St. Augustine man arrested in November hit-and-run


ST. AUGUSTINE, Fla. -- A St. Augustine man faces a list of charges in connection with a hit-and-run crash last November that left a woman in critical condition, according to the St. Johns County Sheriff's Office.

Kenneth Adam Tong, 31, is charged with leaving the scene of a crash with injuries, aggravated battery with a deadly weapon and DUI causing serious bodily injury to another, deputies said. Tong remains in St. Johns County Jail on $100,000 bond.

Tong allegedly drove off, but a cab driver tailed him and called the Sheriff's Office, deputies said. At the time, deputies said Tong showed signs of being intoxicated, but he refused to take field sobriety tests at the scene.

Deputies sought a search warrant for Tong's blood and issued a warrant for his arrest Wednesday. He's due in court Thursday morning.


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City looking for new home for 'Journey' exhibit


ID=23909769ST. AUGUSTINE, Fla. -- The Excelsior Museum and Cultural Center that houses the Lincolnville Museum may have some new life pumped into it.

Dr. Otis Mason helps run the Excelsior Center and Lincolnville Museum. It has a small but interesting collection of local African American history items, such as Martin Luther King's fingerprints from his only arrest in Florida.

The City of St. Augustine is looking for a new home for its top notch Journey exhibit, which showcased African Americans' role in St. Augustine, from colonial days to the Civil Rights movement.

FHP: woman killed in bicycle collision with car


ST. AUGUSTINE, Fla. — A woman was struck by a car and killed on a bicycle early Sunday morning, Florida Highway Patrol confirms.

According to reports, Susan Lantz, 62, of St. Augustine, was biking on the shoulder of A1A near E Magnolia Avenue and then turned her bike into the lane of traffic.

She was struck by a Toyota Corrola driven by an Elkton man who attempted to avoid her.

The bicyclist was thrown to the ground by the collision and sustained fatal injuries. Lantz was taken to Flagler Hospital and later pronounced dead.

First Coast News is investigating and will update this post with more information when it becomes available. FHP has also said that the release regarding the crash, specifically the narrative, is information pertaining to a preliminary investigation and subject to change.


St. Johns County considers penny sales tax hike


ST. JOHNS COUNTY, Fla. -- St. Johns County commissioners voted Tuesday to consider a penny sales tax and other revenue options.

The proposal is getting a lot of attention.

The increase would take the current six cent sales tax to seven cents.

At City Coffee in St. Augustine, the idea stirred up some discussion.

"I'm not opposed to it off the top. I think for the quality of life in St. Johns County and the quality of services in St. Johns County, we are getting a good deal for the money we are paying," said customer Annie Lechak.

Carolyn Wade opposes a sales tax increase. "I don't an increase in taxes is a good idea," she said. "I don't think we want to harm our tourism industry. It's important to keep our taxes down."

St. Johns County says in order to maintain the services it provides, it needs more money. The county is looking at various options.

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Knife in student's bag triggers school gym evacuation


ST. AUGUSTINE, Fla. -- A student allegedly showing off a knife at Gamble Rogers Middle School in St. Augustine led to a brief evacuation of the school's gym Thursday afternoon, authorities told First Coast News.

According to a St. Johns County Sheriff's Office spokesperson, the student was reportedly showing the knife to a classmate and a staff member saw it. That's when the school called 911, leading deputies to clear the gym while they investigated.

Deputies found one knife on the student and another in his bag, Commander Chuck Mulligan told First Coast News. It's not yet clear whether he'll face any charges.

St. Johns County Schools spokesperson Christina Langston confirmed that the gym was evacuated about 2:20 p.m., noting that students had been released about a half hour before that.

Off-duty officer thwarts St. Augustine stabbing


ST. AUGUSTINE, Fla. -- An off-duty police officer made a timely rescue Monday afternoon, thwarting an attempted stabbing and saving a St. Augustine man from a knife-wielding attacker.

According to a police report, the victim was walking on the sidewalk in the 500 block of South Ponce De Leon Boulevard about 4:40 p.m. when he crossed paths with a cyclist, later identified as Paul Lamar Milar. Milar, 53, reportedly asked him, "What did you call me?" the victim told investigators.

When the victim told him he hadn't said anything, Milar allegedly pulled out a knife and kicked the victim in the stomach. "I'm going to kill you," Milar said as he swung and missed with the knife, according to the report.

Woman accused of sexual battery pleads guilty


ST. AUGUSTINE, Fla. -- A Flagler County woman has agreed to take a plea deal from prosecutors for her role in an alleged sex abuse case involving local students.

Rhonda Williams, 49, pleaded guilty today to charges of sexual battery on a minor under 12 on Monday, court records show.

Williams and her co-defendant, William Clarence Dillow, 27, were arrested last year in connection to a string of allegations against them from former Flagler County public schools students.

Williams pleaded guilty to one count of sexual battery on a person less than 12 years of age and to one count of principal to sexual battery by threat as part of a plea deal, according to court documents obtained by First Coast News.

In the trial facing her co-defendant, Dillow, she is expected to truthfully testify as part of her deal. She cannot have any contact with any victim or the co-defendant.