News Cast for October 4th:

Okeechobee County firefighters had a couple of fires to contend with Tuesday night and both happened on exactly the same location at different times. Crews were called to the 19 thousand block of Highway 98 North just after five o’clock and found a pickup truck on fire with bales of burning hay in the trailer it was pulling. Crews needed about fifteen minutes and four thousand gallons of water to get the blazes to both the truck and hay-filled trailer controlled with no one getting hurt. Total loss is estimated at about $45 hundred dollars. Firefighters were called back there about six hours later to extinguish some of the reignited hay that fell off the truck. Crews got it controlled almost immediately with about a thousand gallons of water and foam, once again with no injuries. Cause of the truck fire is being investigated.

Okeechobee City Police Chief Bob Peterson gave a presentation to city councilmembers at Tuesday night’s meeting regarding the traffic problems, specifically speeding on the residential roads in the city. Peterson suggested the idea of purchasing Speed Awareness Monitor (SAM) trailers to be put on certain roads in the city for a week at a time. Peterson says these mobile speed trailers not only display the speed a motorist is traveling, but records the data and sends it back to the police station, allowing Peterson how and where to better deploy his department’s resources. Peterson says this will negate the need to hire more police officers to address the problem and not just because it’s more cost effective. Peterson suggested the council purchase two of these speed trailers which will cost about $25 thousand dollars total. If approved by the council at the next meeting, the speed trailers should be in place on city roads by mid-December.

Peterson-Speed Trailers 1

Peterson-Speed Trailers 2

Okeechobee County Sheriff’s deputies have a local couple in county jail at this time on battery charges in connection with a domestic dispute Tuesday night. Deputies were called to the twenty-nine hundred block of SE 39th Avenue just before 8:30 and found 32 year old Benjamin Brito Villalobos with a laceration on his head. When questioned, he said his wife, 38 year old Jamie Brito, threw a crutch at him, hitting him in the head after he tried to grab a phone from her and accidentally poked her in the eye following an argument they were having. Deputies say the altercation took place in front of Villalobos’s son. Villalobos and Brito were arrested and booked into county jail. Their bonds have not been set.

On the arrest report:

35 year old Samantha Ann Thomas of Okeechobee was arrested by sheriff’s deputies for battery, resisting arrest and failing to leave a property when ordered. Her bond has not been set.

28 year old Maria Maldonado and 33 year old Olga Maldonado, both of Okeechobee, were arrested for battery after a domestic dispute. Both were released after each posted $15 hundred dollar bonds.

19 year old Antonio Ortiz-Mejia of Okeechobee was arrested for battery after a domestic dispute. He was released after posting a $15 hundred dollar bond.