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News and Investigations

News & Investigations

News Releases and Public Information

Welcome to the Polk County Sheriff's Office News Room, where the Public Information Officers (PIO's) post all of the information that they release to the news media. PIO's act as liaisons between news media organizations and the Sheriff's Office. The PIO's routinely release timely and accurate information and Crime Stoppers bulletins, and respond to routine and "breaking news" media inquiries. News releases and Crime Stoppers information can be found on this page.

PCSO's full-time Public Information Officers are Brian Bruchey, Carrie Horstman, and Alicia Manautou. The Public Information Officers can be reached by sending an e-mail collectively at

The recent news releases sent out by the PIOs can be found here, and archived releases (older than 2017) can be found here.

Feb 22, 2019

Illegal immigrant arrested in a deadly hit and run

Media Contact: Sherrie Morgan, PIO

After weeks of PCSO actively searching for 48-year-old Bionel Cervin-Gomez of Davenport, who had a warrant for his arrest for leaving the scene of a crash with serious bodily injury, he was located and arrested.

On Saturday, February 9, 2019, deputies responded to a crash involving three vehicles near Highway 17/92 and Shamrock Drive in Davenport. Cervin-Gomez was driving a GMC Truck when he violated the right-of-way of a Chevrolet Aveo, driven by 22-year-old Courtney Belser, who was pregnant. There was a one-year-old girl riding in the Aveo as well, who was not injured. The truck also struck a Ford van driven by 23-year-old Mario Albaladejo, who was uninjured. Cervin-Gomez fled the scene on foot prior to the deputies’ arrival.

Ms. Belser was later transported to Osceola Regional Medical Center as a precaution since she was 8 months pregnant—her unborn son was determined to be deceased.  All others involved in the crash received medical attention at the scene and did not require transportation to any hospitals. 

During the investigation, deputies obtained video surveillance that showed Cervin-Gomez purchasing beer at a convenience store two hours prior to the crash. They also discovered the GMC Truck had been recently purchased by Cervin-Gomez. Deputies conducted a search of three different residences, but could not locate him. He has no driver’s license on file in any state. An I.C.E inquiry was completed and deputies learned that Cervin-Gomez is a previously deported immigrant who returned to Mexico in 2000. He does not have current legal status to be in the United States.

A warrant was issued for Cervin-Gomez for leaving the scene of a crash with serious bodily injury and operating a motor vehicle without a driver’s license involving serious bodily injury.

All local hospitals were contacted and law enforcement agencies were notified to be on the lookout for Cervin-Gomez.

During a news conference about the crash on Friday, February 22, 2019, Sheriff Judd shared a photo of an unknown woman at an ATM using Cervin-Gomez's debit card, and he made a plea for someone to identify her. That woman saw herself on the PCSO Facebook page, and reached out to deputies.The suspect called her and asked her for a ride while she was speaking with deputies. He was located in Haines City shortly thereafter, and arrested. 

He told deputies he fled the scene because he did not have a driver's license.

“Not only is Mr. Cervin-Gomez here illegally, he caused a crash that ultimately took the life of an unborn child. I'm very happy that Ms. Torres Abarca did the right thing and came forward, which helped us capture the suspect who was in hiding, like a coward.” –Grady Judd, Sheriff

Cervin-Gomez was booked into the Polk County Jail, charged with leaving the scene of a crash with great bodily injury (F2), and driving without a license causing great death or great bodily injury (F3), and he is being held on no bond. PCSO has confirmed that he is in the United States illegally. The Department of Homeland Security has been notified of his capture, and an ICE hold has been requested.