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News Story
Updated: 04/12/2014 08:00:01AM

Man stuck with hammer two times

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Damaso Lugo

Melinda Baker

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Travis Sentell Byrd, 33, of 1810 E. Georgia St., was charged March 29 with domestic violence after allegedly punching a woman. Reports also say he was struck in the head twice with a hammer, according to the Bartow Police Department.

Police say Byrd told a different story than the woman did, who is five months pregnant with her and Byrd’s baby.

The woman said Byrd pushed her onto the bed and began punching her in the face. After he stopped both went into the kitchen where she said he continued to punch her. In her defense she grabbed a hammer that was on top of the refrigerator. This made Byrd even more upset, she told police, and he grabbed her throat with one hand and and punched her in the right eye, police reported.

She then hit Byrd twice on top of his head but he continued punching her, she said. He stopped punching her when he realized he was bleeding. He demanded the woman call 911.

When this happened the woman ran outside and Byrd followed.

That’s where they met up with the police.

Officers saw a swelling on the victim’s face and minor scratch marks on her right wrist. They determined she did not need medical attention at the scene.

Byrd told police the woman and he were “horse playing” and there was no violence. He said he injured his head when he slipped on the tile floor. After being asked a few times if he was attacked, he maintained the story, police reported.

Byrd was then arrested and after he was read his rights, he told police he was trying to get his phone and leave the house but the woman would not let him leave. He said the woman got a hammer and attacked him for no reason.

Because of the injuries Byrd was taken to Bartow Medical Center and then taken to the Polk County Jail.

Man charged with sleeping outside business

William Blake Clark, 41, of 3837 Pioneer Trails Blvd. E., Lakeland, was charged with trespassing and resisting an officer on March 26. An employee of the Moody Law Group went to work and found Clark sleeping at the rear door and asked him to leave. The employee told Clark to leave and issued him a trespass warning, police reported.

Reports say Clark said OK but he didn’t move, and Clark then laid down. He said he was not leaving because it is cold. The employee told him he’d be arrested if he didn’t leave. When police came and got him to rise, he went tense to avoid being handcuffed, police reported. Eventually defeated, Clark was escorted into the police car.

Man charged with battery on girlfriend

Thomas Harris Campbell was arrested March 28 and charged for trying to choke his girlfriend, the Bartow Police Department reports.

Reports say Campbell was found and arrested at West Vine Street and South Sunset Avenue for strangulation and battery.

Campbell and his girlfriend were in a verbal argument about having sex when he grabbed his girlfriend around the throat as she was in bed, police reported. He had this grip for about a minute when the victim rolled them onto the floor. Campbell then put his right foot on her throat again choking her, the police reported.

The girlfriend hit Campbell with a plate that was on the floor to stop him and she was able to get away and run out of the house. She returned into the house while calling the police. She said she was injured in the incident.

Upon observance police saw redness around the girl’s throat and a scratch on her left leg, they searched for Campbell and he was arrested without incident, they reported.

The victim refused medical attention, police reported.

Man charged after knocking out girlfriend

C.L. Austin, 54, of 1125 Britts Lane, was charged with domestic violence on March 31 after apparently knocking out his girlfriend, the Bartow Police Department reports.

Austin and his girlfriend allegedly got into an argument because she didn’t want him to eat in the living room. She took his plate and placed it in the kitchen.

Reports say Austin hit the woman with a water bottle then pushed her onto the ground, and then stomped on the victim’s face. The woman told police she doesn’t remember anything else after that but complained her right hand hurt as if someone stepped on it, police reported.

When the victim was able to get up, she grabbed her purse and headed to the police department.

Police returned with her to house and Austin, whom police said smelled of alcohol, was asked if anything happened. Reports note he said, “Nothing happened. Why would I be here if something would have happened?”

However, he was arrested, police reported.

Man charged with hitting sister

Clifford Earl Washington, 30, of 1050 Golfview Ave., Apt. 1007, was charged March 31 with battery for punching his sister in the face, the Bartow Police Department reports.

The woman told police she and Washington were arguing and he became angry and hit her on the left side of her face, knocking off her eyeglasses.

