Tag Archives: News

Bradenton woman crashes, arrested for DUI

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Margaret Keegan, 57

A two-car crash April 22 east of the Cortez Road Bridge led the Florida Highway Patrol to arrest a Bradenton motorist for driving impaired — a DUI arrest at more than three times the legal limit.

Dispatched at 2:28 a.m., deputies reported finding Margaret Keegan, 57, in a vehicle and showing signs of impairment.

According to the report, her vehicle struck another car after she allegedly failed to brake at a stop sign at 127th Street West. No injuries were reported.

Keegan told the deputy she was driving from a friend’s house and drank three glasses of wine with food.

At the request of the FHP, Keegan agreed to field-sobriety tests, which she performed poorly, according to a deputy’s report. She was transported to the Manatee County jail.

Keegan provided two breath samples at the jail. Both measured 0.276 blood-alcohol content. The legal limit is 0.08.

In addition to the DUI charge, the FHP ticketed Keegan for running a stop sign.

She was granted a supervised release at her first appearance in court.

Keegan’s arraignment is set for 8:25 a.m. Wednesday, May 23, at the Manatee County Judicial Center, 1051 Manatee Ave. W., Bradenton.

FEMA raises AM’s rates

The city of Anna Maria will not lose its discount on flood insurance from the Federal Emergency Management Agency after all.

But, property owners will see a reduction in their FEMA discount from 25 percent to 15 percent beginning Oct. 1.

In December 2017, building official Jimmy Strickland was fired by the city commission after communications from FEMA revealed Strickland failed to properly report and provide documentation related to FEMA’s Community Rating System.

The CRS provides municipalities and its property owners discounts on flood insurance for taking steps to reduce risks with educational outreach, floodplain management, stormwater management and improved regulatory standards, among other factors.

However, Strickland told officials in December 2017 that he did not know how to complete the documentation and, not wanting to ask for help, he let it fall to the wayside.

Craig Carpenter, CRS specialist for FEMA, informed the city in December that the city was at risk of being reclassified from Class 5 to Class 10 and losing its full discount by May.

City officials scrambled in December to complete and submit the paperwork neglected by Strickland and then awaited a final decision on the city’s flood insurance discount.

In March, Carpenter emailed city engineer Lynn Burnett to inform her that FEMA had completed its review of city documents and would recommend the city drop from a Class 5 to a Class 7 rating in October.

HB seeks default in treehouse case

There’s been a swirl of motions and letters about a treehouse built without permits in 2011 on the beachfront from the county courthouse to the U.S. Supreme Court in Washington, D.C.

The latest motion in the 12th Circuit Court came April 30 from the city of Holmes Beach seeking to default treehouse owners Lynn Tran and Richard Hazen for not properly responding to the city’s enforcement case. A default is an initial court finding when a party fails to timely plead or defend against an action.

Tran and Hazen built a two-story treehouse attached to a towering Australian pine on the beachfront at their home at 103 29th St., where they operate four vacation rental units known as Angelinos Sea Lodge.

The structure was built without state or city permits, although Hazen had an informal meeting at city hall with the then-city building inspector, who told him no permits were needed for a treehouse in response to Hazen’s inquiry.

Though there’s been no hearing set for a judge to hear the city’s latest preliminary move, it is part of a bigger picture.

Attorney Jim Dye, principal in Dye Harrison and a partner of city attorney Patricia Petruff, handling the treehouse cases for the city, said May 8 he’s waiting to see what happens in another treehouse case — one that sat dormant for nearly five years until the owners re-invigorated the case in March with a constitutional challenge to the city setback.

Judge Lon Arend set the stalled 2013 case for dismissal May 15, after press time for The Islander. The judge’s motion states he will consider keeping it open if the owners show “good cause” in a court filing before May 11.

The owners brought the case claiming the city should be stopped from enforcing its laws given the couple’s reliance on the inspector’s advice.

As of May 11, online records showed no submission indicating “good cause” from the Tran-Hazen team.

Tran said May 9 she understood a motion for summary judgment filed by their attorney in March, after the judge filed his motion, may suffice as a response. David Levin of the Icard Merrill law firm in Sarasota has been their attorney since the controversy began.

The owners first applied for an after-the-fact permit from the Florida Department of Environmental Protection. In 2013, they filed for relief in state courts and, in one case, petitioned to the U.S. Supreme Court, seeking review of a lower court judge’s order — an order that adopted the city’s position.

