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On April 3rd at 7:39 p.m., the Lakeland Police Department responded to 200 North Galloway Road in reference to a traffic crash. One of the vehicles involved in the crash, 2005 Buick Rendezvous, had been reported stolen to the Lakeland Police Department earlier that morning at 9:05 a.m. The owner of the stolen vehicle had entered his residence leaving the vehicle unlocked and the keys in the ignition. He was in his residence briefly and when he comes back out, his vehicle was stolen.

Prior to the accident, the Polk County Sheriff’s Office (PCSO) was conducting traffic enforcement when they attempted to stop the speeding stolen Buick Rendezvous as it traveled south bound on Galloway Road near the intersection of Sutton Road. The vehicle fled from a PCSO Deputy and he discontinued his efforts to stop the vehicle to include turning off his emergency lights and turning away. The deputy never got close enough to get a tag number or identify the driver. For additional details on PCSO involvement, please contact their Public Information Officer, Carrie E. Horstman.

At the scene of the crash, LPD officers observed the stolen Buick Rendezvous facing north on its right side on the east shoulder of the roadway. The other vehicle, 2004 Toyota 4 Runner, was facing south on the east shoulder of the roadway with the driver deceased in the drivers set. The driver of the Toyota 4 Runner was not wearing a seat belt.

The preliminary investigation revealed that the stolen Buick Rendezvous was traveling north on Galloway Road North. It appears that the stolen Buick crossed the center double yellow line and hit the Toyota 4 Runner head on.

The stolen Buick Rendezvous rotated and came to a final rest facing north on its side on the east shoulder of the roadway. The Toyota 4 Runner rotated and came to a final rest facing south on the east shoulder of the roadway. No tire marks were observed to indicate breaking from either vehicle.

The stolen Buick Rendezvous was occupied by six males, all of which were transported to Lakeland Regional Health for various injuries except for one juvenile who was airlifted to Tampa General Hospital. Detectives are still trying to verify names, address and date of birth of all the occupants.  It appears at this time that there were 3 juveniles and 3 adults in the vehicle, one of which had a loaded handgun in his pocket.  Five of the occupants were stable with serious injuries and unconscious.

The driver of the stolen Buick Rendezvous has not been identified as of yet. Traffic homicide investigators and detectives will follow-up with the State Attorney’s Office as the investigation continues and at this time, no charges have been filed.

The deceased driver of the Toyota 4 Runner has been identified as Matthew John Smith, 31 years of age of Lakeland. Next-of-kin has been notified.

Chief’s Chat Canceled for April 6th

The Chief’s Chats held at the Lakeland Police Department have now moved to a quarterly Chief’s Chat with the next one scheduled for June 1st. We have also changed the format of the meeting to give you more time for a question & answer session with Chief Giddens. The September Chiefs Chat has been moved one week to September 14th due to Labor Day. The meetings will still be held at LPD. We will send out a press release and update our social media sites as the dates get closer.

In addition, we have launched “Coffee with the Chief” every three months with the first one being held on April 29th, 8:00 a.m. to 9:00 a.m. at The Village Inn, 3770 Lakeside Village Ct. “Coffee with the Chief” will be alternated between north and south Lakeland locations. The coffee is on us as we discuss our plans to make Lakeland a Safe Community to visit, work, live, and raise a family. More on this event will be posted in the upcoming weeks.

At approximately 6:45pm on Saturday, March 21, 2015, the victim, Shavar Lewis, 37 yrs old,  and two other arrived at 1135 Martin Luther King Avenue in search of a subject. At this time, Lewis and witness Antonio Callaway became involved in a physical altercation. Diedre Callaway exited the residence with a steak knife swinging her arms and stabbed Shavar Lewis as he was fighting with Antonio Callaway on the ground. Lewis was heard by a witness saying, “She’s stabbing me!” A witness, Jerreail McLeod, retrieved a handgun from within his vehicle and fired several rounds into the air to get the crowd to scatter.

McLeod then drove Lewis to Lakeland Regional Health to be treated. On Sunday, March 22, Lewis was pronounced deceased by LRH staff at 4:22 pm. On Monday, March 23rd, an autopsy was performed on Lewis and the Medical Examiner concluded that Lewis died as a result of a single stab wound to the left side of his back. The wound was consistent with that having been caused by a steak knife with a 5” to 6”” blade.


On March 21st, the Violent Crimes Unit responded to 1135 Martin Luther King Ave and to the hospital to investigate the stabbing. Detectives continued to follow-up with leads and interviews on Sunday and Monday and they identified Diedre Payne Callaway, 52 years of age as the suspect.


On Monday, March 23, 2015, Detectives obtained an arrest warrant for Diedre Payne Callaway for 2nd Degree Murder in the stabbing death of Shavar Lewis. At approximately 9:28 p.m. Diedre Payne Callaway was taken into custody at her residence located at 3120 Santa Fe Trail, Polk City, Florida.   The PCSO assisted with the arrest which was uneventful. 


On March 22, at 11:32 a.m., the Lakeland Police Department responded to a tip that the residence at 624 Hillside Drive was a grow house for cannabis. Officers arrived and made contact with the resident, Yoandris Alvarez Gutierrez. Upon making contact, officers could smell the odor of cannabis. Gutierrez gave consent for officers to search the residence.

Officers discovered that one room in the house had been converted into an active cannabis nursery utilizing environmental control, an irrigation system, electrical power transformers operating high intensity lighting, and twenty-one growing cannabis plants.  Some of the cannabis plants were 3’ tall. The entrance to the room was through a small 3’x2’ makeshift door in a closet which also had a heavy odor of cannabis emanating from it. The original doorway to this room had been dry walled over. Further investigation revealed that the electric service line into the residence had been tapped, bypassing the power meter.


Detectives from the Special Investigations Section responded to assist in the investigation. This location is within 500 feet of Carlton Palmore Elementary School. Gutierrez was arrested and transported to the Polk County Jail.



Yoandris Alvarez Gutierrez, DOB 11/13/89, 624 Hillside Drive.

·       Cultivation of Cannabis within 1000 Feet of a School

·       Possession of Drug Paraphernalia

·       Maintaining a Structure to Cultivate a Controlled Substance

·       Tampering with Utility Fixtures.