News Cast for March 7th:

We are now into the month of March and with that, it’s “Red Cross Month.” At their meeting Tuesday night, Okeechobee City Councilmembers voted unanimously to proclaim March “Red Cross Month” in Okeechobee. Local Red Cross volunteer Peggy DuBose was on hand to accept the proclamation and while she’s happy to receive it, she wishes there were more Red Cross volunteers. DuBose says while the local Red Cross is still in charge of sheltering and health and safety, they’ve had to do some relocation and revamping lately. DuBose says Red Cross volunteers are currently working with people still recovering from Hurricane Irma while some will be going up to Alabama to help those affected by the tornado that struck there over the weekend.

An Okeechobee man is in county jail at this time on a host of thefts in connection with incidents that happened on Tuesday morning. Sheriff’s deputies say 26 year old Millard Wayne Bearden the Third broke into a woman’s pickup truck at her home on the 41 hundred block of SE 23rd Court just before nine o’clock and stole several items and then went into her shed and stole more items. Deputies were called and they say the items were later found at Bearden’s home in the fenced yard. The items Bearden stole include a pink RCA electronic tablet, a t-ball stand and a tool box. Deputies say all the items taken amounted to $635 dollars. Bearden was arrested and charged with two counts of burglary and grand theft. He was booked into county jail and his bond has not been set.

It was another weekend in Okeechobee County, another grass fire for county firefighters to contend with. Crews were called to the 14 thousand block of NW 264th Street a little after five o’clock Saturday evening and arrived to find a one acre sized fire burning mostly light grass and brush fuels in a vacant lot. Firefighters got the blaze controlled with the help of crews from Florida Forest Service in about twenty minutes while dousing it with a thousand gallons of water. No one was hurt. Investigators say the fire did threaten a couple of abandoned mobile homes in the area, but crews effectively kept the blaze from reaching the structures. Investigators say the fire started when a burn pile got out of control.

Three Stuart residents, one man and two women, are dead following a vehicle accident Friday night in St. Lucie County.  Florida Highway Patrol (FHP) officers say 35 year old Philip Joseph Royer was driving  a Chevy Cruze sedan south on the 63 hundred block of Route A1A at a very high rate of speed near the Florida Power and Light (FPL) plant at around eight o’clock when Royer rear-ended a Ford F-150 pickup truck. The impact caused the car to rotate clockwise across the road and end up in the northbound lane, causing both vehicles to catch fire. Royer and his passengers, 37 year old Catherine Ann Schoffler, 27 year old Ashlee Marie Gallant, all from Stuart and 18 year old Sandra Jane Burnham of Jacksonville, were all pronounced dead at the scene. The pickup truck driver, 26 year old Andrea Peavy of Jupiter, was treated for minor injuries. The deceased victims’ names were withheld for a few days pending family notification. FHP is investigating.

On the arrest report:

27 year old Dylan Colby Garcia of Okeechobee was arrested by sheriff’s deputies for introducing contraband into a detention facility and violating probation. His bond has not been set.

27 year old Jason Michael Birchfield of Okeechobee was arrested on a warrant from Hendry County on previous charges of driving on a suspended license after a traffic stop. His bond is set at a thousand dollars.

21 year old Jose Jesus Perez of Okeechobee was arrested for violating probation on previous escape charges. He’s being held without bond.

32 year old Bo Kenneth Moore of Okeechobee was arrested for driving on a suspended license after a traffic stop. He was released after posting a five hundred dollar bond.

57 year old Michael Allen Anderson of Okeechobee was arrested by police for trespassing. His bond is set at five hundred dollars.

38 year old Zarnell Fitzgerald of Okeechobee was arrested for criminal mischief when he threw a bottle at someone from a car. He was released after posting bond.

25 year old Thomas Andrew Seals the Second of Okeechobee was arrested for assault and criminal mischief during a domestic dispute with his wife. His bond has not been set.

45 year old Jeffrey Michael Mullin of Sebring was arrested on a warrant from Highlands County for methamphetamine possession. He’s being held without bond.

47 year old Kimberly Ann Harris of Apopka was arrested for violating probation on past charges of giving false information to a pawnbroker. She’s being held without bond.