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14 arrested in Indian River County for violating stay-at-home order


As of last weekend, the Sheriff’s Office had charged 13 people with violating Gov. Ron DeSantis’ emergency stay-at-home order – but all of them were simultaneously charged with committing other crimes.

“When we charge someone with violating the order, it’s generally in connection with another offense,” Sheriff’s Maj. Eric Flowers said. “Usually, it’s somebody out doing something stupid in the middle of the night.”

The alleged offenses that prompted the arrests included: drug possession, prowling, trespassing on property, fleeing and eluding at high speeds, knowingly driving with a suspended or revoked license, driving an unregistered vehicle, and resisting arrest.  Three of those arrested were juveniles.

“We’re not out looking to arrest people simply for violating the order, and most people are doing what they’re supposed to do,” Flowers said. “When we do come across individuals who are out when they shouldn’t be, our policy is to go with the three E’s – educate, encourage and enforce.

“First, we’ll educate them about the order and why it’s in effect, then encourage them to comply with it,” he added. “If they don’t comply, then we have no choice but to enforce the order.

Neither the Vero Beach Police Department nor the Indian River Shores Public Safety Department reported any arrests for violating the governor’s order, which is a misdemeanor punishable by a maximum fine of $500 and up to 60 days in the county jail.

The Florida Highway Patrol charged one man here with violating the order after stopping him on County Road 512 in Sebastian for driving with a suspended license – an offense for which he was allegedly a habitual offender – and having an unassigned tag on his vehicle.  According to the arrest report, the trooper also found cocaine and drug paraphernalia during the stop.

County officials reopened local beaches this week, and Vero Beach Police Chief David Currey said his officers will work with sheriff’s deputies and city lifeguards to enforce social-distancing requirements by the water.

“We’ve been keeping an eye on South Beach, Humiston and Jaycee beaches all along, and we’ll continue to do that,” Currey said. “The lifeguards are out there, too, and they’ll alert us if necessary.

“This is a challenging time, and we’re all working to together to keep the community safe.”