Litigation is now entering its sixth year, with the owners losing at each juncture.

Court decisions have upheld city orders requiring the owners to remove the structure and pay a $50 daily fine, accumulating since July 2015 and now at more than $50,000.

Before the most recent two cases began heating up in court, Mayor Bob Johnson and Tran exchanged correspondence.

In a Jan. 18 letter, Johnson told Tran and Hazen they had a legal duty to remove the illegal structure and apply for a demolition permit no later than Feb. 9.

Tran wrote back Feb. 9, claiming Holmes Beach deprived them of their rights under the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights, the Declaration of Independence, Bill of Rights and the U.S. Constitution.

She also claimed she and her husband “cry for our beloved treehouse, a work of art, that put smiles on thousands of faces.”

Tran contended the city’s land development code is inconsistent or contrary to the Florida Building Code and she disputed the city fine.

They have spent more than $180,000 in their defense, she wrote.

According to court papers, the treehouse cost the owners $30,000-$50,000 to build.

Treasurer Lori Hill reported May 9 the city has spent $139,462.67 in attorneys’ fees and costs related to the cases.

Manatee County sees 7th year of increase in tourism

Hurricane Irma didn’t scare visitors away from Manatee County in 2017.

In 2017, tourism rose 2 percent over 2016, up to 3,160,700 visitors to the county, according to Elliott Falcione, director of the Bradenton Area Convention and Visitors Bureau. He reviewed tourism in the area during a news conference May 10 in Palmetto.

Lodging visitors rose 4 percent and total economic impact from tourists rose 5.5 percent to $1,245,461,300.

Full-time jobs associated with tourism rose 5.1 percent from 2016 to 2017, accounting for 26,600 jobs in the county.

The majority of tourists visit from within the state, Falcione said, with the top markets being Tampa and Orlando.

Following behind Florida visitors are visitors from New York City, Chicago and Pittsburgh, Falcione said.

In addition, visitation from continental Europe rose nearly 9 percent in 2017. Falcione said visitors from Europe stay longer, spend more money and buy more property than their domestic counterparts.

Sports events and sports training also are bringing tourists to the area in droves, he added.

Events such as the World Rowing Championships and institutions such as IMG Academy bring visitors who come for events or education and then return or relocate for the sunshine and beaches.

Falcione, during the news conference to mark tourism week in the county, suggested local officials should prioritize expanding the hospitality industry and training new hospitality employees.

In five years, tourism-related jobs in Manatee rose nearly 30 percent, he said.

During the presentation, he also advised people to take advantage of the good times.

“Everybody’s flourishing. Let’s prepare for days of adversity. It’s going to come, it’s going to happen,” he said.

Cortez Bridge: Battle fatigue or new resolve?

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By Jennifer Glenfield

Special to The Islander

In 1989, it seemed a done deal. The Cortez Bridge would be replaced with a high, fixed-span bridge.

Commuters today might note the seemingly done deal proposed by the Florida Department of Transportation never came to fruition.

The DOT proposal announced April 23 is the latest development in a decades-old debate over the 17.5-foot clearance bascule bridge constructed in 1957. The cyclical nature of the bridge debate can’t be ignored: It’s the same proposal, the same communities impacted and community action groups still stand as guardians on both sides of the bridge landings.

Although this time around, some of the guardians are battle fatigued. Many showing up at the 2017 DOT public hearings were the same community members, only 30 years older. And some who led the charge against the first proposal are no longer around to fight the battle.

“I’ve lost two good friends that fought tooth and nail,” said Katie Pierola, a former Bradenton Beach mayor who now resides in Tampa. “People really cared back then. People don’t care anymore. How long can you keep fighting these battles? I’m tired. I’m old.”

Pierola, 85, was mayor in 1989 and advocated for the island leaders to have a voice in transportation planning.

The Island Transportation Planning Organization was born to give input to the Metropolitan Planning Organization.

Alongside the official meetings, Save Anna Maria Inc., a nonprofit of mostly island residents, formed and led a victorious legal dispute, which resulted in denial over environmental concerns by the Florida Department of Environmental Protection of the permit needed to build the Anna Maria Island Bridge.

