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December 5, 2006

Deaf man dies after drunken eviction

From: Florida Times-Union - Jacksonville,FL,USA - Dec 5, 2006

He was kicked out of a bowling center and ended up in a ditch outside.

By DAVID HUNT, The Times-Union

YULEE - Investigators are trying to pinpoint how a deaf man determined to be highly intoxicated while running amok at a Nassau County bowling center died during the weekend.

Bruce A. Doss, 22, of 86133 Kutana Drive was pronounced dead Saturday at Baptist Medical Center Nassau.

Authorities said they found Doss pinned down by three men in a ditch outside Yulee Bowling Center on U.S. 17.

Reports said Doss was thrown out of the business because he was pinching female patrons. When employee Jason Ritter took Doss to the exit, Doss punched Ritter in the chest before Ritter shoved him outside and held the door shut, authorities said.

Doss tried to get back inside but then walked away, encountering Michael D. Gammons Jr., 35, of Yulee in the parking lot.

Gammons said he recognized that Doss couldn't hear, so he tried to communicate with his hands to calm him.

"He was very intoxicated. ... I don't know what it was. He was difficult to control," Gammons said Monday, declining further comment because of the ongoing investigation.

Sheriff Tommy Seagraves said Doss, who had no previous run-ins with authorities here, had a blood-alcohol level of 0.26 percent, according to preliminary reports. By comparison, a person is presumed impaired in Florida at 0.08 percent.

Investigators were waiting for a full autopsy.

Authorities said Doss punched Gammons in the chest and ran across the parking lot toward U.S. 17. Gammons tried to stop Doss before he ran to the road.

Seagraves said Doss tripped into a ditch. Gammons was among a group of three to hold him there until deputies arrived. The other two men were identified as Ralph Turlington, 26, and Peter Turlington, 25, both of Fernandina Beach.

Seagraves said Doss had a weak pulse and a deputy administered CPR while waiting for an ambulance.

Attempts to contact Doss' family were unsuccessful. Seagraves said his family is concerned that race is an issue in the death. Doss is black.

"There's nothing indicating that's an issue at this point," Seagraves said. "He was a patron of the bar for over two hours, co-mingling with people in the establishment. He'd been there that long before anything happened.", (904) 359-4025

© The Florida Times-Union.