News Cast for May 15th:

This morning will mark a special time in law enforcement. In front of the Okeechobee County Sheriff’s office there will be the annual Law Enforcement Memorial Service held in honor of all law enforcement officers who lost their lives in the line of duty in 2018. Everyone is invited to attend and the memorial will begin at 9 am.

Speaking of law enforcement, Okeechobee City Police detectives are actively searching for two local men in connection with a home invasion robbery that happened nearly two weeks ago. 21 year old Michael Wayne Cheney and 21 year old David Joseph Gardner have active warrants out on them in connection with the robbery of a man at his home on the eight hundred block of NW 9th Avenue on May 3rd when Cheney, Gardner and 21 year old Aaron Bradley Hill, reportedly all armed with knives, allegedly came into the apartment of a man and took his wallet by force. Cheney and Gardner fled the scene while Hill was arrested by detectives. Hill remains in county jail in lieu of a thirty thousand dollar bond. If you have any information on the whereabouts of Cheney and Gardner, please contact the Okeechobee Police Department at 863-763-5521. You may also contact Treasure Coast Crime Stoppers at 1-800-273-8477 if you’d like to remain anonymous.

The last several weeks in Okeechobee have been a time of proclamations around the city and county for certain issues and happenings but none more important than mental health. At their meeting last week, county commissioners proclaimed the month of May as Mental Health Awareness Month. Tiara Weethee, director of marketing and communications of Suncoast Mental Health Center , was on hand to accept the proclamation and says she’s “really, really happy” the commissioners are bringing awareness to the issue and it’s something that’s not really recognized until something bad happens. Weethee says mental health is as real as physical health and just because you don’t see it, it doesn’t mean someone doesn’t have mental illness. Seventy years ago, Mental Health America designated May as Mental Health Awareness Month. Weethee says people can also call the 2-1-1 Helpline for assistance if they cannot turn to family or a counselor for help. There will be a Mental Health Awareness Brown Bag Lecture at Indian River State College (IRSC) beginning at 11 o’clock.

Okeechobee County firefighters had their hands full with a vehicle fire Friday afternoon. Crews were called to the 26 hundred block of NW 4th Street shortly before 1:30 and found a Chevrolet Duramax pickup truck with the engine covered in flames. Firefighters got the blaze extinguished in about ten minutes while using about 250 gallons of water. No one was hurt. Investigators say the owner stated that she started having trouble a couple of days earlier with the radio acting up and flickering on and off, and the truck was shutting off when turning. Estimated cost of damages to the truck is about five thousand dollars. It remains under investigation.

An Okeechobee man is in county jail on a host of charges stemming from a domestic battery incident during the early morning hours of last Wednesday. Sheriff’s deputies were called to an undisclosed address a little before five o’clock for a delayed domestic battery and was told by the woman living there that her boyfriend, 31 year old Justin Alan Driggers, hit her and bit her following a night of drinking at a local bar. Deputies noticed the skin on Driggers’ girlfriend was swelling up, forming a contusion and she told deputies that Driggers punched her following an argument they had and then bit her on her thigh, causing a bruise. Deputies say Driggers also pulled her hair and punched her several more times as they got back to her home and she called 911. Driggers also stole his girlfriend’s Galaxy Note, of which he later smashed the screen in and also took the keys to her Mercedes. Driggers was arrested and charged with domestic battery, grand theft and criminal mischief. He was booked into county jail and his bond is set at just over $105 thousand dollars.

On the arrest report:

35 year old Stephanie Michelle Starcher of Okeechobee was arrested by sheriff’s deputies for battery. She was released after posting a five hundred dollar bond.

22 year old Daniel Gonzalez of Okeechobee was arrested for battery on his mother during a domestic dispute. He’s being held without bond.

52 year old Raul Estrada-Baltazar of Okeechobee was arrested for driving on an expired license following a traffic stop. He was released after posting a five hundred dollar bond.

29 year old Justin Wilson Honeycutt of Okeechobee was arrested for criminal use of someone’s identification. He was released after posting a five thousand dollar bond.

60 year old Ellen Marie Tyson of Okeechobee was arrested for trespassing. She was released after posting bond.

26 year old Ralph Henry Buchheit of Okeechobee was arrested for driving on a suspended license after a traffic stop. He was released after posting bond.

36 year old Juan Carlos Sanchez of Okeechobee was arrested for driving without a valid license after a traffic stop. He was released after posting a five hundred dollar bond.

57 year old Timothy Louis Kuegler of Okeechobee was arrested for drunk driving after a traffic stop and field sobriety test. He was released after posting a $750 dollar bond.

38 year old Daniel Markese Nesby of Okeechobee was arrested for violating probation on past battery charges. He’s being held without bond.

59 year old West Bill Guyton of Okeechobee was arrested for violating probation on past drunk driving charges. He’s being held without bond.

29 year old James Robert Kelley of Okeechobee was arrested by police on a fugitive warrant from Massachusetts for armed robbery. He’s being held without bond.

29 year old Ajusta Sataye Williams of Port St. Lucie was arrested for driving on a suspended license after a traffic stop. He was released after posting a five hundred dollar bond.

24 year old Julianna Rose Herrera of Clewiston was arrested on a warrant from Hendry County for an undisclosed charge. She’s being held without bond.