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The Villages
Tuesday, January 31, 2023

Fruitland Park habitual traffic offender back behind bars after zipping past deputies

Raymond Leon Howard

A 59-year-old Fruitland Park man who was arrested last month for driving with a suspended license is back behind bars in the Lake County Jail.

Raymond Leon Howard, who was out on bond, drove past Lake County sheriff’s deputies on Sunday in the same vehicle he was driving when he was arrested on May 7. Master Dep. Jon Brocato attempted to stop Howard, but when he fled, deputies elected not to give chase. Instead, they set up near his house at 4600 Pine St. in Fruitland Park and waited for him to return home, a sheriff’s office report states.

A short time later, Howard drove past Sgt. David McDaniel in a different vehicle. McDaniel then conducted a traffic stop and this time Howard pulled over and was arrested, the report says.

In addition to this past Sunday’s arrest, Raymond Leon Howard, of Fruitland Park, has been held in the Lake County Jail six other times. Those dates include, top row, May 7, 2019; June 10, 2015 and Jan. 1, 2015. Bottom row, Oct. 25, 2014; July 16, 2014; and Nov. 11, 2013.

Howard, who hasn’t held a valid driver’s license since June 4, 1979, was transported to the jail and charged with driving with a suspended license (habitual traffic offender and DUI), no motor vehicle registration, fleeing/eluding police with disregard of safety to persons or property, license plate not attached to a vehicle and driving while license suspended (habitual offender). He is being held on $47,000 bond and is due in a Lake County courtroom on July 8 at 8 a.m. to answer to the charges.

Habitual traffic offender Raymond Leon Howard, of Fruitland Park, has been incarcerated in Florida prisons seven times since April 1982.

Howard, no stranger to the Lake County legal system, has been held in the jail seven times since January 2013. His six previous Lake County arrests and the charges are:

  • May 7: Driving with a suspended license (habitual offender);
  • June 10, 2015: Battery and improper exhibition of a dangerous weapon;
  • Jan. 1, 2015: Possession of cocaine and driving with a license suspended or revoked;
  • Oct. 25, 2014: Aggravated battery with a deadly weapon;
  • July 16, 2014: Possession of cocaine and driving with a suspended license (habitual and DUI);
  • Nov. 11, 2013: Occupied burglary, burglary of a dwelling while armed, aggravated assault with a firearm, shooting at or into a dwelling, possession of a firearm by a convicted felon, possession of a firearm by a felon, resisting a law enforcement officer with violence, battery on a law enforcement officer and two counts of threats of harm on a public official/law enforcement officer.

In addition, Howard has been incarcerated in Florida prisons seven times: April 9, 1982-June 28, 1983; May 25-Aug. 3, 1984; Aug. 15, 1991-May 1, 1996; March 26, 1998-Aug. 1, 1999; May 1, 2002-July 30, 2003; Nov. 5, 2003-Jan. 24, 2004; and Oct. 10-Dec. 26, 2013, according to Florida Department of Corrections records.

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