WOKC Okeechobee’s True Country

WOKC’S NEW LOCATION IS 3936 SE 18th Terrace Okeechobee, Florida 34974

News Cast for April 23rd:

Okeechobee County Sheriff’s deputies arrested a local man early Friday morning on charges of second degree murder of his wife. Deputies were called to the 33 thousand block of NW 192nd Avenue a little after 6:30 after dispatch received a 911 call from 34 year old Kevin Franklin Hughes saying  his wife tried to kill him and he thinks she is dead. Deputies arrived and made contact with Hughes after finding the body of the victim, 40 year old Jennifer Minette Benson-Hughes, lying in the front yard. After further investigation, deputies arrested Hughes and charged him with his wife’s murder in the second degree. He’s being held without bond in county jail.  Details on what exactly led to Benson-Hughes’ murder are not yet known at this time. It remains under investigation.

Just as Okeechobee County Commissioners proclaimed it at their last meeting on April 11th, Okeechobee City Councilmembers proclaimed this month as Guardian Ad Litem Month at their meeting last week. The Guardian Ad Litem Program is a service that advocates for the voice of children who have been displaced from their homes and families due to neglect or other issues and the people of this program see to it that the children’s needs are met while in care and supports children and parents for a successful re-unification sometime down the road. These guardians also act as a mentor and friend for these children. Ellen Shaffer, a child advocate manager for the Guardian Ad Litem Program in the 19th Circuit says there’s a need for more guardians in Okeechobee. Shaffer says a passion for helping children, among other things, is what makes a good member of the Guardian Ad Litem Program. You can find out more at www.guardianadlitem.org.

Speaking of proclamations, this month is also the time to recognize your county’s government. Okeechobee County commissioners proclaimed the month of April as National County Government Month at their last meeting on April 11th. County Administrator Robbie Chartier says this is the time to recognize all the services the county provides its citizens and how important those services are to them. The roads you drive on, the parks you play in, the services from the fire department; they all wouldn’t be possible without your tax dollars and county governments to run them. To Chartier, this proclamation this month is very important. County Government Month has been recognized on a national level since 1991.

A report of a rubbish fire caught the attention of Okeechobee County firefighters Friday afternoon. Crews were called to the 31 hundred block of SE 710 a little before 3:15 and arrived to find two large piles of rubbish burning. Investigators say the owner wanted to control the outside fire and let the main pile continue to burn. Crews got both piles extinguished in about 45 minutes while using about five thousand gallons of water to get the fires extinguished. No one was hurt and no structure damages.

About two hours later, firefighters were called to the eleven thousand block of SE Highway 441 for a report of a brush fire. Crews arrived to find the homeowner burning wood. The fire was not threatening any structures but the homeowner was told to put it out because it was not meeting setbacks that are required by the Department of Forestry (DOF). Crews got the fire extinguished in about 25 minutes while using about five hundred gallons of water. No one was hurt and no structure damages.

A Lehigh Acres woman is dead and a Lehigh Acres man is in serious condition following a vehicle accident early Sunday morning last week in Sarasota County. Florida Highway Patrol (FHP) officers say 30 year old Christopher Marquez was driving a Nissan Sentra south on Highway 75 near Route 72 at around two o’clock when he didn’t stop in time before rear-ending a Chrysler 200 sedan that was inexplicably stopped in the center lane. The impact of the crash left debris and skid marks all over the highway. Marquez and his passenger, 63 year old Petruska Marquez, were taken to area hospitals for treatment. Petruska Marquez was pronounced dead by medics later that day. The driver of the Chrysler, 26 year old Nicalos Simpson of North Port, was arrested and charged with DUI manslaughter, serious bodily injury and property damage.

On the arrest report:

26 year old David Pena-Serrano of Okeechobee was arrested by sheriff’s deputies for drunk driving after a traffic stop and field sobriety test. He was released after posting a one thousand dollar bond.

29 year old Bradley William Brown of Okeechobee was arrested for violating probation on past charges involving substance abuse. He’s being held without bond.

44 year old Chad Edward O’Connor of Okeechobee was arrested on a warrant from Highlands County for an undisclosed charge. He’s being held without bond.

46 year old Agapito Bucio of Okeechobee was arrested for driving on an expired license for more than six months after a traffic stop. He was released after posting a $250 dollar bond.

35 year old Cesar Aguilar Hernandez of Okeechobee was arrested for driving without a valid license after a traffic stop. He was released after posting a five hundred dollar bond.

45 year old John Hood of Okeechobee was arrested for driving on a suspended license and leaving the scene of an accident. He was released after posting a five hundred dollar bond.

51 year old Hilda Leon of Okeechobee was arrested for drunk driving following a traffic stop and field sobriety test. She was released after posting a one thousand dollar bond.

26 year old Chad Thomas Andersen of Okeechobee was arrested by Florida Fish and Wildlife officers for operating an airboat while under the influence of alcohol. He was released after posting a five hundred dollar bond.

33 year old Francis Lopez Pineda of Okeechobee was arrested for driving without a valid license after a traffic stop. He was released after posting a one thousand dollar bond.

32 year old Vicente Fabian of Sebring was arrested for drunk driving after a traffic stop and field sobriety test. He was released after posting a $15 hundred dollar bond.

19 year old Tyler Devon Lytle of Sebring was arrested for aggravated assault and battery, fleeing and eluding law officers, resisting arrest and violating probation on past burglary charges. He’s being held without bond.

Okeechobee Community Events 4-19-19

The Okeechobee Battlefield Friends will host the Convocation of Seminole War Historians, Apr 26-28. The Convocation features speakers and programs relating to the Seminole Wars. Presenters include: Chief Justice Willie Johns and Pedro Zepeda of the Seminole Tribe; Dr Andrew Frank of FSU; Paul Backhouse of the Ah-Tah-Thi-Ki Museum; Authors John & Mary Lou Missall and Joe Knetsch; and historians Jesse “Archie” Marshall and Steve Carr. Seminole singing artist Rita Youngman will perform on Saturday evening, and the 2019 Frank Laumer Legacy Award will be presented to Billy Cypress (posthumously). A tour of the Seminole Veterans Building and Adminsitrative Building at Brighton Reservation and a traditional Seminole lunch provided by the Micco family and BBQ dinner are also planned. The cost of the Convocation is $60 and registration information is on the Battle of Okeechobee Facebook page or contact Dowling Watford at 863-610-2333.