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March 18, 2014

Structure fire could possibly be arson; Man reportedly robbed

TIFTON — Arson and a robbery, among other incidents, were reported over the weekend.

According to an incident report filed at the Tifton Police Department, Sgt. Jody Abad responded to a structure fire Saturday afternoon at Meadow Wood Apartments located in the 2000 block of North Tift Avenue. On arrival, the northeast corner of the building was engulfed in flames. Abad made sure everyone was out of the building on arrival.

The report states that a tenant said she had a knock at her door and two juvenile black males asked for her daughter. A short time later, the juveniles knocked again and said their house was on fire. One of the males was described as having dreadlocks.

At report time, Abad was unable to locate the tenant again. Damage to the building was contained to the exterior. The report states that the Tifton-Tift County Fire Department said they would have the fire marshal on the way to the scene. Abad was unable to locate the two juveniles.

In another matter, officer Quinton Peacock reported at 12:52 a.m. Sunday that he responded to a residence located in the 300 block of Pearson Lane in reference to an assault.

When he arrived on the scene, he spoke with a 45-year-old man who informed him that he was walking from his uncle’s house behind Captain’s Point Trailer Park to his mother’s house on Pearson Lane. The man said he decided to take a shortcut through the trailer park, and as he was walking through, he heard a male subject call someone else’s name. At that time, someone punched him in the face, causing a laceration under his right eye.

The offenders fled the scene on foot after one of them reached in his front pocket and pulled out all the money he had, which was $5. The victim received a ride to his mother’s house from a friend. He said the offenders were four young black males. One of them was wearing a black mask and another male had on a red shirt.

In other unrelated cases:

• Officer Freddy Amaya reported Friday night that an officer advised there was a suspicious blue Chevrolet van with a Kentucky tag in the area of the mall parking lot. The vehicle was occupied by two white males selling possible electronic equipment out of the vehicle. It was last seen leaving the parking lot heading east on West Second Street.

While responding, Amaya and another officer observed a blue van that matched the description cutting through the driveway of a local gas station. Once the driver, 32-year-old Joshua Williams Howard of Bellevue, Ky., saw their patrol car, he stopped after he proceeded through and backed up into the gas station.

The other officer pulled into Second Street. Howard was about to enter Second Street, but then he placed the vehicle in reverse and proceeded to back up in the parking lot and later pulled forward into a parking space.

Howard exited the van. Amaya and the other officer told him to get back in the vehicle. Amaya reported that he observed two open alcoholic beverages on the passenger side where 29-year-old Marcus Anthony Nussbaum of Covington, Ky. was sitting. He said Howard left the vehicle in drive when he exited the vehicle, so he had to immediately place it in park to keep it from moving any further. He was patted down for weapons and a strong odor of an alcoholic beverage was coming from his breath. Amaya said Howard had glassy bloodshot eyes and appeared to be very unsteady on his feet. He continued to support himself by leaning on the van while swaying back and forth.

When asked about the two beers, Howard said Nussbaum was drinking the two beers as he drove. He said he had a few beers before driving, noting he was not drinking while he was driving. He had a strong positive reading on the Alco-Sensor that led Amaya to believe that he was very intoxicated. Howard was placed under arrest for DUI. He was also charged with an open container violation.

A breath test was also administered to him at the Tift County Jail, which indicated 0.089 grams of alcohol. Nussbaum was charged with an open container violation. The report states that he came back wanted for failure to appear (child neglect) from the Clermont County Sheriff’s Office in Ohio. A hold was placed on him for expedition on a later date when he’s finished on Tifton’s charge.

• Officer William Germaine reported at 2:10 a.m. Friday that while on patrol in the area of Tift Avenue and Chesnutt Avenue, he observed a black truck traveling north on Tift Avenue turn west down a nearby alley, going the wrong way on a one-way street. He made a traffic stop and the driver pulled into a business’ parking lot.

He reported that when he made contact with the driver, 19-year-old Daniel C. Fordham of Eastman, he could smell a strong odor of an alcoholic beverage coming from his person. He also observed an opened half bottle of Michelob Ultra Light in the driver’s cup holder.

Germaine reported that Fordham seemed to be confused and was slurring his speech and speaking soft and slow. When he asked Fordham how much he had to drink, he replied none. He also asked him about the open beer, which he said it wasn’t his. At that time, Germaine said he asked him to step out of the vehicle toward the front of his patrol car. He noticed that Fordham was unsteady on his feet.

After poorly performing some field sobriety tests, Germaine asked Fordham if he would give him a breath sample in his handheld Alco-Sensor and he refused.

Fordham was arrested at that time. Germaine said he read the implied consent, noting a sample of the offender’s breath was required under the implied consent law. He had to ask Fordham several times before he gave him a yes or no answer. He eventually agreed to a sample of his breath. His first sample was 0.191 and his second was 0.193.

Fordham was charged with DUI/alcohol, underage possession of alcohol, an open container violation and failure to obey traffic.

• A 49-year-old man reported Saturday morning that on Friday, he gave a woman $10 to go buy drugs for both of them. He claimed the woman never gave him any drugs and didn’t give him his money back. The woman told police that the man was “trippin” and that he never gave her $10.

To contact reporter Latasha Ford, call 382-4321.

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