News Cast for May 16th:

The Okeechobee County Sheriff’s Office was the setting yesterday for the annual law enforcement memorial service to honor those men and women law officers who lost their lives in the line of duty in 2018. Of the 158 law officers killed in the line of duty nationwide, eleven of them were officers in the state of Florida. Sheriff Noel Stephen says a law officer is a “modern day knight” and there’s a need for more of them. Stephen says a day like this, with the number of officers killed in the line of duty, it’s a reality that hits hard despite the fact that his officers do their jobs day in and day out, oftentimes without thinking they may not come home after their shifts. Police Chief Bob Peterson says while it’s a day to honor these fallen officers, it’s also a day of disappointment and sadness for their families. So far in 2019, there have been forty law enforcement officers reported killed in the line of duty in the United States.

Speaking of law enforcement, it’s a case of two down, one to go. Okeechobee City Police detectives are actively searching for a local man in connection with a home invasion robbery that happened nearly two weeks ago. 21 year old David Joseph Gardner has an active warrant out on him in connection with the robbery of a man at his home on the eight hundred block of NW 9th Avenue on May 3rd when Gardner, 21 year old Michael Wayne Cheney 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 and now Cheney has been apprehended as of Tuesday afternoon. Cheney’s bond is set at fifty thousand dollars. If you have any information on the whereabouts of 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.

If you’re interested in taking the course on Bleeding Control and you missed Tuesday night’s class, you’re in luck. There will be a second class being taught at the Okeechobee Emergency Management Center this Saturday beginning at 9am but you must sign up before five o’clock this afternoon. Okeechobee Fire Captain Ryan Hathaway says this course teaches techniques on handling and treating excessive and life threatening bleeding by the use of tourniquets and more. Hathaway says this is especially important when time is of the ultimate essence in a massive bleeding situation. Officials from the Emergency Management Center are teaming up with Trauma Training Group to present this course in recognition of Stop the Bleed Month. Remember, deadline to register for the course is five o’clock today. Call the Emergency Management Center at 863-763-5544 to register. The course is free of charge.

An Okeechobee man is in county jail on a host of charges from two separate incidents between Monday and Tuesday. Sheriff’s deputies were patrolling the 18 hundred block of SE 40th Avenue at around 10:30 Tuesday morning when they noticed 56 year old Joseph Hardy Haney riding his motorcycle there. Deputies had a “be on the lookout” notice for Haney’s arrest because of possible charges of burglary and criminal mischief in connection with an incident on Monday afternoon. Deputies arrested Haney yesterday and found a syringe with methamphetamine in it on his possession. He was arrested for those two charges and he was also identified as the one who burglarized a home Monday afternoon on the 92 hundred block of SE 59th Drive and grabbed the occupant’s neck and began choking her after he had taken several unnamed items from her home. Haney was arrested and charged with burglary with assault and criminal mischief, added to the methamphetamine possession charges rom Tuesday. He was booked into county jail and his bond is set at just under $16 thousand dollars for all charges.

A Belle Glade woman is dead and a Port St. Lucie woman injured following a vehicle accident this past Thursday afternoon. Florida Highway Patrol (FHP) officers say 38 year old Camille Bedward was driving a Toyota sedan west on State Road 80 in Belle Glade at around 12:45, right behind a Hyundai Sonata, with a Nissan SUV approaching from the opposite direction. Bedward, driving very fast, rear-ended the Hyundai Sonata, causing Bedward’s car to go to the left side, crossing the median and colliding with the Nissan SUV head on, and then crashed into the passenger side of another car. Bedward was pronounced dead at the scene by medics and the Nissan SUV driver, Trecia Bryson of Port St. Lucie, was taken to an area hospital for treatment. The drivers of the other vehicles were not injured. It’s under investigation.

On the arrest report:

30 year old Cory Blake Pethybridge of Okeechobee was arrested by sheriff’s deputies for violating probation on past charges of battery, trafficking stolen property and drug possession. He’s being held without bond.

27 year old Gregory Thomas Junior of Okeechobee was arrested for prowling and loitering and carrying a concealed firearm. His bond is set at seven thousand dollars.

43 year old Joseph Earl Dudwoire of Okeechobee was arrested for battery. He was released after posting a $25 hundred dollar bond.

46 year old Jessica Lee Allen of Okeechobee was arrested for child neglect without causing bodily harm. Her bond has not been set.

70 year old Blanco Espinozo-Rodriguez of Okeechobee was arrested for driving on a suspended license after a traffic stop. He was released after posting a five hundred dollar bond.

33 year old Tabitha Danielle Coulombe of Okeechobee was arrested for battery on her boyfriend during a domestic dispute. She was released after posting a $25 hundred dollar bond.

18 year old Scottie DeWayne Clark Junior of Okeechobee was arrested by police for violating a court injunction ordering him to refrain from having contact with his girlfriend. His bond has not been set.