News Cast for April 22nd:

An Okeechobee man died this past Thursday after sustaining injuries in a vehicle accident two nights earlier. Florida Highway Patrol (FHP) officers say 55 year old Neal Prescott was driving on Highway 98 sometime between six and seven o’clock when he failed to negotiate a curve properly on Lofton Road and his vehicle rolled over several times, ejecting Prescott from the vehicle. He ended up in a pasture on Highway 98. Coincidentally, Commissioner Bryant Culpepper a retired firefighter and paramedic, was about ten seconds behind Prescott and he stopped to help him. Culpepper says he had to go through a barbwire fence to get to Prescott and he helped secure his neck and cleared his airway before Okeechobee County Fire and Rescue crews arrived. Culpepper says Prescott was not wearing a seatbelt at the time and he believes if Prescott was wearing one, it might have been a completely different story. Prescott received multiple injuries, including a lacerated spleen and a collapsed lung as a result of the accident. Prescott was flown to Lawnwood Regional Medical Center in Fort Pierce for treatment before medics pronounced him dead on Thursday.

An Okeechobee woman will be on probation for the next twelve months with the Florida Department of Corrections following her guilty plea last week in connection with her crimes involving her pet spider monkey. 56 year old Tina Darlene Ballard entered a guilty plea on Tuesday afternoon to two counts of maintaining captive wildlife in a neglectful manner, a count of failing to vaccinate the monkey for rabies and a count of culpable negligence causing harm when her pet spider money named Spanky attacked two people, one of them an employee, at Home Depot last June. Prosecutor Ashley Albright says while the case sounded somewhat entertaining and even a little amusing to some, it was as serious as it could be. As a condition of her probation, Ballard is prohibited from possessing a class one, two or three captive wildlife, and that of course includes spider monkeys. Ballard’s attorney, Jim Volpi, was unavailable for comment.

Okeechobee County firefighters had their hands full with a grass and brush fire early Thursday morning. Crews were called to an area on NW 266th Street a little after 4:30 and arrived to find a fire burning in thick palmettos and grass. Investigators say the fire measured about five acres in size and it was burning very slowly but not threatening any homes in the area. Firefighters got the fire extinguished quickly while using about a hundred gallons of water. No one was hurt. Okeechobee County firefighters were assisted by firefighters from the Forest Service who handled the remainder of the cleanup and investigation.

Four Okeechobee men, all inmates at the Okeechobee County Jail, are in more trouble in connection with three separate incidents Tuesday afternoon. Sheriff’s deputies were called to the jail a little after 12:30 for the first incident after video evidence revealed that 21 year old Blaine Eugene Fulwider and 18 year old Dominic Daniel Edson were fighting. Deputies say both men walked under a stairwell and began swinging their closed fists at each other. A few hours later in the second incident, 18 year old Tyler Kirkland and Edson were fighting again under the same stairwell. Then an hour later, 35 year old Joshua Raynor came up from behind Dominic and struck him in the back of the head in the vestibule area of the B-pod. Raynor was arrested and charged with battery on a fellow inmate while Fulwider, Kirkland and Edson all were charged with affray. Raynor’s bond is set at $25 hundred dollars and Fulwider, Kirkland and Edson’s bonds are set at five hundred dollars apiece.

Six people, three of them young children, were seriously injured following a vehicle accident in Highlands County early Thursday morning. Florida Highway Patrol (FHP) officers say 36 year old Lance Santiago of Sebring was driving a Toyota RAV4 SUV a little before 7:30 when he stopped at a stop sign at the corner of Route 29 and Route 27 in Sebring and was turning left onto 27. A Chrysler 300 sedan, driven by 29 year old Chelsea Crago of Lake Placid, was northbound on 27 and Santiago violated Crago’s right of way, and the front of her car hit the left front side of Santiago’s SUV. The impact caused Santiago’s SUV to rotate counterclockwise and hit a third vehicle that was coming south on 27. Santiago, and his female passenger, whose name was not released, were all taken to Lee Memorial Hospital in Ft. Myers for treatment. Crago and her three young passengers, ages six, seven and eleven, were taken to area hospitals for treatment. The occupants of the third vehicle were not injured. FHP is investigating.

On the arrest report:

38 year old Charles B Micco of Okeechobee was arrested by sheriff’s deputies for cocaine and marijuana possession and carrying a concealed firearm after a traffic stop. He was released after posting an eleven thousand dollar bond.

24 year old Megan Elizabeth Cline of Okeechobee was arrested for aggravated battery with a deadly weapon after she reportedly ran over her boyfriend with her vehicle following an argument they were having. Her bond has not been set.