Freddy Gilliland severely injured in vehicular incident

Freddy Gilliland severely injured in vehicular incident
Freddy Gilliland is a popular and well-liked figure in the Cortez fishing community. - Kim McVey | Submitted

CORTEZ – West Bradenton resident David Nichols remains incarcerated at the Manatee County Jail today after being arrested on Tuesday, Nov. 19 on a felony charge of attempted murder/not premeditated involving fellow west Bradenton resident Fred “Freddy” Gilliland.

On Monday, Nov. 18, at approximately 10:22 p.m., Manatee County Sheriff’s Office (MCSO) deputies responded to a call pertaining to a vehicle versus pedestrian traffic crash near the intersection of 46th Avenue West and 102nd Street West, east of the Paradise Bay Estates mobile home community.

“Upon MCSO’s arrival, the victim (Gilliland) was located along the north side of 46th Ave. W with multiple traumatic injuries which included but were not limited to extensive skin abrasions, a nearly severed right arm, a left hand exposed to the bone, compound rib fractures and massive facial injuries,” according to the probable cause affidavit (PCA) filed by Deputy Britton Couch.

“The victim was transported to Blake Medical Center in critical condition and underwent emergency trauma surgery. When medical personnel and MCSO deputies initially arrived the defendant (Nichols) and his vehicle were no longer on scene and not located in the immediate vicinity,” according to the PCA.

Freddy Gilliland severely injured in vehicular incident
West Bradenton resident David Nichols was arrested for his alleged involvement. – Manatee County Sheriff’s Office | Submitted

“The defendant was identified as a person of interest based on the vehicle description, provided suspect name of ‘Dave’ and the area where he lived in the Sunny Shores subdivision. Deputies responded to the defendant’s residence and located a Chevrolet pickup with front end damage and body fluids and human matter,” according to the PCA.

“During the initial investigation, Melissa Gleydura approached deputies and advised that she was with the defendant and the victim just moments before the incident occurred. Melissa advised that she went to the store with the victim and went inside the house moments before the defendant came over. Melissa advised that she went outside shortly after the defendant arrived to ask him to put his dog away out of concern for her own dog’s potential behavior. Melissa stated she was ignored and the defendant became involved in a heated verbal argument with the victim over a previous incident. Melissa attempted to quell the argument, which ultimately led to the victim walking away southbound on 101st St. W. towards 46th Ave. W.,” according to the PCA.

Freddy Gilliland severely injured in vehicular incident
According to the Manatee County Sheriff’s Office, the incident took place on 46th Avenue West, between 101st and 102nd Streets West. – Google Maps | Submitted

“After the victim walked away, the defendant asked Melissa and John Smith to push his truck backwards out of the driveway since his truck does not have reverse. Melissa stated after they pushed defendant’s truck onto the roadway of 101st St. W. he waited stationary for approximately two minutes, facing south as the victim was walking. Melissa advised that she walked toward the house when she heard tires squealing and the sound of an impact. Melisa advised John Smith of what she heard and left to check on the victim. A photographic lineup was presented to Melissa and she identified the defendant with a 100% certainty,” according to the PCA.

“John Smith advised that the defendant came over to pick up various items that he had previously offered to give him. John stated that he loaded an awning into the back of the truck as the defendant and the victim were engaged in a heated argument. After pushing the defendant’s truck into the road, John advised he later heard a truck accelerating down the street. A photographic lineup was presented to John Smith and he identified the defendant with 80% certainty,” according to the PCA.

“As the investigation proceeded, a statement was obtained from the 911 caller who initially located the victim and reported the incident. When she made contact with the victim he stated, ‘That son of a bitch Dave drug me with that truck all the way down here, he hit me and drug me here,’” according to the PCA.

“The MCSO Traffic Homicide Unit responded to conduct further in-depth examination of the scene. It was determined the victim was struck by the defendant’s vehicle within the intersection of 46th Ave. W. and 101st St. W. It was determined the victim was drug by the defendant’s vehicle for an approximate distance of 284 feet,” according to the PCA.

“The defendant’s vehicle had fresh damage to the front end with visible damage to the hood. At no point in time did the defendant contact 911 to report the accident, nor did the defendant remain on scene to render aid to the victim,” according to the PCA.

“As a result of the defendant’s actions, the victim sustained life-threatening injuries which at last update included the removal of his spleen, a lacerated liver, multiple rib fractures, collapsed left lung, right arm amputation and numerous facial sutures. The victim is currently listed in highly critical condition,” according to the PCA filed with the Clerk of the Court at 3:55 p.m. on Nov. 19.

According to court records, the $500,000 bond set for Nichols’ release was revoked. On Thursday, Nov. 21, the public defender’s office filed on Nichols’ behalf a plea of not guilty and a demand for a jury trial.

As of Saturday morning, Gilliland remained hospitalized. Cortez residents say that Gilliland is well-liked among the village of Cortez’s fishing community. After the incident, Cortez resident Kim McVey started an online GoFundMe fundraiser called “Friends for Freddy.” As of Saturday morning, 66 donors contributed $4,640 toward the $10,000 fundraising goal.

“Freddy has a huge heart and would help anyone in any way possible, so please help us help him,” the GoFundMe page says.