Former islander Melody Kramer formed SAM, alongside Billie Martini and Jim Kissick, who have since died. Others who fought also have died, including Bob Van Wagoner, mayor of Holmes Beach 1996-98, and Ann Shaw. Others have disappeared from the landscape, including Bunny and Claflin Garst. The few remaining people with SAM, most prominently Nancy Deal and Ursula Stemm, stepped down.

The nonprofit incorporated Sept. 30, 1993, and disbanded in October 2017.

While SAM aimed to temper ambitious infrastructure projects dubbed “megabridges,” residents in Cortez were organizing to save their community from more than the DOT’s plans. Reeling from an economic depression spawned by the 1994 gill net ban that put nearly all the Cortez fishers out of business, Mary Fulford Green and Linda Molto worked to put Cortez on the National Register of Historic Places. They won that designation in 1995 and it helped stave off the Cortez Bridge proposal.

But residents of these communities voiced opposition to infrastructure plans well before the bridge debates.

The widening of Cortez Road in the early 1980s preceded the 1989 high-bridge proposal and the 1994 net ban. Baby boomers who grew up in Cortez remember dirt roads before a paved two-lane road. When the DOT began widening Cortez Road, many voiced opposition to the four lanes that carry travelers to the island today.

Many who fought the past bridge battles the hardest are weary.

“It feels like we’ve been beating our heads against the wall,” said Jane von Hahmann, Cortez resident. “It’s almost like they do it on purpose to beat you down.”

For people like Pierola and von Hahmann, a former county commissioner, it’s not about resisting change, as the region and the state as a whole experience continuous growing pains. It’s about maintaining the character of their communities. On the east end, in Cortez, the project would literally divide the community in half, north from south.

Pierola thinks the bridge will destroy the village.

“Let them go ahead and build the big bridge and see what happens,” said Pierola.

 

Bridge Battles

In this series, The Islander will examine the history of the battles over the bridges, the economic forces that have impacted the communities on both sides and why bridge size matters.

Center operations director named new executive director

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By Bianca Benedí and Kathy Prucnell

Islander Reporter

The Center of Anna Maria Island has a new executive director, and it looks like the solution was close to home.

Chris Culhane, a lifelong islander who has served as the center’s operations director since 2015, will succeed interim director Carl Weeks as the leader of the nonprofit at 407 Magnolia Ave., Anna Maria.

The center board issued a statement May 4 announcing the hire.

Former executive director Kristen Lessig announced in January she was leaving for a position at the Sarasota YMCA.

Human resources consultant Margaret Beck was employed to lead a hiring committee. More than 170 people applied for the position, which took nearly three months to fill.

In a statement, board chair David Zaccagnino said Culhane emerged as a “top choice” in the selection process, citing his work in recent months to keep the center running during the search.

“He is a natural, and has stepped into the leadership position with purpose,” Zaccagnino wrote.

Culhane also issued a statement thanking the center board for selecting him.

“As executive director, I pledge to steer our center to a path of sustainable success as we enter this next phase of history,” he wrote.

Culhane said he spent his childhood at the community center, participating in sports, volunteering at the concession stand or “simply having fun.” He said in the past four decades, he has spent his time contributing to the center through coaching, volunteering and as a member.

His short-term plans for the center include filling vacant staff positions, preparing for the summer’s camp program and finalizing the budget for the 2018-19 fiscal year, which begins July 1.

 

Center leader, sovereign citizen?

Run-ins with the law for driver’s license violations and forgeries point to Chris Culhane’s belief in a sovereign citizenry.

Culhane, 43, was arrested in 2012 and 2013 for driving with a suspended license and, the following year, he was arrested for forging court documents.

A pre-trial diversion contract was the end of the road for Culhane on two counts of forgery brought by the Manatee County Sheriff’s Office in April 2014 for filing more than 300 illegitimate court papers in a domestic relations action that resulted in divorce.

Twelfth Circuit Judge Robert Farrance dismissed his 2012 arrest for driving with a suspended or revoked license in Bradenton. Farrance withheld adjudication in Culhane’s 2013 case for driving in Holmes Beach with a suspended license. A withhold means there’s no court record of a conviction despite a finding of guilt.

Both license cases show multiple filings from Culhane as a pro-se litigant.

So what’s up?

