Leesburg man missing after he walks out of own trial, judge sentences him anyway

LEESBURG, Fla. — Lake County law enforcement are looking for the man they say walked out of his own trial before it was even over.


Investigators have been looking for Zachery Waldo since Tuesday.

The state still had two witnesses left to call. Waldo left on a lunch break, and never returned.

Leesburg police are hoping someone knows where he is and will turn him in.

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Waldo was arrested in 2020 after he was wanted for a drunk driving crash in Leesburg at the intersection of Dixie Avenue and Canal Street on Christmas Eve that killed two parents and a child and seriously injured another.

Waldo, who was out on bond, went to trial this month on three counts of DUI manslaughter and DUI with serious injury.

Earlier this week, with a few witnesses still left to be called by prosecutors, police said Wlado left court during a lunch break, cut off his ankle monitoring device and didn’t return.

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“We’re working collectively with all local and federal agencies and private sector entities, with the bail bonds office, in order to locate (Waldo) and getting (him) back in custody,” Leesburg Police Capt. Joe Iozzi said.

Still, the trial continued without Waldo. He was convicted on all four counts and faces a minimum of 35 years behind bars.

Police said they’re working with the U.S. Marshals Task Force to try to track down Waldo. Anyone with information is asked to call Leesburg police or their local law enforcement agency.

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Jeff Deal

Jeff Deal, WFTV.com

I joined the Eyewitness News team as a reporter in 2006.

Adam Poulisse, WFTV.com

Adam Poulisse joined WFTV in November 2019.