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A Williston woman is in jail, charged with beating a 16-year-old girl so badly during a 4x4 truck party at the Power Lines area on April 7 that the victim needed surgery to repair three breaks in her nose.
And that's just one of the problems being caused by parties in the well-known marshy area used by the jacked-up truck owners for mud bogging, according to Sheriff Bobby McCallum.
But McCallum, who told a meeting of the Levy County Republican Executive Committee on Monday that his office is working to clear up problems at the party site — including investigating a second fight where knives were used — could have more problems on his hands.
Two truck clubs are planning two convoys from Hitchcock's in Newberry to Strickland Park in Chiefland and the Power Lines area on Saturday, April 26. The convoy to Strickland Park is for a truck show that will happen while CAAA has youth baseball games scheduled and a spokesman for CAAA said no arrangements had been made for use of the park by Tuesday afternoon.
Saturday is the same day that McCallum's deputies will also be busy with the Wild Hog Canoe and Kayak Race in Bronson and Otter Creek, the Crab-Fest in Williston that is expected to draw thousands, and the Chiefland FFA Alumni Rodeo in north Chiefland.
The problems at the Power Lines area off County Road 337 and Northeast 120th Street north of the sheriff's office are nothing new. Residents took complaints about the trucks tearing up and trashing streets to the Levy County Commission in 2008.
But there were no reports of fights then.
Patricia L. Miller, 18, was arrested Monday, April 21, on a felony battery charge, following an investigation into the fight where the Gainesville girl was attacked on April 7. Her bond is $100,000.
McCallum said the youth and young adults between 15 and 25 “are gathering in a pretty isolated area.” He said many of them come from Alachua County and Lt. Scott Tummond, a spokesman for the Sheriff's Office, said Alachua County Sheriff Sadie Darnell has been notified about the Facebook postings about the truck convoys originating in her jurisdiction.
Tummond said the youth and young adults trespass and congregate on private properties in the area and they drink, use drugs and mud bog. And he said there has been a surge in reports of violent crimes resulting from these Friday and Saturday night gatherings.
“They have been going out there for months unrestricted and playing in the mud ? what good redneck kids do,” said Tummond, “However you start adding alcohol to that mix and add to that bad decisions” and you get trouble.
Tummond said the following weekend two girls were cut in a fight where knives were used, but that case is under investigation. Another person had their foot run over by a truck as folks were trying to get out of the area.
“But every one of those people out there is going onto private property,” Tummond said. He said some of the property owners live in other areas and may not know what is happening. He said the Sheriff's Office is contacting property owners and while deputies cannot charge everyone with trespassing, action will be taken.
“We are trying to spread the word that Power Lines is not the place to be, unless they have the express permission from the owner of the property they are on.”
As for the truck show in Chiefland, that is the Chiefland Police Department's jurisdiction, Tummond said.
“My major concern is what's happening at Strickland Park on a Saturday at noon,” he said.
“Children that are going to be occupying the same space enjoying the afternoon as kids and you have these folks rolling up in jacked up trucks. To me that's scary.
“The two do not mix, not in that venue, period.”