Coast Guard, with help from Sheriff’s Office, rescues Chalmette man and 5-year-old daughter from sinking boat in Lake Borgne
A Chalmette man said his main concern was the safety of his 5-year-old daughter when their fishing boat started to take on water Dec. 27 near the northern edge of Lake Borgne.
Jonathan Mason, 35, and daughter, Gracie, had water in the 17-foot boat in the late afternoon, the engine was dead and fog was rolling in but he was able to paddle to a marshy shore, he said.
That’s where they were rescued by a Coast Guard helicopter crew, which had been summoned by the St. Bernard Sheriff’s Office, which had also helped pinpoint the location for the rescue.
“My main thing was getting her (his daughter) to safety and keeping her dry,’’ Mason said on Wednesday. “She had leg cramps and was starting to shiver.’’
He said low tides had bottomed out the boat and apparently tore off its plug, and it began to take on water. Mason said he was concerned about the water until it leveled off in the boat.
Mason said he had gone out to fish for speckled trout.
The Sheriff’s Office received a call from a relative of the man about 4 p.m. saying Mason’s boat was sinking with two people aboard and the department contacted Mason and promptly notified the Coast Guard Sector New Orleans.
The Sheriff’s Office Communications Division and Marine Division stayed in contact the whole time with the father and Coast Guard, helping pinpoint the location, until the man and daughter were reached.
“It’s a good example of agencies working together to help the public,’’ Sheriff James Pohlmann said.
The Coast Guard launched an MH-65 Dolphin helicopter aircrew at 4:50 p.m. The aircrew reached the boat at 5:10 p.m. The father and daughter were flown to Air Station New Orleans, where they were met by EMS, according to the Coast Guard.
The duo, reported to be in stable condition, were released to their family.
Sheriff James Pohlmann wishes everyone a Merry Christmas and Happy New Year and reminds them to call the Sheriff’s Office for a free ride home through Jan. 2 if they have been drinking alcohol beverages.
Ten people have called the Sheriff’s Office at 271-2501 and taken advantage of the free ride home program since it began on Thanksgiving Day.
It is in place to try to curtail drinking and driving.
This is the 32nd consecutive year the St. Bernard Sheriff’s Office has offered the holiday ride home, the oldest such program in the New Orleans area .
“I urge anyone who has been drinking to call us and let us bring them home rather than trying to drive yourself,” Sheriff Pohlmann said.
“We don’t want you to injure yourself or anyone you may hit while driving drunk,” the sheriff said.
“And we don’t want to have to arrest you for DWI but we have patrols looking for impaired drivers and you will be taken to jail if you are stopped and are over the legal limit,” Sheriff Pohlmann said.
“So don’t consider driving drunk. Just call us and arrive home safely.”
St. Bernard residents will be taken home and those who are in the parish but live outside it will be brought to a Sheriff’s Office station to arrange a ride to their parish.
Violet woman steals car left running as owner took items into her home, then fled and was caught when she collided with a sheriff’s patrol car
A woman was arrested still holding a beer bottle in her right hand after stealing a car in Violet when its owner left the engine running while unloading items into her home on Christmas Eve, then fleeing in the vehicle until she was caught after colliding with a sheriff’s patrol car, Sheriff James Pohlmann said.
Channel Spencer, 32, 2816 Daniel Drive, stole a Honda Accord in the 2100 block of Guerra Drive as its owner went into her home and left the engine running, the sheriff said.
A witness reported the thief headed toward St. Bernard Highway and the Sheriff’s Office alerted patrol deputies to look for the vehicle.
Deputies spotted the car going westbound on West St. Bernard Highway at Keane Drive in Chalmette and the driver fled at a high speed, Sheriff Pohlmann said.
In the 7500 block of West St. Bernard Highway in Arabi, the driver slammed the stolen car into the passenger side of a Sheriff’s Office patrol car and attempted to keep going but lost control and spun out, facing oncoming traffic.
When a deputy approached the suspect as she was in the vehicle she held her hands up, with an open 16-ounce bottle of beer still in her right hand.
Spencer was booked with theft of an auto, flight from officers, reckless operation, aggravated criminal damage to property and with having an open alcohol container in the vehicle.
It was also learned Spencer was a fugitive from New Orleans, where she was wanted on three outstanding warrants for her arrest issued in 2015.
Spencer is being held in St. Bernard Parish Prison in lieu of bond that was set at $50,000.
Administrative offices of Sheriff ‘s Office closed Dec. 23 and Dec. 26 for Christmas holiday and Dec. 30 and Jan. 2 for New Year’s holiday
The administrative offices of the Sheriff’s Office will be closed Friday, Dec. 23 and Monday, Dec. 26 for the Christmas holiday.
