Weekend Domestic Violence: A Woman’s Teeth Knocked Out; Baseball Bat vs. Lexus
FlaglerLive | December 15, 2014
Two men were jailed over the weekend following separate domestic violence incidents that resulted in “great bodily harm” in one case and in severe damage to a vehicle in the other.
The case on Sunday afternoon involved Michael J. Ditaranto, a Palm Coast resident. It started in Volusia County and ended at Florida Hospital Flagler for the alleged victim, and at the Flagler County jail for Ditaranto, who was held on $10,000 bond.
Ditaranto, 47, and the alleged victim, his 42-year-old girlfriend, were driving north in the area of New Smyrna Beach, on State Road 415, when dispatch got a report that the couple was involved in a fight. A witness told police that as she was traveling on the same road, approaching State Road 44, she saw a black Dodge pick-up parked in the driveway of the New Smyrna Beach Speedway, and a couple in the front seats of the vehicle, fighting. The witness approached a traffic light and made a U-turn to get a better view, then followed the pick-up as it drove north.
The 28-year-old witness said she saw the male driver leaning over to the passenger seat, “striking the female multiple times in a violent manner,” according to the police report. The pick-up began veering in different directions all over the road. The witness reported the incident to 911 and saw the pick-up pull over. She turned around again, and when passing the pick-up, saw another vehicle parked nearby. That witness then went home and later provided a written statement to police.
Another witness, a 41-year-old resident of Port Orange, told police that as she drove north on SR415, she saw a white woman on the ground near a black Dodge pick-up, “with a bloody face and several of her teeth on the ground.” The witness also stated that “she observed a white male grab the female in an attempt to force her into the vehicle,” the police report relates, while “the female was pulling away from the male as if she was trying to escape.” The witness stopped and confronted the man, who claimed the female “was going crazy” as his reason for hitting her. The victim told the witness that she’d had three of her teeth knocked out. The witness then told the man she was calling police. The couple got into the pick-up and drove off, but the witness provided police with the Dodge’s tag number.
The number came back to owner Michael Ditaranto of 19 Rosepetal Lane in Palm Coast, where Flagler County Sheriff’s deputies were dispatched. A deputy observed injuries on both Ditaranto and the woman, who had a bloody face and teeth missing. Ditaranto had scratch marks on his face. The woman then told the deputy that she was at a job site with Ditaranto in Orange City when he became jealous as other men whistled at her. As the couple drove north, they began arguing, and the fight turned violent, she said. The woman was then taken to Florida Hospital Flagler. Ditaranto spoke to police as well, but his statements were redacted from the report, as self-incriminating statements usually are at that point in the investigation. He, too, was treated for minor injuries at Florida Hospital Flagler and discharged.
He was arrested on charges of aggravated battery with great bodily harm and false imprisonment.
The other incident took place on Friday evening outside the Wicked Monk Taproom at 15 Palm Harbor Village Way. The alleged victim told police that she’d received several text messages from her husband, Ralph Moreno, a 41-year-old resident of Laramie Drive in Palm Coast, regarding another man whose 2003 Lexus the woman had driven to the Taproom. The text messages had been threatening toward the other man.
The Lexus was parked in the Taproom’s rear parking lot. Not long before deputies arrived on the scene, the woman told police, Moreno pulled up in his black Dodge pick-up and parked behind the Lexus. The woman was there with one of the three children she has in common with Moreno, a daughter. Moreno then allegedly grabbed a baseball bat from the truck and started smashing the windshield, the headlights and the taillights of the Lexus, according to his arrest report. He then allegedly said he was not done with the car’s owner.
The woman, in tears as she spoke to police, spoke of her fear of Moreno, as the couple was in the process of divorcing but were still co-habitating. She claimed to have been the victim of domestic violence previously, though the incidents had gone unreported.
Moreno was jailed on charges of domestic violence assault and felony criminal mischief. He posted bail on $3,000 bond and was released.