An Ocklawaha man is accused of illegally dumping a large plant on the side of a road in Silver Springs.
A Marion County sheriff’s deputy responded Wednesday to an address on SE 20th Place, where the witness who reported the incident said he saw a man he knows only as “Shane” pull a large cactus-like plant with a truck. The suspect was later identified as Ronald Shane Howard, 49, of 18765 SE 55th Place in Ocklawaha.
The witness said he asked Howard, who was driving a white flatbed truck, if he was going to just leave the item there in the 18000 block of SE 20th Place and Howard replied yes, he was going to. The witness took pictures that showed the truck with the plant behind it and then as it was driving away with the plant no longer behind it, according to the sheriff’s office report.
The deputy followed drag marks in the dirt roadway to a house at 18039 SE 18th Street. A woman who was standing across the street said she saw Howard drag the plant around the corner. She said he was going to dump it near her residence but saw her sitting on her steps. The witness said Howard then drove further down the road and returned a short time later without the plant, the report said.
Howard told the deputy he found the plant in the middle of the road on SE 180th Avenue. He said it looked like someone had the plant on the back of a truck and it fell off. Howard said he moved the plant out of the roadway. He said the residence at 18039 SE 18th Street belongs to his son, and he doesn’t believe his son would have put the plant in the roadway, according to the report.
At the 18039 SE 18th Street address, the deputy saw drag marks go into the yard, where it looked like work was being performed. There were several other palm tree-type plants that appeared to have been dug up. The deputy saw several other plants of the same type that had been dumped planted around the residence, the report said.
Howard was charged with illegal dumping of more than 500 pounds and taken to the Marion County Jail, where he was released early Friday on $5,000 bond. No court information was available.