By Rachel Brown Hackney
When Sgt. Jason Mruczek, leader of the Sarasota County Sheriff’s Office substation on Siesta Key, took the podium during the Oct. 4 Siesta Key Association meeting, he said he had little to report, other than “a few thefts” from vehicles.
When he asked whether anyone had questions for him, one woman reported another vehicle crash at the sharp intersection where Higel Avenue intersects Siesta Drive on the north end of the Key.
Because that area of the island is within the city limits, Mruczek responded, the Sarasota Police Department would have handled the incident. He was unaware of it, he said.
Dee Reams, chair of the Make Siesta Drive Safer committee of the Bay Island Siesta Association, told Mruczek, the license tag of the vehicle fell off during the incident, so police officers were able to find the driver of the car.
An inquiry to Genevieve Judge, public information officer for the Police Department, requesting if the report on the accident was available, she emailed this reporter a copy of it.
The call about the crash came in at 11:28 p.m. on Friday, Sept. 28, the report said.
The officer who wrote the narrative explained that an anonymous female witness had reported that the driver of an orange car traveling northbound on Higel lost control in the curve and almost struck her vehicle.
The orange car went off the north side of the road and crashed into a sign alerting drivers to the curve ahead, the narrative noted. Then the car continued up an embankment, traveled through the Higel Park landscaping and crashed into a Verizon/Frontier cable box before proceeding across La Paloma Avenue and crashing into the mailbox and water main in front of the home at 3435 La Paloma Ave., the narrative added. The vehicle continued through the landscaping between that residence and the home at 3423 La Paloma Ave. before colliding with the mailbox in front of the house at 3423 La Paloma Ave., the narrative pointed out.
After that crash, the narrative noted that the vehicle “fled through the neighborhood.” The witness reported that the driver came back out onto Siesta Drive, eastbound, and left the scene.
The officer found “several pieces of the vehicle throughout the crash scene,” the narrative said. “Water was flooding Siesta [Drive] because the water main had been damaged in front of 3435 La Paloma Ave.”
The police notified city staff to shut off the water main, and Dispatch contacted Frontier about the damaged box, the narrative added.
The officer later delivered the pieces of the vehicle to the Police Department’s Property division as evidence, the narrative said, and the officer left business cards for the homeowners. “I was unable to locate the suspect vehicle, but advised the oncoming shift of the situation,” the officer wrote.
Then, at 1:48 p.m. on Sept. 29, the narrative continued, another police officer advised the investigating officer that a New Jersey license tag from the vehicle had been found in front of 3201 Higel Ave. The investigating officer picked it up, the narrative noted, and determined that it was registered to Joseph Adamski Jr., 43. Adamski’s Florida license showed his address as 2564 10th St., Apt. 302, in Sarasota.
When the officer went to that address, the officer saw a damaged orange 2018 Dodge Challenger parked outside, the narrative added.
Adamski told the officer he was driving the vehicle at the time of the crash, the narrative continued, but he had no passengers with him and he was not injured.
“He told me that he left the scene because he didn’t realize that he damaged anything,” the officer wrote in the narrative, adding that Adamski had reported the crash to his insurance company.
“I told Joseph that there was a lot of damage for him not to realize it,” the officer pointed out in the narrative.
Then Adamski admitted to the officer that he had taken a Benadryl earlier in the day after having been stung by a bee, the narrative said. Adamski told another officer that he was using his cellphone when he lost control of the vehicle, the narrative added.
The officer who wrote the narrative issued Adamski citations for careless driving and leaving the scene of a crash with property damage. “I released Joseph’s bumper to him,” the officer concluded the narrative.
Damage to the Verizon/Frontier box was estimated at $1,000; damage to the mailbox, landscaping and water main at 3435 La Paloma Ave. was put at $3,500; damage to the warning sign for the curve and the landscaping by the road was estimated at $1,000; and damage to the landscaping and mailbox at 3423 La Paloma Ave. was put at $500, the report said.
The fine set forth in the state statutes for a moving violation — such as a charge of careless driving — is $166, according to Adamski’s case record in the 12th Judicial Circuit Court in Sarasota.