Arrest ResponseMar 5th, 2013 | By Submitted | Category: Crime, Front Page
Madison County Sheriff Ben Stewart is taking the opportunity to respond to a recent case that has generated numerous inquiries. On Sunday night March 3, 2013 at 10:19 PM, David Cliff Richardson and Heather Elaine Webb were arrested and charged with Loitering or Prowling and Possession of Burglary Tools. The facts of this case are as follows:
Earlier during the day of March 3, 2013 the Madison County Road Department and Sheriff’s Office located barricades at River Park Road and River Timber Loop. The public boat ramp on River Park Road was still accessible, however just around the bend the rising water was rushing across River Park Road (This being the same location of a tragic loss of life as a result of drowning during the flood in 2009). Deputies had just completed rescuing two men and four animals by airboat that were visiting from South Florida and got trapped by the flood on River Ridge Road just south of the boat ramp.
Simultaneously, the Madison County Sheriff’s Office was in the process of launching a second boat for Security Patrol and Rescue responses. Deputies were stationed at the barricades to prevent motorist from driving down to the boat ramp and the water rushing across the road. At approximately 12:00 PM David Cliff Richardson drove up to the barricades in a 2005 White Chevy Trail Blazer co-registered to Heather Elaine Webb. Webb was a passenger in the Trail Blazer. Deputies informed Richardson that the road was closed and no access was allowed. Richardson told the Deputies that he would turn around, instead he continued to drive down pass the boat ramp and around to the water crossing the road. Another Deputy in an unmarked Sheriff’s Office truck left the boat ramp to make contact with Richardson. When the Deputy located Richardson he was turning around at the water. Richardson left the area.
Due to the rising water all vehicles had to be moved from the boat ramp back to the barricades at River Timber Loop and a second set of barricades were set up at River Park Road and Juniper Drive.
A few hours later the MCSO patrol boat located Richardson, Webb and another male subject at a residence they had accessed by boat. Again they were instructed to leave the flood area without incident.
On this same date but now 10:19 PM, David Cliff Richardson and Heather Elaine Webb returned to the barricades located at River Park Road driving the same white Chevrolet blazer, stopped briefly, backed up and then drove over the barricade pushing it out of place and breaking the Sheriff’s Office “DO NOT CROSS” tape. A deputy was located at the intersection of Juniper and River Park Road witnessing the actions of Webb and Richardson and immediately activated emergency lights and conducted a traffic stop on the vehicle.
Richardson immediately exited the passenger side of the vehicle and started approaching the Deputy before being ordered to stop. Richardson repeatedly refused to follow the directions of the officer and was secured in hand restraints while the deputy spoke with the driver. The driver, Heather Webb, advised that she was following Richardson’s direction to drive through the barricades. Richardson made several statements of discrepancy regarding 3 different properties he owned that he wanted to check and then changing his story to knowing that he could not get to his properties because they were under water to finally stating that he just wanted to look at the water.
Both occupants were arrested and charged with loitering or prowling. Incident to arrest, a vehicle inventory discovered bolt cutters, wire cutters, claw hammer and gloves conveniently located and obviously placed in an orderly fashion just inside the back hatch of the Chevrolet blazer next to a cooler of alcoholic beverage. There was also an open container of alcoholic beverage inside the vehicle.
Additional charges of possession of burglary tools were added to both occupants.
Sheriff Stewart explains that prior to this specific incident, there was ample opportunity for these defendants to communicate and coordinate with Sheriff’s Office personnel their concerns and/or assistance. However they chose a vigilante approach which warranted consequences.
Sheriff Stewart further explains that it is the duty and authority of his Office to protect and serve the many citizens that have been forced to evacuate the flooded area and leave their valuables behind. The Sheriff’s Office will continue to do their duties and responsibilities and enforce the law regarding trespassing, loitering or prowling and burglary. There are 20 road closures spanning from North of Bellville on the Withlacoochee River to South of Boundary Bend on the Suwannee River. The Sheriff’s Office is utilizing every resource to promote safety and compliance. The barricades are in place for a purpose and for those that choose to violate the law there will be consequences.
Sheriff Stewart greatly appreciates the cooperation of the many citizens affected by the flood during this crisis and encourages everyone to exercise caution while the river is at flood level and to contact the Sheriff’s Office with any questions or concerns.