A March 2013 probable cause affidavit from Holmes Beach Police Officer Garrett Shaffer sheds some light:

“The defendant has previously informed the Holmes Beach Police Department as well as the Manatee County Sheriff’s Office that the defendant is a sovereign citizen and is not subject to state laws.”

According to the HBPD report, Culhane was uncooperative and told the HBPD he did not require a driver’s license because he held “an international license.”

According to Wikipedia, sovereign citizens “see themselves as answerable only to their particular interpretation of the common law … not subject to any government statutes or proceedings.”

Culhane did not respond May 7 before press time to a phone call for comment.

Zaccagnino said May 7 the board was aware of the charges and also unconcerned. He claimed the charges were related to a foreclosure on property Culhane owned.

Bradenton Beach officials address Cortez Bridge concerns

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Will a big bridge destroy the character of the communities it connects?

Opinions are flying about the recent Florida Department of Transportation recommendation to replace the Cortez Bridge — a drawbridge built in 1956 — with a 65-foot-clearance, fixed-span bridge.

The roadbed for the proposed bridge would be 75 to 80 feet high.

Bradenton Beach Mayor John Chappie led a discussion about the proposed megabridge at the May 3 commission meeting.

He said he added the matter to the agenda to discuss the new bridge “as a city.”

“It’s a big disappointment,” Chappie said regarding the DOT decision, adding that he supports a lower bridge. “The island has its character and it’s definitely not high structures and high-rises.”

Commissioner Jake Spooner suggested the city write the DOT a letter expressing concerns.

Chappie agreed and said he would see if Anna Maria and Holmes Beach would do the same.

“At least we would get something on record,” Spooner said.

Commissioner Ralph Cole said he was surprised the DOT opted for the 65-foot bridge, considering the public — in comments provided through a series of public meetings and written filings — supported a 35-foot drawbridge.

However, he said he understands that maintenance costs would be significantly lower for a fixed-span bridge.

Cost for the new bridge is projected to be $72.17 million, but funding has not been allocated.

“They are looking for federal money, which could end up in the courts,” Commissioner Randy White said. “So they’ve got a few hoops to jump through.”

Chappie said that the DOT has talked about forming an “aesthetics committee” for the project and suggested Bradenton Beach residents join, including commission and Scenic WAVES Partnership Committee liaisons.

“I know change is going to happen, but sometimes it’s just tough to take,” Chappie said. “The drawbridges are just that uniqueness — it’s the character of the community. I wish people weren’t always in such a hurry.”

Prosecutor: Bradenton Beach officer justified in shooting

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Bradenton Beach Police Officer Eric Hill is doubly honored.

Official word from the state is Hill was justified in the use of deadly force in the Dec. 30, 2017, officer-involved shooting in Anna Maria.

Chief Assistant State Attorney Heather Doyle sent the decision in a May 1 letter to BBPD Chief Sam Speciale, saying she’d made a “thorough and complete review” of the Florida Department of Law Enforcement investigation.

The letter came about a week after the department decided on Hill as its nominee for Officer of the Year, an annual Manatee County 100 Club award, for his courageous and professional response to the incident.

Hill shot Douglas Schofield, 45, of Palmetto, once in the torso after Schofield threatened Hill and other officers with a military-style knife and survivalist hatchet in a parking lot at Gulf Drive and Pine Avenue. Manatee County Sheriff’s Deputy Amy Leach simultaneously shot Schofield with a stun gun.

“I knew there was not a lot to worry about,” Hill said May 3, but that he was relieved the investigation was no longer “over my head.”

The shooting occurred at 8:08 p.m. but earlier in the day Schofield’s family alerted law enforcement the Palmetto man was headed to the island to kill himself.

Hill and MCSO deputies Leach and Tim Eason approached Schofield after finding his vehicle at 10101 Gulf Drive. Holmes Beach Police Chief Bill Tokajer and HBPD Officer Christine LaBranche also arrived at the scene.

Hill said he shined his flashlight at a car Eason identified as Schofield’s, ordered Schofield to show his hands and he chose to exit his car. Schofield then moved toward the officers with the weapons, yelling “which one of you (expletive) want to die,” according to a Bradenton Beach police report.

“It was Officer Hill’s professionalism during an extremely stressful situation,” Speciale said May 1 about Hill’s selection for the award nomination. Hill and others were afraid for their lives, he added.

