We don’t know what it is about Florida. Or Florida Man and Florida Woman.
Maybe it’s the heat. Maybe it’s the humidity. Maybe it’s the red tide. Because people sure tend to behave differently down here than other parts of the nation.
Here’s our list of strangest and zaniest stories of 2018. We can’t call it the best of the best because we don’t want to celebrate other people’s misdeeds or misfortunes.
We admit, gathering this compilation wasn’t easy. How do you choose from so much wackiness? Let’s put it this way: If Santa existed, these following folks would be getting some serious coal in their stockings.
For Shanetta Yvette Wilson, a Dania Beach woman, a ferocious fart while waiting in line at a Dollar General store led to her arrest on a charge of aggravated assault with a deadly weapon without intent to kill. It wasn’t her flatulence. Rather, BSO says that when a customer next to her complained about her breaking wind loudly, she allegedly pulled a small knife from her purse, “and told the victim she was going to ‘gut’ him,” the police report said.
In the course of being questioned over a grand theft, William Dwayne Washington got himself into a completely different jam. During the investigation, a deputy from the Marion County Sheriff’s Office asked if there was anything in the suspect’s pockets. Out came a plastic bag full of a brown substance that Washington identified as his “daily vitamins.” The material was tested. Nope. Heroin.
Talk about stress while traveling. John Greenwood caused his share amount of drama at Daytona Beach International Airport. Bodycam footage provided by the Volusia County Sheriff’s Office showed the suspect emerge from a men’s room buck naked (save for black socks) and threaten to blow up the place. The airport was briefly closed, but no explosives were found. Cops later said Greenwood was coming off a night of doing heavy drugs.
Emma Lee Powell, 32, of Riviera Beach, apparently hadn’t fully figured out how the Uber ridesharing app works. According to the Palm Beach County Sheriff’s Office, Powell misused the 911 emergency system in November when she called police to ask them to help her “arrange an Uber ride.” Then, once inside the driver’s car, the called 911 again to ask for water. That’s when officers had had enough.
Sometimes you just want a cold one. Most people of legal age head to a bar or the liquor store. But Jennifer Sue Sunday, kind of like our Uber rider in Palm Beach (see above), considered her desire for alcohol important enough to call 911. Twice. In about a four-hour span. According to the Pinellas County Sheriff’s Office, the St. Petersburg resident phoned once at around noon, then again at around 4, saying she had a “medical issue.” When paramedics arrived after the second call, Sunday was visibly intoxicated, and told the EMT crew she “needed beer.”
Domick Breedlove, a 24-year-old Central Florida man, went in for a job interview at the Kohl’s store in Brooksville. Hernando County Sheriff’s deputies say he didn’t get the job because as soon as the interview was over Breedlove stole two pairs of women’s Nike shoes. When charged with retail theft, Breedlove told cops they were intended as a gift for his mom.
Last spring, a $5 million class-action lawsuit was filed in Fort Lauderdale federal court by Cynthia Kissner, of Broward County, and Leonard Werner, of Miami-Dade. The pair say they had to pay for cheese they didn’t want on their Quarter Pounder sandwiches. The fast food giant prevailed when U.S. District Judge William Dimitrouleas dismissed the case, saying the complaint was “absurd.” The U.S. Chamber Institute for Legal Reform later ranked the Florida duo’s Quarter Pounder with Cheese filing No. 8 on its Top 10 Most Ridiculous Lawsuits of 2018.
Cheez-Its are a great snack: The baked snack crackers have just the right mix of savory and salty. But are they worth fighting over? One Florida man thought so. Kerry Knudsen, of St. Augustine, was arrested for hitting his son “with a closed fist” after the kid cleared out the box, according to the St. John’s Sheriff’s Office. Alcohol was involved.
Home-baked cookies can be so much better than store-bought. But here’s the rub: You have to keep an eye on them to make sure they don’t overcook. Cops from the Niceville Police Department assisted firefighters in battling a blaze at the home of James Gregory Cunningham, who answered the door of his smoke-filled home naked, drunk and high. “James showed no sign of understanding the danger he was in,” read the incident report, which added the wannabe baker was using a George Foreman grill. No arrest was made.
Cooking naked isn’t the only trick for the Florida Man. This one, Kerry Haynes, 57, was “working out” in the nude on the stationary bike in his community gym near his Orlando apartment. When a gym employee said he called the cops, Haynes strolled outside. Police say a landscaper at the complex told them Haynes took a leak in the pool and then laid in the grass and masturbated.
Jonathan Crenshaw is a true South Beach character: He has no arms, but using his feet, he has painted before passersby for years on the streets. But Miami Beach police say over the summer, the 46-year-old homeless man stabbed a Chicago tourist by clutching a pair of scissors with his feet. The visitor said he and his companion had merely asked Crenshaw for directions when the artist jumped up and stabbed him.
Sometimes the geography alone can make an outsider act like a Florida Man. Case in point: A Woodbine, Georgia, man was on Fernandina Beach when a woman told a Nassau County Sheriff’s Office deputy that she saw him masturbating. Raymond Joseph Martz, 62, was arrested on a misdemeanor charge of exposing his sexual organs. Martz reportedly told officers he was just adjusting his shorts. Then he said “it was to air them out.”
Kaitlyn Ecker probably won’t get any Mother of the Year awards. Her 2-year-old son’s hair and blood tested positive for “chronic” use of methamphetamine after investigators went to the home for a welfare check. The Wakulla County Sheriff’s Office said after Ecker’s arrest that the toddler also tested positive for amphetamines. The findings were “chronic” rather than “acute.” And we don’t mean cute.
A Florida man was accused of attacking an 18-year-old girl with a knife and firing a shot at a 17-year-old boy inside the teens’ Ocala home in August. Garden variety crime? Just add Florida. Marion County Sheriff’s deputies say the man, Himchan Bachan, 57, was given the gun by Christine Egitto, also 57, an Ocala elementary school teacher, who has since been reinstated to a classroom. Charges against both Bachan and Egitto were dropped when prosecutors decided that “chances of a conviction at a jury trial” were remote, the Ocala StarBanner reported.