They will reopen Tuesday, Dec. 27.
Those offices will also close Friday, Dec. 30 and Monday, Jan. 2 for the New Year’s holiday.
The offices will reopen Tuesday, Jan. 2.
Through Dec. 28 fireworks can legally be used from 9 a.m.
until 11 p.m.
On Dec. 29 and 30 they can be used from 9 a.m. until midnight.
On Dec. 31, they can be used from 9 a.m. until 2 a.m. on Jan. 1, 2017.
On Jan 1, fireworks can be used from 9 a.m. until 11 p.m., at which time all use of fireworks must end for the New Year’s period.
Associated Terminals donates 20 children’s bicycles to Sheriff’s Office to give to needy St. Bernard families
Sheriff James Pohlmann said recipients of the bicycles have been chosen.
Associated Terminals, the largest midstream stevedoring company on the Mississippi River, operates at sites including at Chalmette Slip in St. Bernard Parish, in Plaquemines Parish and in Reserve.
Sheriff Pohlmann met Dec. 21 with Jason Perez, Associated Terminals’ operations manager, and Louis Fos, its cranes manager, to receive the girls’ and boys’ bicycles.
“We are happy to help brighten Christmas for the boys and girls of St. Bernard Parish who will receive the bicycles donated by Associated Terminals,’’ Sheriff Pohlmann said. “They have been helping us for years.’’
Associated Terminals has donated bicycles to the Sheriff’s Office at Christmas for a number of years to help the needy and has also donated bicycles to several other groups in St. Bernard. This year some 160 bicycles were being given by the company to nine agencies and several individual families.
Employees at Associated Terminals donate money to help fund the bicycle project, which has been active with the Christmas bike project in several parishes since 2002.
About 350 fifth-graders graduate the D.A.R.E. anti-drug program for the fall semester taught by sheriff’s deputies; Sheriff Pohlmann stresses they must make the right choices in life
About 350 fifth-graders in four St. Bernard Parish schools graduated the D.A.R.E. anti-drug program for the fall semester, taught by sheriff’s deputies.
The Drug Abuse Resistance Education program, taught in schools by program supervisor Lt. Lisa Jackson and Sgt. Darrin Miller, is aimed at discouraging youngsters from using drugs including tobacco and alcohol or taking part in violence or bullying others.
About 50 students graduated the program Dec. 12 at Prompt Succor School, some 85 at Gauthier Elementary on Dec. 14, some 140 at Lacoste Elementary on Dec. 19 and about 80 at Joseph Davies Elementary on Dec. 20.
Sheriff James Pohlmann spoke to students and a large turnout of relatives at each school, telling kids they must concentrate on making the right choices to have productive lives, including listening to their parents and teachers and deciding who they should and shouldn’t associate with.
“The choices are yours,’’ he told the students. “And you have to make the right choices.’’
The sheriff praised parents for coming out and encouraged them to continue staying focused on their children, including talking often with them and looking for warning signs to help prevent drug use or be alerted to them actually using drugs.
Educating children early on about the hazards of drug abuse is the best hope to reduce future drug use and a life tortured by drug addiction and criminal acts to support a drug habit, Sheriff Pohlmann said.
“How do you stop the crime problem,?’’ the sheriff asked children and parents. “You’ve got to stop the drug problem,’’ he answered.
The sheriff said the parish jail is filled with people who are there because of drug problems, either because they were arrested with drugs or the need for money to buy drugs led them to get caught stealing or burglarizing, the sheriff said.
The sheriff also said marijuana remains the most abused drug in the nation.
He cautioned parents to learn the warning signs of drug use in young people, ticking off some of them, including:
– Loss of interest in things they used to do such as sports, dance or reading.
– Hanging around with new groups of friends unknown to parents.
– Sudden changes in attitude, mood swings or type of clothing worn.
– Sudden problems connected with school and academics.
Talk regularly with your children and be familiar with their friends, the sheriff said.
Sheriff Pohlmann also repeated three things he has touted for years:
– That drug abuse education should be taught in each grade of school as a regular course.
– That more drug rehab should be available for people, especially young abusers, regardless of whether they have insurance.
– That drug dealers must go to prison when prosecuted because they ruin people’s lives and can destroy society.
Meraux teen-ager booked with possession of high-grade marijuana with intent to distribute and $9,150 cash was seized, six other teens booked with possession
Six other teen-age males, including one juvenile, were also arrested in the same case on a misdemeanor count of marijuana possession each, the sheriff said.
