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Tuesday, April 16, 2024

Man Allegedly Crashes Into Cemetery Tombstones and Flees Scene

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Winter Haven, Florida- On March 22, 2024 Winter Haven Police responded to a vehicle crash, where the defendant allegedly fled the scene after crashing into tombstones at a cemetery on Ave M SW in Winter Haven. According to law enforcement records, Jessie Anthony Gaona (H/M 04/29/1997) has been charged with leaving the scene of a crash involving property damage and knowingly driving with a suspended license.

It should be noted that this is an unedited report of facts by the Winter Haven Police Department. These facts are up for question and everyone is entitled to question the validity of facts by law enforcement in a court of law. Winter Haven Daily does not rewrite these facts as some meanings or interpretations could be in error and change context. We hope readers appreciate being able to read the information and come to your own conclusion.

“On March 22, 2024 at approximately 1922 hours, I responded to the Oaklawn Cemetery located at 550 Avenue M SW, Winter Haven, Polk County, Florida 33880, as backup officer for Officer Koester in regards to a possible DUI investigation.

Upon my arrival I made contact with Officer Koester who advised there was a wheel witness who witnessed the black pickup truck crash into the cemetery and an unknown white male exited from the driver side of the vehicle.

I made contact with [REDACTED] who stated he was inside his residence looking through the window and observed a black pickup truck driving southbound on 7th Street SW; when it turned into the cemetery crashing into the gate and colliding into several tombstones. [REDACTED] stated a light skinned Hispanic male wearing white t-shirt, short hair and wearing a necklace was seen exiting the driver side of the vehicle. [REDACTED] stated he had visual of the vehicle the entire time and did not observe anyone else exit the vehicle.

Defendant Jessie Anthony Gaona

[REDACTED] stated the driver later got into a red SUV in which the vehicle proceeded to leave towards Orrin Avenue SW, but later returned back to the incident location.

Prior to my arrival the driver driving the black pickup truck was transported to the Lakeland Regional Medical Center (LRMC) by Polk County Fire Rescue (PCFR). Upon my arrival, I made contact with medical staff due to the room the driver was placed in was empty. I was advised the driver was getting his CT scan and was also given medication for his pain.

I made contact with the driver who was positively identified as Jessie Anthony Gaona (H/M 04/29/1997) (the defendant) by his WebQ photograph. I asked the defendant some questions in regards to the crash he was involved. The defendant stated he left Old Man franks and allowed an unknown subject drive the pickup truck.

The defendant stated he does not recall how the truck crashed and did not know where the other subject went.

While speaking to the defendant his eyes were bloodshot red, speech was slightly slurred and a faint odor of alcoholic beverage could be smelled on his breath.

I read the defendant his Miranda Rights off my agency issued card verbatim and asked the defendant if he understood each line that was read to him; which he stated yes. Post-Miranda, I asked the defendant the status of his license which he stated it was suspended. When asked why he was operating a motor vehicle on a suspended license, he stated there was someone else driving.

I queried the defendant through DAVID which shows his license was cancelled on 07/17/2023 for Fail comply/ID vendor non-compliance. It should be noted Officer Koester responded to Old Man Franks where there is video footage of the defendant walking through the parking lot alone and is seen getting into the driver seat of the vehicle. It should also be noted at no time did the defendant ever call law enforcement to provide his require documentation (driver license, Insurance and registration) and was seen leaving the scene of the crash; only returning back to the Incident location due to his mother bringing him back.

The defendant is being charged with the following:

One (1) count of knowingly DWLSR F.S.S. 322.34(2)Z

One (1) count of leaving the scene of a crash involving property damage.

Upon being medically released, the defendant was transported to the Polk County Processing Center without incident.”

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