Tag Archives: debary

Tori Otway killed: Teen dies in DeBary rollover crash

Friends and family members shared prayers, sympathy and sorrow after the death of 19-year-old Tori Otway in a single-vehicle rollover crash in DeBary on Sunday.

“Prayers go out to you and your family,” a Facebook user told Otway’s uncle.

The cause of the crash remains under investigation, said Laura Williams, a spokesman for the Volusia County Sheriff’s Office.

The crash investigation closed Shell Road for about nine hours, according to Williams. Orange City Fire Rescue pronounced her dead at the scene.

Otway was ejected from the 2003 Ford Escape SUV she was driving when it landed on its passenger side in parking area at 475. S. Shell Road. That’s in an industrial and commercial area south of the Springview subdivision.

“She was not wearing a seat belt,” Williams said in a statement. Otway was the only occupant.

She graduated from Deltona High School in 2016 and attended Daytona State College, according to her Facebook page.

Public records list her address as Deltona but she had recently been staying with a friend in DeBary.

Williams said Otway drove from the home at 1:10 a.m.

“Investigators said she drove west on Benson Junction, turned onto South Shell Road northbound, and the vehicle left the roadway, struck a curb and re-entered the roadway,” the statement said.

“The vehicle crossed the road and flipped onto its side, then rolled onto its roof in a parking area at 475 S. Shell Road.


DeBary murder suspect Anton Sanders left hateful message, report said

The Sanford man accused of fatally stabbing a DeBary woman in her home left behind a profanity-laced message on his ex-girlfriend’s answering machine, a new document shows.

Anton Sanders, 45, is being held without bond in the Volusia County Branch Jail in Daytona Beach on a charge of first-degree murder.

The ex-boyfriend is accused of killing 51-year Lisa Bresie in her home on Lantana Drive.

In his arrest affidavit, released this week, deputies said they found her body and spotted multiple stab wounds while conducting a well-being check. They also found a message from Sanders on her answering machine, the affidavit said.

It was mostly profanity.

A family member and a friend told deputies Sanders had abused Bresie in the past and they broke up sometime this summer. They had not seen her since Nov. 1 and were concerned about her safety.

Sanders was with her vehicle when the Florida Highway Patrol responded to a report of an impaired man showing signs of distress along Interstate 275 in Pinellas County on Thursday, the Sheriff’s Office said.

He had her blood-spattered Hyundai and the keys to her vehicle.

Sanders, also wearing blood-stained clothing, tried to throw himself over a wall that separated the highway from the water below during questioning by the Florida Highway Patrol.

He was transported to a hospital in St. Petersburg as a precaution.

“Sanders was transported to a local hospital for medical evaluation and subsequently admitted to the hospital due to a high amount of cocaine in this body,” a report released this week said

During an interview with officers at the hospital on Nov. 6, he admitted they were no longer a couple but said she would let him drive her car on times.

The Volusia County Sheriff’s Office on Monday said a fingerprint found in blood inside the house came back as a match to Sanders.

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Bridge closure infuriates U.S. 17-92 motorists

Central Florida drivers were left furious and confused during rush hour on Friday after the northbound lanes of U.S. Highway 17-92 were closed in DeBary.

The closure, which ends Monday morning, is affecting the bridge over the St. Johns River and a section of the highway between Sanford and DeBary.

The $3 million project is preparation for a multi-use trail on the bridge and to resurface U.S. 17-92 between the river and Dirksen Drive.

Facebook complaints

Drivers took to Facebook on Friday, blasting everything from the project itself to detour signs providing bad directions.

“The signs are inaccurate, and I just spent an hour getting to a detour that spit me back to where I started,”  Tim Kearney said on DeBary Proud!’s Facebook page. “That’s just poor planning, and a failure. Whoever approved this execution plan should lose their job, or their office. I’d love to find out the details of how I can complain.”