People and vehicles out and about near Bortell’s Lounge and the intersection the New Year’s Eve weekend night, some watching the incident unfold.

“His professional and training possibly saved the lives of innocent people in the area,” Speciale said.

The FDLE investigation, including 339 pages and a video taken from a MCSO helicopter, concluded the officers’ statements were consistent with the evidence and there was no wrongdoing on Hill’s part. Similar preliminary reports were released from FDLE investigators in January.

Schofield, who was taken to Blake Medical Center in Bradenton after the shooting, has recovered, according to police.

MCSO has asked the 12th Circuit State Attorney’s Office to charge Schofield with three counts of aggravated assault.

However, no charging decision had been made as of May 3, according to Payton Thompson, the assistant state attorney handling the case.

Police say Schofield, a former marine with 24 years of service, may have been trying to entice an officer to kill him.

Hill is sympathetic to Schofield’s troubles.

“Honestly this is the last thing I wanted to do, but I really wanted to make sure nobody around got hurt,” he said, adding he positioned himself so no bullet could strike anyone else.

It’s the third time Hill has been nominated for the annual award from the Manatee 100 Club, a group supporting local law enforcement and their families.

“It’s humbling because I was just doing my job,” Hill said. “It’s nice to be recognized, but I’ve never been one to say ‘look at me.’”

Each year participating agencies nominate an officer from their departments. Other island nominations include Holmes Beach Police Officer Joel Pierce for his outstanding police work, including arrests involving a burglary in progress and a fleeing felon.

The winner will be announced May 17 at a dinner event at the Courtyard Marriott in Bradenton.

It’s 38 years since fateful day the Sunshine Skyway went down

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By Gene Page III

Special to The Islander

I remember waking up May 9, 1980, to the noise of strong wind from the west beating the rain, horizontally, onto our windows where we lived on 77th Street in Holmes Beach.

Probably 10 minutes afterward, I got the phone call from my Coast Guard friend. The Skyway Bridge had been struck by a ship and one span was in the water.

A May Day call immediately went out.

I then called Charlie Gerdes, who lived two blocks west of me and told him I had to get to the scene.

No problem for Charlie, who had previously spent 20 years in the U.S. Coast Guard before moving to Holmes Beach and getting into the marina business. Meeting me at the marina, he already had one of his two Blackfin 28-footers ready to go.

The huge, deep-V boat had twin 488-cubic-inch engines and a beam of 12 feet, the latter telling you how stable it would be in heavy weather — which it was. Thank goodness!

We quickly got going and about the time we made the Intracoastal Waterway I got a call on my walkie-talkie from Sarasota Herald-Tribune managing editor Ed Pierce screaming about hearing something about the bridge being hit by some boat, and did I know anything about it? After he knew what I knew and the fact I was en route to the scene by boat, he really started screaming! Of course, you’d have to have known Pierce to fully appreciate him and his ways.

Passing four Coast Guard boats from Cortez and bouncing around a bit, it still only took about 30 minutes for us to get there. With the Summit Venture still in the process of backing off slowly from both the bridge and the debris to a safe distance, Eckerd College had two rescue boats on scene with divers already in the water.

There were some floaters but, of course, most folk, especially those in the bus, were still down.

I shot what I could, trying not to miss anything as the weather began to calm and the first Coast Guard boats from St. Petersburg began to appear. They paid us no attention for about the first 20 minutes or so — until they realized all we were doing was shooting pix.

Then, as the Cortez boats arrived, they backed us out and established a 600-foot perimeter. I switched to a longer lens and kept shooting, mostly of folk being dragged aboard the Coast Guard boats. Ed Pierce called back and wanted to know where I thought staff photographer Phil Skinner should go. I suggested Bayboro because that’s where the Coast Guard was already ferrying bodies. Also, I had Skinner meet us near the shore on the south side so I could throw him several rolls of film I had finished. He would then pass that film to a “runner,” who also came up in a separate car.

We stayed on the scene about two hours and then went to Bayboro to take the place of Skinner, who was now shooting from the bridge.

What impressed me most of all through the entire ordeal was the eerie quietness about the scene once the weather calmed down. Everyone there just went about doing their respective jobs with little or no radio traffic or talk between boats. Actually, the very same solitude prevailed days later when we were all back out there for the raising of the bus, various cars and additional bodies that had been trapped inside the bus.

