Date: September 26, 2002 "For Immediate Release"
To: News Media
From: Sheriff Lawrence W. Crow, Jr.
Media Contact:

Michal Shanley, 863 534-6631 or 819-0397 pager

Carrie Rodgers, (863) 534-6217 OR (863) 819-1856, Pager

3 Charged Following Incident At Kathleen High School

Three suspects were charged this morning after an incident at Kathleen High School in North Lakeland in which the school was temporarily locked down while the suspects were taken into custody on the school grounds.

The incident started shortly after 7 a.m. this morning (Friday, Sept. 27, 2002) when two suspects drove their vehicle onto the school campus and began driving recklessly and making "donuts" in the parking lot. After leaving the campus, the suspects returned a short time later and Polk County Sheriff's Office School Resource Officer David Kuehl  began following them in his vehicle. After turning around at a dead end, the driver of the suspect vehicle accelerated towards the deputy (who was now on foot). Deputy Kuehl had to jump out of the way to avoid being struck by the oncoming vehicle.

The suspects bailed out out of the vehicle and ran onto the school campus. The vehicle came to rest against a school fence (minor damage). Deputy Kuehl immediately contacted school administrators and ordered a school lock-down. As the school was locking down, the suspects ran into a school building where another student attempted to help the suspects hide by changing clothes. In less than two minutes after running onto campus, the suspects were taken into custody without incident by responding PCSO patrol deputies with the assistance of at least two school employees.

The following were charged:
* Sebastian Smart, DOB 2/20/81, of 1702 Lavon Street in Lakeland, charged with Resisting without Violence, Burglary of an Occupied Dwelling; and Disruption of Educational Process. Smart was the passenger in the vehicle. Smart is a former student of Kathleen High. He was booked into the Polk County Jail.

* Joseph Lewis, 12/31/84, of 1505 W. 10th Street in Lakeland, charged with Aggravated Assault on a LEO; Burglary of Occupied Dwelling; Disruption of Educational Process; Resisting a LEO; and various traffic offenses. Lewis was the driver of the vehicle.  Lewis is a former student of Kathleen High. He was booked into the Juvenile Assesment Center.

* Eric Taylor, DOB 5/13/87, of 2828 Cambridge Cove in Lakeland, charged with Resisting without Violence/Obstruction; Possession of Weapon on School Property.  Taylor was the student inside the school who helped the suspects change clothes. He also was found to be in possession of a fork with prongs bent together to form sharp point. He was released into the custody of a parent.

There were no injuries during the incident.

Distribution: Undersheriff, Division Commanders, Communications, News Media

A text only version of this release is also available.

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