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Monday, December 16, 2013
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Durham could go to trial
FHP says road rage, rash driving by cop

Two Monroe County Sheriff's Office deputies charged in an off-duty road rage incident on the 18 Mile Stretch in February could stand trial next month in a Miami courthouse.

Following an internal affairs investigation by the sheriff's office, Deputy Darnell Durham was suspended in June for 84 hours and Kyle Page for 24 hours. Part of Durham's suspension was due to a second, unrelated incident.

In that investigation, Durham was found to have driven recklessly and acted in a manner unbecoming an officer. Sheriff's Col. Bill Cameron said he found no evidence that the deputy brandished a weapon or gave false information to a state trooper.

The Florida Highway Patrol in February charged Durham with reckless driving and giving false information during a law enforcement investigation. Page was charged with reckless driving

Sheriff Rick Ramsay said he has moved Durham from road patrol to courthouse security on Plantation Key, where he will remain while his case is pending.

"This is not a permanent assignment," Ramsay said.

Ramsay said he has used the courthouse beat previously to discipline other deputies.

"You don't get to do what you want, and you don't have a patrol car," Ramsay said. "It can be considered boring."

But Ramsay added the security post is respectable and attractive to officers in the latter part of their careers.

Page remains on road patrol because he wasn't as aggressive as Durham.

There may be a setback in one of the trials set for Jan. 6. The attorney representing Page and Durham was convicted in federal court earlier this month for his participation in a billion-dollar Ponzi scheme.

Anthony Livoti, 62, is being held at the Miami Detention Center while he awaits sentencing on Feb. 26. He faces up to life in prison. Livoti is the attorney for the Fraternal Order of Police. His cases have been given to Donald Oswald, who did not return a phone call seeking comment.

According to February arrest report, Durham and Page were southbound on black Suzuki motorcycles at the beginning of the 18-Mile Stretch when they tried to pass a white Dodge truck driven by Brian Moore, whose passenger was Sandra Willis. Page passed the truck on the outside as a passing zone turned back into one lane, but Durham was unable to.

Durham reportedly pulled up alongside the truck, in the emergency lane, and pointed at it to pull over. When Moore refused, Durham allegedly kicked the passenger-side door and sped off.

Farther south, at Mile Marker 122.5, Moore saw Page and Durham standing on an access road before they got back on their bikes and began to follow the truck, the report says.

When the road turned back into two lanes in a passing area, Moore pulled up beside another vehicle to keep the motorcyclists from driving up beside him. Durham then drove in between the two vehicles and allegedly brandished a semiautomatic pistol in his left hand, still trying to get Moore to pull over, according to the report. The officers were later stopped at Mile Marker 107, where witnesses corroborated Moore's and Willis' account.

jgore@keysnews.com

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