Washington then left the place. Police found and arrested him at 2085 Macon St. He did not appear to require medical treatment, police reported.

Bus driver recovering after wreck

A school bus aide is expected to recover after being struck by a student driving to Frostproof High School on April 4, according to the Polk County Sheriff’s Office.

Debra Singletary, 53, of 228 Chesney Blvd., Frostproof, sustained what a sheriff’s office spokeswoman said were “non-life threatening” injuries after being struck by a Mercury Grand Marquis operated by Travis Lawton, 18, of 807 Seminole Ave., Avon Park.

Singletary was airlifted to Lakeland Regional Medical Center with serious injuries, including a broken pelvis and broken leg, and was listed in stable condition after the mishap. She also had a minor head injury.

According to information from the sheriff’s office, the accident occurred around 6:40 a.m., just a couple hundred yards north of the intersection of Scenic Highway and County Road 630.

Reports indicated Singletary was attempting to cross Scenic Highway from McDonald’s to the parking lot of the vacant Foodway supermarket. The spokesperson indicated that drivers and aides “have a morning routine” where they park buses in the large lot then cross the highway to McDonald’s, and then cross the highway a second time to get back to the buses.

Reports indicated that Singletary “stepped out in front” of the Mercury, which was heading north on Scenic. Reports also indicated Singletary impacted the driver’s right front corner of the car, and that her head and body hit the windshield of the vehicle before falling to the pavement. The spokesperson said Lawton stopped his car, and that a portion of Singletary’s body rolled and landed under the stopped car.

Police noted that there is a crosswalk at the intersection of Scenic and 630, but that Singletary “was not utilizing it,” and that “it was still dark out during the time of this incident.”

The investigation is continuing. Scenic Highway was closed for a time in both directions while the accident scene was cleared.

Meth dealer arrested

John Matthew, 53, of 2262 Lake Ariana Blvd, Auburndale April 8 for trafficking in methamphetamine and other charges, the Polk County Sheriff’s Office reports.

While surveilling his home yesterday, detectives saw Matthew bending over in an apparent attempt to retrieve something from the bushes outside his home. Detectives contacted Matthew and discovered approximately one kilo of methamphetamine in the bushes outside his home, a report said.

Matthew was found to have a digital scale, baggies with methamphetamine residue and a drug ledger on his person at the time of contact. A search of the residence revealed other miscellaneous drug paraphernalia.

Matthew told detectives he is a methamphetamine drug dealer and was arrested without incident, police report.

He was charged with: trafficking methamphetamine, maintaining a residence for drug trafficking, and possession of drug paraphernalia. Matthew has 10 previous arrests in Polk County on 31 charges, police reported.

Working on this with the Polk County HIDTA Task Force includes the Polk County Sheriff’s Office, Bartow Police Department, Winter Haven Police Department, Lake Wales Police Department, Haines City Police Department, and Florida Department of Law Enforcement.

Police seeking Operation Hoodoo Voodoo suspects

As a result of an investigation begun in October, 2013, on Tuesday, March 18, Polk County Sheriff’s Office High Intensity Drug Trafficking Areas Task Force detectives and other agencies identified 25 suspects involved in an organized drug trafficking enterprise.

Among the suspects who have warrants and are still at-large are Damaso Lugo and Melinda Baker and detectives need the public’s help in locating these two suspects.

They should be considered armed and dangerous, the sheriff’s office reports.

The pair may be in the Wabash area of Polk County. Lugo has two aliases, “Jonathan Castillo” and “Marshall.” He is 5-foot-5, 135-150 pounds. His girlfriend, Baker, AKA “Flaca” is 5-foot-11, 175 pounds.

Lugo, 30, of 908 Ruth Ave., Lakeland, is wanted for conspiracy to traffic in methamphetamine, trafficking in methamphetamine, and unlawful use of two-way communication device.

Baker, 34, of 908 Ruth Ave., Lakeland, is wanted for conspiracy to traffic in methamphetamine, trafficking in methamphetamine, and unlawful use of two-way communication device.

To help, people can call 1-800-226-TIPS where he or she can remain anonymous.


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