The Florida Department of Transportation announced the project last month, then made adjustments, including delaying the start date from Oct. 31 to Nov. 10. It originally said both lanes were closed. Then it said only northbound lanes would be blocked.

Lane closures

The northbound lanes closed at 6 a.m. Friday, Nov. 10.

The lanes will reopen by 6 a.m. Monday, Nov. 13.

“The St. Johns River Bridge will have barrier wall removed to accommodate the future 10-foot wide multiuse Spring-to-Spring trail,” the Florida DOT said in an email.  “Electronic message boards have been installed to inform motorists about the road closure, and detour signs will direct traffic.”

‘Necessary Evil’

Some Volusia County drivers said they didn’t know about the closure before going to Seminole County on Friday.

Taco delivery

One DeBary woman ordered a taco delivered to her while she was stuck in traffic on State Road 46 in Sanford.

Returning to southwest Volusia took hours for some people Friday night.

One woman said it took her three hours to get home.

On the You Live in DeBary page, Prissy Cris said: “It is terrible that such a heavily used route is closed. I believe it’s a necessary evil. What they are doing is very important for the structure and postponing it or not doing it at all would be endangering those who use the bridge.”

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DeBary OKs medical marijuana rules on 1st reading

In a historic vote, a majority of DeBary City Council members on Wednesday gave initial support for an ordinance allowing medical marijuana dispensaries in the city under certain restrictions.

DeBary City Council  member Erika Benfield cast the lone dissenting vote, saying dispensary rules are not needed because no one is applying for one in DeBary. Besides, she added, a dispensary already exists a just a short drive away — in Deltona.

City Council member Mike Brady said studies show no public health threat from dispensaries and residents should have control of their communities.

“So it’s not the scare tactics that I want to look at it. It’s the facts,” Brady said. “We are past the Reefer Madness — the potheads on the corner. Those things don’t happen anymore.”

Voter Approval

Florida voters in 2016 overwhelmingly approved a constitutional amendment allowing medical marijuana. Local jurisdictions across are grappling with limited options on how to regulate dispensaries through zoning.

The beneficiaries of dispensaries are not small-business owners, but are “big giants” and “big dogs,” including businesses that also sell recreational marijuana in other parts of the U.S., Benfield argued.

“This is not a vote just about medical marijuana. This is a vote about opening up our storefront retail location to a big-box giant,” Benfield said.

‘Very Little Restriction’

“I support the legalization of medical marijuana for sick patients.  It’s been approved already, and since we don’t have any applicants to consider, I will vote against a resolution that opens the door with very little restriction as to where it should be in DeBary.”

DeBary Mayor Bob Garcia said he’s heard from residents for years who have asked for medical marijuana dispensaries for medical and mental health issues. That includes fellow veterans, including some suffering from PTSD (posttraumatic stress disorder).

“I had brothers that came up and said to me they go to Colorado on regular basis,” Garcia said. Recreational marijuana is legal in that state.

Second Vote

In DeBary, a second vote is needed for final approval of the ordinance for medical marijuana dispensaries.

As proposed,  dispensaries would be allowed in the same commercial and industrial areas where pharmacies are permitted.

Dispensaries wouldn’t be allowed within 500 feet of an elementary school under the proposal.

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U.S. 17-92 bridge closure pushed back, only NB lanes affected

Editor’s note: The FDOT announced Monday that only northbound lanes of the U.S. Highway 17-92 bridge will close and the project will start at 6 a.m. Nov. 10.


The closure of the U.S. Highway 17-92 bridge is being pushed back and only northbound lanes will be blocked, the Florida Department of Transportation announced Monday.

The Florida DOT originally announced the bridge over the St. Johns River would close for three days starting Tuesday and both south and northbound lanes would be affected.

However, it later announced the closure will actually begin at 6 a.m. Nov. 10 and end at 6 a.m. Nov. 13. The DOT said:

  • Northbound traffic – from Sanford to DeBary ~
    — will be detoured
  • Southbound traffic – from DeBary to Sanford
    — will be unaffected

The closure is for the construction of a $3 million shared-use lane for bicyclists, joggers and other trail users.

