[IMAGE CREDIT: Lake County Sheriffs Office]
[Original Publish Date: 01/21/20]
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UMATILLA, Florida — A 12-year-old boy was the victim of a hit-and-run crash, Tuesday morning.
Two men are now in custody and a woman, who said she was being held against her will, is safe, after the men were found hiding in an RV after fleeing the crash scene, according to the Lake County Sheriff’s Office.
Preston Sandoval, 12, was waiting at a bus stop on Thomas Boat Landing Road in Umatilla when Christian Ames Messick, 19, ran a stop sign in a silver 2015 Chevy Malibu. The car struck the child and dragged him several feet. He was airlifted to Arnold Palmer Hospital and is in serious condition. Sources are telling Lake Legal News that he is a sixth grader at Umatilla Middle School. Messick fled the scene, according to Florida Highway Patrol Lt. Kim Montes. The Malibu was later found abandoned on Fisherman’s Road in Paisley by LCSO.
According to a Facebook post by the LCSO, deputies spotted the car in Umatilla headed towards Paisley. The area was searched by ground and air and they found the Malibu abandoned near County Road 42; a K-9 was used to track the suspects and they were found in an RV on a nearby property. Messick and Mariano Keano Taclay, 24, exited the RV, along with an unidentified woman who told deputies she was being held against her will. She also told deputies the men threw a bag of guns into a lake close by. Deputies recovered the guns, according to the Facebook post.
Messick is facing charges of leaving the scene of a crash with serious bodily injury, no valid driver license, burglary and false imprisonment. Taclay is facing burglary and false imprisonment charges. More charges are pending related to the guns.
According to an arrest affidavit from January 2019, Messick was charged with possession of a firearm by a convicted felon and a delinquent; his bond on that charge was revoked in July 2019, but he was released again less than a month later. He is scheduled to be sentenced in that case in February.
Taclay was just released from the Lake County Jail on January 13, 2019, after serving 60 days for grand theft, possession of methamphetamine, and resisting a law enforcement officer without violence.
The two men were in the booking process at press time and their bond amount was unavailable.
Our Editor-in-Chief, Marilyn M. Aciego, began writing for Lake Legal News in 2010. Born and raised in Lake County, she is a graduate of Umatilla High School and Lake-Sumter State College. She started her journalism career at LSSC, where she was editor of both student publications, The Angler and The Odyssey. Her professional career began at the Daily Commercial in 2004 where she covered cops and courts the majority of her time there until she left in 2009. Currently, along with being Editor-in-Chief of Lake Legal News, she is the Florida bureau chief for an international media organization. She has made more than two dozen appearances on live national television, including Nancy Grace and the Greta Van Susteren show, along with her appearance on Evil Twins. Contact her with breaking news, tips, and feedback by sending an e-mail to 352Tips@gmail.com. You can also contact us on our Facebook page — and make sure you “Like” and “Follow us” there. [PHOTO CREDIT: Bonnie Whicher]