News Cast for June 5th:

An Okeechobee man and woman were arrested Monday evening following a traffic stop and a little trickery. Sheriff’s deputies stopped a Chevy two door truck, driven by 27 year old Jose Nicholas Garcia, for having an unassigned license tag on the truck while he was driving on the seven hundred block of Route 70 West at around five o’clock. A check through dispatch revealed that Garcia did not have a valid driver’s license. Deputies say a friend of Garcia’s, 32 year old Dora Erlinda Castro, came to pick up Garcia and Castro then allowed Garcia to drive Castro’s car away from the scene. Deputies stopped the car almost immediately and arrested Castro for allowing an unlicensed driver to drive her car and arrested Garcia for driving without a valid license. Both were booked into county jail. They were released after posting bonds of five hundred dollars’ apiece. Both vehicles were towed from the scene and impounded.

An Okeechobee resident and longtime member of several community boards in Okeechobee County was recently recognized by the city council for his service. At their last meeting, Okeechobee City Councilmembers presented a certificate of appreciation to Elbert Batton for his service on the Planning Board, Board of Adjustment and Design Review Board. Batton was happy to be recognized by the council and says he loves serving on community boards and helping out in the community. Batton says he got interested in serving on community boards because of his experience as a state certified building contractor (Batton 1). Batton has been serving on community boards in Okeechobee for over thirty years and he believes everyone should take part in serving on a community board because to learn more about the community and its laws.

A traffic stop led to the drug related arrest of two Okeechobee women Friday afternoon. Sheriff’s deputies stopped a Hyundai four door sedan, driven by 47 year old Karen Lyn Raley, because her front seat passenger, 33 year old Anna Marie Murphy, was not wearing a seatbelt. Deputies say Raley appeared nervous as she was talking to deputies; her legs were shaking, she was stuttering and she was avoiding eye contact. A K-9 unit was brought in to search the car after deputies noticed Murphy picking up a Styrofoam cup and appeared to be drinking from it. The search revealed the cup to contain methamphetamine and some needles full of the drug were also found in the car. Murphy and Raley were arrested and charged with methamphetamine possession and Murphy was also charged with possession of drug paraphernalia. Both were taken to county jail. Murphy was released after posting a five thousand dollar bond and Raley is being held on a bond of just over five thousand dollars.

A Lehigh Acres man will be going to prison for a while for DUI manslaughter after being sentenced last week. 31 year old Terrence Bright was sentenced in the 20th Judicial Circuit Court on May 20th to eleven years in prison following an incident in June of 2017 where he was traveling at twice the posted speed limit while crossing the intersection of Leonard Boulevard and Hightower Avenue South a little past midnight and crashed his Nissan Rogue SUV into the driver’s side of a Dodge Intrepid, killing the driver and injuring the two passengers. Testimony revealed Bright had a Blood Alcohol Level of .177, which is twice the legal limit and he also had marijuana in his system. Bright pleaded no contest to the charges as part of a deal. After Bright serves his prison sentence, he’ll be on probation for four years and will also have to pay DUI fines, court costs and restitution to the victim’s family.

On the arrest report:

32 year old Jesus Antonio Gomez of Okeechobee was arrested by sheriff’s deputies for violating probation on previous undisclosed charges. He was released after posting a $750 dollar bond.

21 year old David Joseph Gardner, 21 year old Michael Wayne Cheney and 21 year old Aaron Bradley Hill, all from Okeechobee, were arrested for armed robbery while wearing masks. Their bonds are set at $30 thousand dollars’ apiece.

41 year old Robert Duane Staton of Okeechobee was arrested for possession of marijuana and marijuana resin after a traffic stop. He was released after posting a three thousand dollar bond.

29 year old Allison Marie Garcia of Okeechobee was arrested for drunk driving after a traffic stop and field sobriety test. She was released after posting a five hundred dollar bond.

19 year old Abigayle Rhea Ericson was arrested for contempt of court during her hearing on past charges of driving without a license. She was released after posting a one thousand dollar bond.

38 year old Ricky Raven Height of Okeechobee was arrested for grand theft auto, dealing in stolen property, providing false ownership to a pawnbroker and grand theft of a lawnmower. His bond is set at $50 thousand dollars.