The Florida Department of Transportation is  adding a “shared-use path” on the bridge.

The path will close a half-mile gap in the Coast to Coast Connector, the FDOT said in a statement Friday.


“The project begins just south of Wayside Park in Volusia County, proceeds over the St. Johns River on the US 17/92 bridge and ends at the entrance to Lake Monroe Park in Seminole County,” the statement said.

Economic Assets

DeBary and many other jurisdictions see trails as economic assets.

Coast to Coast Connector will eventually link St. Petersburg with Titusville, according to the  Florida Greenways & Trails Foundation’s website.

“This connector will be the first of its kind in Florida and has already fueled the economic revitalization of communities along its route such as Dunedin and Winter Garden,” the website says.  The connector “is a major priority within the Florida Greenways and Trails System Plan developed by the Office of Greenways and Trails and has already fueled the economic revitalization of communities along its route such as Dunedin and Winter Garden. ”

DeBary is also along the route for another trail, the St. Johns River to Sea Loop, a 300-trail linking St. Augustine to Titusville with a route along the coast and through west Volusia.

Spring-to-Spring Trail

A segment of that passageway called the Spring-to-Spring Trail got a boost from the DeBary City Council in July.

Council members directed staffers to work with Volusia County to close a 6-mile trail gap, preferably using state grant funds, between Orange City and DeBary.

“We want the trail very badly,” DeBary Golf & Country Club resident Denise Walton told council members at the July meeting.  “We know it will help our property values. We don’t want to see it disappear.”

The calls for connecting Blue Spring State Park in Orange City to Gemini Springs Park in DeBary with a continuous recreational trail.

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DeBary prescription-drug dropoff today

Hey, DeBary residents. Got pills you don’t need?

Join thousands of others across the country today by cleaning out your medicine cabinets of unwanted and unneeded prescription drugs during National Prescription Drug Take-Back Day.

The dropoff location in DeBary is at the Volusia County Sheriff’s Office district station at 79 S. Charles Beall Blvd., DeBary.  Call  (386) 668-3830 for details.

It’s easy. It’s free. It’s safe.

“No questions asked. This is a great way to prevent drug addiction, overdose deaths or accidental ingestion by children,” Laura Williams, a spokeswoman for the Volusia County Sheriff’s Office said in a statement.

The DeBary location is among roughly 5,000 across the country participating in the drug-safety, environmentally friendly initiative.

“Disposing of leftover painkillers or other addictive medicines in the house is one of the best ways to prevent a member of your family from becoming a victim of the opioid epidemic,” DEA Acting Administrator Robert W. Patterson said in a statement. “More people start down the path of addiction through the misuse of opioid prescription drugs than any other substance. The abuse of these prescription drugs has fueled the nation’s opioid epidemic, which has led to the largest rate of overdose deaths this country has ever seen.”

Three other locations in Volusia County are also taking unwanted pills:

  • 1691 Providence Blvd., Deltona; (386) 860-7030
  • 1435 U.S. 1, Suite D-3, Ormond Beach; (386) 323-0151
  • 101 E. Canal Street, New Smyrna Beach; (386) 423-3301

The dropoffs are open from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m.

“For those who miss Saturday’s event, the Sheriff’s Office offers a continuous program where residents can drop off unwanted prescription drugs at a district office or make arrangements to have a deputy pick up their unwanted prescription medicine by calling the Sheriff’s Office’s Communications Center (386-248-1777),” Williams said.

More than 4,000 jurisdictions — including local, tribal, and community partners — are participating, the DEA said.

“The effort will help prevent these drugs, including opioids, from falling into the wrong hands and contributing to a lethal drug abuse epidemic in the United States,” the U.S. Department of Justice said in a statement.

