-response cleanup may end up costing local taxpayers $1 million, though city administrators pledged to get as much money from FEMA as possible.

Business, traffic

Hawthorne Landing makes big news

  • One of the biggest city-government stories this year was the September approval of a 289-unit apartment complex — the first project for DeBary’s transit-oriented development district. Construction on  could begin in spring 2018 with completion set for summer 2019,  said David McDaniel, president of Integra Land Development.  The project,  also called Integra 289 Exchange, is planned on 16 acres southeast of U.S. Highway 17-92 and Dirksen Drive on land commonly known as the Costa property.

Big crime stories

  • The fatal stabbing of Lisa Bresie in her Lantana Drive home and the November arrest of her former boyfriend, Anton Sanders, of Sanford.
  • Christopher Langer


    Also in November, readers on stories about Christopher Langer, who is accused of keeping bomb-making materials and bottles of urine in his parents’ home in Saxon Woods.

  • The arrest of DeBary resident Clay Curtsinger in the fatal shooting of his girlfriend’s ex in Orange County also was a top story.

More big city news

The approval of an ordinance in December allowing medical marijuana dispensaries under certain conditions in DeBary rounded out DeBary Life’s top 10 list.

What was your top DeBary story in 2017?

Share your thoughts here or on Facebook at https://www.facebook.com/debarynews.

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