I left Charlie’s boat and went ashore to return to the Bradenton office of the Herald-Tribune about noon and then on down to Sarasota to talk to a reporter for a sidebar story on my trip to the scene.

Much later in the day I went out on the northbound span with Florida Highway Patrol Trooper Mike Rushing so he could stop his car long enough for me to take the shot I sent The Islander showing the remains of the southbound span silhouetted against the late day sun.

That shot later became the cover for our book.

 

Editor’s note: Paul Roat, then employed by the former Islander newspaper under publisher Don Moore, raced to the scene from Anna Maria with all the film he could gather from the newspaper’s Pine Avenue office. Yours truly worked the phones, notifying other newspaper staff of the disaster and waited, ready to run more film to the scene. Roat shot from the bridge. Page shot the scene from a boat. Page’s account first published in The Islander on the 25-year anniversary in 2005. — Bonner Joy

AMI Bridge crash damages vehicles, snarls traffic

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Bradenton Beach Police Officer Eric Hill is doubly honored.

Official word from the state is Hill was justified in the use of deadly force in the Dec. 30, 2017, officer-involved shooting in Anna Maria.

Chief Assistant State Attorney Heather Doyle sent the decision in a May 1 letter to BBPD Chief Sam Speciale, saying she’d made a “thorough and complete review” of the Florida Department of Law Enforcement investigation.

The letter came about a week after the department decided on Hill as its nominee for Officer of the Year, an annual Manatee County 100 Club award, for his courageous and professional response to the incident.

Hill shot Douglas Schofield, 45, of Palmetto, once in the torso after Schofield threatened Hill and other officers with a military-style knife and survivalist hatchet in a parking lot at Gulf Drive and Pine Avenue. Manatee County Sheriff’s Deputy Amy Leach simultaneously shot Schofield with a stun gun.

“I knew there was not a lot to worry about,” Hill said May 3, but that he was relieved the investigation was no longer “over my head.”

The shooting occurred at 8:08 p.m. but earlier in the day Schofield’s family alerted law enforcement the Palmetto man was headed to the island to kill himself.

Hill and MCSO deputies Leach and Tim Eason approached Schofield after finding his vehicle at 10101 Gulf Drive. Holmes Beach Police Chief Bill Tokajer and HBPD Officer Christine LaBranche also arrived at the scene.

Hill said he shined his flashlight at a car Eason identified as Schofield’s, ordered Schofield to show his hands and he chose to exit his car. Schofield then moved toward the officers with the weapons, yelling “which one of you (expletive) want to die,” according to a Bradenton Beach police report.

“It was Officer Hill’s professionalism during an extremely stressful situation,” Speciale said May 1 about Hill’s selection for the award nomination. Hill and others were afraid for their lives, he added.

People and vehicles out and about near Bortell’s Lounge and the intersection the New Year’s Eve weekend night, some watching the incident unfold.

“His professional and training possibly saved the lives of innocent people in the area,” Speciale said.

The FDLE investigation, including 339 pages and a video taken from a MCSO helicopter, concluded the officers’ statements were consistent with the evidence and there was no wrongdoing on Hill’s part. Similar preliminary reports were released from FDLE investigators in January.

Schofield, who was taken to Blake Medical Center in Bradenton after the shooting, has recovered, according to police.

MCSO has asked the 12th Circuit State Attorney’s Office to charge Schofield with three counts of aggravated assault.

However, no charging decision had been made as of May 3, according to Payton Thompson, the assistant state attorney handling the case.

Police say Schofield, a former marine with 24 years of service, may have been trying to entice an officer to kill him.

Hill is sympathetic to Schofield’s troubles.

“Honestly this is the last thing I wanted to do, but I really wanted to make sure nobody around got hurt,” he said, adding he positioned himself so no bullet could strike anyone else.

It’s the third time Hill has been nominated for the annual award from the Manatee 100 Club, a group supporting local law enforcement and their families.

“It’s humbling because I was just doing my job,” Hill said. “It’s nice to be recognized, but I’ve never been one to say ‘look at me.’”

Each year participating agencies nominate an officer from their departments. Other island nominations include Holmes Beach Police Officer Joel Pierce for his outstanding police work, including arrests involving a burglary in progress and a fleeing felon.

The winner will be announced May 17 at a dinner event at the Courtyard Marriott in Bradenton.