Tyler L. Bridges, 18, 2908 Earl Drive, was arrested Dec. 14 after an investigation that began when agents of the Sheriff’s Office Special Investigation Division received information he was selling high-grade marijuana.
A search warrant was obtained from a judge for Bridges’ home after he was observed by agents conducting a transaction outside with a driver of a vehicle and when the vehicle was stopped marijuana was found inside Three teen-agers in the vehicle were arrested.
During the search of 2908 Earl Drive, a quarter-pound of high-grade marijuana worth $1,650 was found, along with $9,150 cash believed to be drug proceeds. Bridges and three other teen-agers were arrested in the residence.
Bridges was booked into St. Bernard Parish Prison on a charge of possession of marijuana with intent to distribute and with possession of drug paraphernalia.
He has since been released on bond.
Knights of Columbus in Chalmette recognizes Sheriff’s Deputy, Firefighter and Paramedic of the Year; Deputy Brad Alfonso, Firefighter Capt. Brad Tregle and EMT Steve Benci honored
Archbishop Rummel Council 5747 of the Knights of Columbus in Chalmette recognized a Sheriff’s Deputy, Firefighter and Paramedic of the Year during its Christmas party on Sunday, Dec. 18 in its council hall on Paris Road.
The Knights also gave a donation to the Sheriff’s Office Reserve Division.
Sheriff’s Dep. Brad Alfonso, a veteran of the Sheriff’s Office for more than seven years, was Deputy of the Year.
Capt. Brad Tregle, veteran of the parish Fire Department for more than 15 years, was named Firefighter of the Year.
And Steve Benci, who has worked more than 11 years with Acadian Ambulance, was named Paramedic of the Year.
Grand Knight Russell Serpas Sr. said the Knights of Columbus gives the awards “to recognize our public servants. We appreciate the work they do in this parish.’’
A native of St. Bernard Parish, Alfonso has been with the Sheriff’s Office since 2009, working in the Communications Division, in the Corrections Division and now as a patrol deputy for nearly three years.
Sheriff James Pohlmann said it’s wonderful that the Knights of Columbus “recognize our public servants in St. Bernard Parish. You have some top notch people working here in the Sheriff’s Office, the Fire Department and for Acadian Ambulance.’’
The sheriff also praised Alfonso as being dedicated to keeping St. Bernard safe and is a “great deputy, a guy young guys can look up to.’’
District Fire Chief Rusty Constantine lauded Tregle for the job he has done in rescue situations including immediately after Hurricane Katrina.
Benci was praised by Lamar Williams, operations supervisor for Acadian Ambulance, for his work in St. Bernard Parish.
Sheriff’s Office holds Appreciation Dinner for its Reserve Division and receives a donation from the Meraux Foundation for helping with their public events
Sheriff James Pohlmann praised the job done by officers of the Reserve Division, a volunteer group that supplements the work of the Sheriff’s Office without pay during an Appreciation Dinner on Dec. 15 for the officers involved.
“Thank you for your dedication,’’ Sheriff Pohlmann told the 28 officers of the Reserve Division, which is coordinated by Capt. Charles Borchers.
“You guys do a wonderful job. The only difference between you and full-time deputies is the pay,’’ the sheriff said. “The training and the respect you get, not only from me but the public, is the same.’’
He also noted the officers’ standards for qualified to be a Reserve Division member are the same as regular deputies and several who started as reserve officers have become full-time with the department.
Reserve officers are involved in patrol of the streets of St. Bernard as well as working special events such as festivals, and high school sporting events.
Also at the dinner, the Reserve Division was the beneficiary of a donation from the Meraux Foundation as thanks for the work the reserves do during public events held by foundation. They have made donations to the Reserve Donation the past several years.
Reserve Division officers have worked many public events held by the Meraux Foundation, including the Jambalya Festival and the Blues in the Parish Festival, both held at their property at Docville in Violet.
Meraux Foundation board members Floyd and Rita Gue, Chris Haines and William Haines were present for the dinner and Mrs. Gue told the Reserve Division officers, “We appreciate every one of you’’ for the work they do at events.
She also praised the Sheriff’s Office in general, saying, “To go to bed at night and put your head on a pillow and know we are protected in St. Bernard is a great gift.’’
Centurion Arms and Vinson Uniforms donated gift certificates given to Reserve officers at the Appreciation Dinner.
Any St. Bernard Parish resident interested in applying to be a member of the Reserve Division can contact Capt. Borchers at (504) 278-7628 or Dep. Eric Eilers at 278-7799 for more information.
Applicants must have a clean police record, be a high school graduate who is 21 or older and have a desire to serve their community.