“The DEA action comes just days after President Donald J. Trump announced the mobilization of his entire Administration to address drug addiction and opioid abuse by directing the declaration of a Nationwide Public Health Emergency to address the opioids crisis,” the statement added.

More than 450 tons (900,000 pounds) of prescription drugs were turned in at nearly 5,500 dropoffs in April.

“Today the United States is facing the worst drug crisis in our history, as more Americans are dying from drug overdoses than ever before,” U.S. Attorney General Jeff Sessions said in a statement. “We lose one American life to drugs every nine minutes. This crisis affects every American, as it is filling up our emergency rooms, our foster homes, and our cemeteries.”

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DeBary center task force backs $42K for ‘due diligence’

The DeBary City Council will soon consider shelling out more than $40,000 as plans move forward for a multimillion-dollar community center.

A council-appointed task force recently backed a request to spend an estimated  $42,500 for studies and a deposit on roughly 7 acres next to the DeBary SunRail station.

The council must approve the expenditures for the costs of “due diligence” on the property, which is being considered for a proposed $12.5 million community center.

The land was once the home of Lake Villa Estates. The mobile-home park was cleared after residents were told to leave in 2015.

It has since been considered as a possible home for a proposed taxpayer funded community center because of its location within a key growth zone along U.S. Highway 17-92.

Support expressed

DeBary City Council has expressed support for a center to residents a variety of services, including exercise and gathering opportunities.  But it has not yet scheduled a referendum for voter approval.

Voter approval is needed for the city to issue bonds to raise revenue for the project.

The city estimates the project would cost $1.5 million for the land and an additional $11 million for construction.

The council appointed nine residents to a task force to study the proposal.

In June, the DeBary City Council endorsed a recommendation from the task force to pursue the project, saying the panel should work with city staffers on details and develop a public-education campaign for voters.

DeBary City Council: Sell $12M center to public

On Oct. 11, the Community Center Task Force gathered to consider recommendations from city staffers about initial costs to evaluate the 7-acre property, an alternative parcel near Rob Sullivan Park off Highbanks Road or both.

Task Force Support

The task force stuck with its top pick, the 7-acre parcel, endorsing a recommendation from staff to spend an estimated  $42,500  for standard “due diligence” costs.

“It’s a normal part of doing this,” Interim City Manager Ron McLemore told task force members.  He also noted that if the city won’t lose money if it put money into the land even if voters reject the bond measure. That’s because the value of the land is expected to increase, he said.

The city already owns about 3 acres nearby, another factor cited as a reason to support the 7-acre property.

The expenditures, which must be approved by the City Council, calls for spending:

  • $12,000 for two environmental studies
  • $5,500 for a real estate appraisal and title search
  • $25,000 for a “soft contract” deposit

The City Council is expected to consider the expenditures before the holidays, but an exact date wasn’t immediately available.

Center Vision

The vision for the center calls for an indoor running track, workout room, kitchen, meeting rooms and other amenities.

As proposed, the two-story building would have more than 40,000 square feet of space and 150 parking spaces.

The center’s operation and maintenance cost are estimated at $561,000. Room rental fees and other charges would generate about $250,000, leaving a deficit of about $311,000.

The property sits inside a roughly 200-acre transit-oriented district (TOD) targeted for a mix of uses, including residential and commercial.

TOD’s First Project

The DeBary City Council recently approved the first project since the TOD was approved.

The council approved an incentive package worth $180,000 and a development plan for a 289-unit apartment complex with an estimated value of $25 million.

Hawthorne Landing (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.

That’s north of the SunRail station and the 7-acre parcel.

Construction on Hawthorne Landing could begin in spring 2018 with completion set for summer 2019.

DeBary Community Center

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DeBary gears up to celebrate on Oct. 26.

Sure, you live in DeBary. But does that mean you’re ready to celebrate DeBary? Well, you have a few days to think about it.

The party is 6 p.m. 9 p.m. Thursday,  Oct. 26 at City Hall, Florence K. Little Hall, the old fire station and the new fire station off U.S. Highway 17-92.

