[PHOTO CREDIT: iStock / ssstep]
[Original Publish Date: 05/24/20]
TAVARES, Florida — A man who says he suffers from post-traumatic stress disorder after Lake County Sheriff’s deputies enlisted his help to apprehend a suspect has filed a lawsuit against those deputies and LCSO Sheriff Peyton Grinnell.
According to the lawsuit filed in Lake County Circuit Court on Tuesday, plaintiff Anthony Meringolo states that on Dec. 6, 2016, shortly before 4:30 p.m., Wayne Dorsey crashed into an ice machine at JB’s Discount Food and Beverage, 4075 Picciola Road, Fruitland Park and fled the scene on foot. Plaintiff Meringolo and his neighbor witnessed Dorsey fleeing and apprehended and restrained him, according to the suit.
LCSO deputies Amanda Galbreath and Richard Sylvester responded to the scene and ordered the men to release Dorsey and when they did, Dorsey fled again. Dorsey entered Lake Griffin with Sylvester behind him and Sylvester struck Dorsey with a flashlight, but he escaped into the water. Galbreath then asked Meringolo and his neighbor if either had a boat they could use to search for the suspect. Meringolo immediately retrieved his 16-foot jon boat and Sylvester instructed Meringolo to bring his boat over to the weeds after he located Dorsey.
Sylvester allegedly told Meringolo to pull Dorsey’s apparently unconscious body into the boat and as soon as Meringolo and Dorsey were in the boat alone, Dorsey grabbed an oar and began swinging it at Sylvester, who was still in the water. Galbreath, who was still on shore, drew her taser and attempted to taser Dorsey, but instead hit Meringolo, the lawsuit states. Dorsey swung the oar at Sylvester and Sylvester shot Dorsey several times. Meringolo’s lawsuit alleges he was “very frightened” and begged Galbreath and Sylvester not to shoot him or taser him.
Dorsey died in Meringolo’s boat and later that day, law enforcement removed Dorsey’s body, but left behind “blood and bodily fluids for Plaintiff to clean up by himself,” the lawsuit states. As a result, Meringolo was no longer able to use and enjoy his boat and listed it for sale the next day; he now claims to suffer from PTSD, increased anxiety and depression. His lawsuit seeks damages in excess of $30,000 — the threshold dollar amount for a civil case to reach the circuit court in Florida.
“We’re not at liberty to discuss pending litigation,” LCSO Lt. John Herrell told Lake Legal News in an email.
Meringolo is represented by Stanley Plappert of The Florida Legal Advocacy Group PA in Ocala.
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]