Detectives from the Okeechobee County Sheriff’s Department are investigating the death of a local woman who was an inmate in the county jail. 41 year old Michelle Lee Jones was found early Wednesday morning in her jail cell unresponsive with a very faint pulse. Detention deputies performed CPR on Jones until county fire and rescue squads arrived to take her to Raulerson Hospital for further treatment. Jones passed away sometime later. Her exact cause of death will be determined by the St. Lucie County Medical Examiner’s Office. Jones had been in the county jail since last Friday for violating her probation. Further information on this incident will be released as it becomes available.

It was a special day at Gilbert Ford this past Tuesday, and consequently, for South Elementary School too. South Elementary will have an extra eight thousand dollars to use for the upcoming school year thanks to Gilbert Ford and their Drive 4 Ur School program. This program had Ford donating twenty dollars for each test drive that goes to area participating schools or organizations. Gilbert Ford General Sales Manager Lee Geringer says it was a “warm feeling” to donate this eight thousand dollar check to South Elementary, not to mention very fulfilling. South Elementary Principal Emily Streelman says she’s “completely overwhelmed and excited” to receive this donation and she says it will go towards funding school activities like student initiatives and social and emotional learning. A total of 326 people came and test drove Ford vehicles on their test drive day on April 25th.

Looks like Okeechobee County finally has someone to build the soon to be built Property Appraiser, Tax Collector and Driver’s License Building (PATCDL). At the county commissioners’ meeting yesterday, Facility Maintenance and Development Director Donnie Oden and the architect of the building, Jerry Trout of Lakeland-based Straughn-Trout Architects announced that they have awarded the project to locally-based Native American Construction, LLC to build the project. Native American Construction bid the lowest of anyone on the project at just under $3.95 million dollars. Trout says he feels great that a local company will be building this multi-use facility to keep the local economy going. Trout says Native American Construction was chosen not just because they’re local and they had the lowest bid, but also because of their reputation. The bid also included some alternates totaling just over $56 thousand dollars and that will pay for enhancements on the building. Construction on the Property Appraiser, Tax Collector and Driver’s License Building will begin sometime before the year ends.

An Avon Park man is dead following a vehicle accident Monday morning in Hardee County. Florida Highway Patrol (FHP) officers say 38 year old Sean Rich was driving a Chrysler Sebring coupe westbound on State Route 64 east of Parnell Road in Zolfo Springs a little after 11:30 when, for unknown reasons, he drove onto the eastbound lane and collided head on with an oncoming Cascadia Freightliner truck. The impact caused Rich’s car to rotate counterclockwise and end up facing east in the westbound lane. Rich was pronounced dead at the scene by medics. The truck driver was not injured. FHP is investigating the accident.

On the arrest report:

23 year old Bruce Lee Snell Junior of Okeechobee was arrested by sheriff’s deputies for violating probation on past cocaine possession charges. He’s being held without bond.

44 year old Timothy James Burke of Okeechobee was arrested for driving on a revoked license, driving without a valid registration, driving a vehicle with an unassigned license plate and violating probation after a traffic stop. He’s being held without bond.

40 year old Richard Woods Reynolds of Okeechobee was arrested for battery on his girlfriend during a domestic dispute. His bond has not been set.