“Meet your neighbors and City staff, discover new community organizations, see your City facilities, and learn about the many services provided by the City of DeBary,” a city flier says.

Participants can expect:

  • Fire vs police competitions
  • Police and fire demonstrations
  • Tour city facilities
  • Best kids police/fire costume contest

This is about DeBary taking part in Florida City Government Week 2017, which runs from October 23-29.

“Join Florida’s cities this year in celebrating, showcasing and engaging citizens in the work of municipal government,” the Florida League of Cities said online. “The Florida City Government Week is a time for municipalities to provide and foster civic education, collaboration, volunteerism and more. All cities are encouraged to participate, and the League is here to help you celebrate what makes your city great.”

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Duke Energy slammed by otherwise thankful DeBary Mayor Bob Garcia

DeBary Diner got a shout out for providing free meals to city workers during Hurricane Irma.  Walmart and Winn-Dixie were praised.

Walgreens got attaboys for filling prescriptions during the emergency. Gas stations received thanks for calling DeBary Mayor Bob Garcia about fuel shipments.

But Duke Energy got a failing grade from Garcia.

“I have issues with Duke Energy and how they went about it, ” Garcia said during Wednesday’s council meeting. “Yes, they need a lot of fixing. Yes, they need to turn around and hire more people.”

Florida Power & Light responded within 48 hours and had 98 percent of customers’ power restored after Hurricane Irma, Garcia said.

“Duke Energy took almost nine to 10 days before they turned around and addressed the issue of power in the city of DeBary,” Garcia said.

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DeBary Hurricane Irma debris cleanup at halfway point

Roughly half of the debris from Hurricane Irma has been picked up since the storm hit Florida, DeBary City Council members learned Wednesday.

City contractors have cleared about 30,000 cubic yards of debris — about twice as much as originally expected for the entire job,  Alan Williamson, the city’s director of public works, told city council members.

The debris pickup is expected to continue for another two weeks.

Williamson said the cleanup will cost more than originally expected, though how much more wasn’t immediately clear.

Two weeks ago, the City Council approved a rapid-pickup plan for $540,000, hiring two contractors – Waste Pro and DRC – to pick up from public roads,  as well as from private roads in gated subdivisions.

That plan was approved when the city estimated it had about 15,000 cubic yards to pick up.

The council praised Williamson and other staffers for their hard work before, during and after the storm.

Williamson said the city provided more than 8,000 sandbags to residents before the storm.

Nearly 30 large trees fell and were removed by staffers during Irma, Williamson noted.

He said nearly 12 inches of rain fell during Irma and no homes flooded.

Homes in the River City flooded in 2004 and 2008.

Since then, the city installed $30 million worth of stormwater upgrades.

“Zero flooding, Mr. McLemore,” an appreciative Mayor Bob Garcia told interim City Manager Ron McLemore. “Zero flooding. The system worked.”

Tropical Storm Fay in 2008 dumped close to 24 inches of rain in 24 hours on parts of West Volusia in 2008, overflowing lakes, putting streets underwater and flooding 130 homes in DeBary.

City staffers pledged to try for reimbursement from the Federal Emergency Management Agency for costs associated with Hurricane Irma debris removal.

FEMA already owes DeBary nearly $400,000 for Hurricane Matthew, which hit Central Florida a year ago.

In other actions Wednesday:

The DeBary City Council gave initial approval to a zoning change for an assisted-living facility.

The 40-foot, three-story Canterwood Manor Assisted Living Facility is planned on nearly 8 acres northeast of U.S. Highway 17-92 and Dirksen Drive.

The 120-bed facility will replace two existing single-family rental homes on property owned by Charles and Saundra Grey of DeBary.

Council members also gave second approval to a 289-unit apartment complex planned on the other side of Dirksen Drive.

Construction on Hawthorne Landing could begin in spring 2018 with completion set for summer 2019.

Hawthorne Landing (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.