News Cast for July 3rd:

July 4th is tomorrow and that means a lot of celebrating and partying going on and in some cases alcohol might be involved in some of that partying and celebrating. Then the question is, how does one get home safely if that person has been drinking, and there’s no designated driver or friend or Uber available to get you home? Simple, you call AAA. AAA officials have activated their “Tow to Go” for Independence Day. Spokesperson Mark Jenkins says the “Tow to Go” is a service that aims to prevent Floridians from driving while impaired by providing a complimentary ride for the driver and their vehicle. Best part is, you don’t have to be a AAA member to use this service. While it may seem that way, Jenkins says this isn’t a brand new service. The “Tow to Go” service was activated as of six o’clock this morning and it will conclude tomorrow at six o’clock in the morning. Jenkins says to use this service only if all other options such as a designated driver or Uber are not available. You can call “Tow to Go” at 1-855-286-9246 (1-855-2-Tow-2-Go).

Speaking of 4th of July celebrations, that brings us to the subject of fireworks. It should be noted that using fireworks is illegal in the state except if you have a commercial permit to use them and they are used before eleven o’clock at night. The subject was brought up during the last Okeechobee City Council meeting by Councilmember Monica Clark. Clark stressed the fact that it’s illegal to use fireworks and it was an issue recently when someone was using them between the hours of three o’clock until midnight in her neighborhood. Clark says it’s also a personal issue with her because of the noise from fireworks going off. Florida law says any exploding or flying fireworks such as firecrackers, Roman candles, rockets, shells and mortars are illegal. Sparklers are the only legal fireworks that can be used.

An Okeechobee man is being held in county jail at this time on a host of charges in connection with an incident Friday evening at a store. Police were called to a store on the eight hundred block of South Parrott Avenue a little before seven o’clock for reports that a woman’s purse was stolen. Store managers say the woman left her purse at the service desk to get a tour of the store and when she returned, it was missing. A search of the store and company vehicles revealed that 38 year old Alberico Garcia, a store employee, had taken the purse and hid it in his car. Police say Garcia tried to take it out of his car, adding a charge of tampering with evidence along with grand theft and larceny. He was taken to county jail and his bond is set at five thousand dollars.

Okeechobee County Sheriff’s deputies have a local man in county jail on charges of aggravated assault in connection with an incident Saturday afternoon. Deputies were called to an undisclosed location a little after 4:15 and were told by a witness that 65 year old Tommie D. Huff was holding a rusty machete outside his door and was standing in an aggressive stance with the weapon in his hand while threatening a girl. Deputies say Huff swung the machete in the witness’s direction, but he missed him and hit the man’s doorway, leaving some marks on it, which deputies later found. Huff was arrested and charged with aggravated assault with a deadly weapon with intent to kill. He was taken to county jail and his bond is set at ten thousand dollars. No one was hurt.

A vehicle accident in Highlands County over the weekend claimed the lives of a Boynton Beach man and woman. Florida Highway Patrol (FHP) officers say 51 year old Jerry Hughes was driving a Toyota Tacoma pickup truck and trailer eastbound on Highway 70 near Robert McGee Road in Lake Placid a little before 1:45 Saturday afternoon. The wet road caused Hughes’ truck to hydroplane and it ended up in the opposite lane, causing it to collide head on with an oncoming semi-truck. The impact caused Hughes’ truck to get lodged under the front of the semi-truck, pushing it for a while before it ended up on a grassy shoulder of the road. Hughes and his passenger, 44 year old Stephanie Hughes, were pronounced dead at the scene by medics. The semi-truck driver, 72 year old Francisco Cordova of Lake Placid, was not injured. The road was closed in both directions while emergency crews cleaned up the scene. FHP is investigating.

On the arrest report:

24 year old Ethan Lane King of Okeechobee was arrested by sheriff’s deputies on several counts of grand theft, conspiracy to commit grand theft and dealing in stolen property. His bond is set at $300 thousand dollars.

47 year old Raul Alvarez-Flores of Okeechobee was arrested for battery on his wife during a domestic dispute. He was released after posting a two thousand dollar bond.

44 year old Andrew Jermaine Jackson of Okeechobee was arrested for possession of methamphetamine, selling it within a thousand feet of a place of worship, possession of a concealed weapon by a convicted felon and dealing in stolen property. His bond is set at $500 thousand dollars.

44 year old Timothy James Burke of Okeechobee was arrested for violating probation on undisclosed previous charges. He was released after posting a five hundred dollar bond.

31 year old Tempest Liane Radford of Okeechobee was arrested for driving on a suspended license after a traffic stop. She was released after posting a five hundred dollar bond.

23 year old Andrew Logan Wheeler of Okeechobee was arrested for grand theft. His bond is set at $150 thousand dollars.

26 year old Dylan Roy Heasley of Okeechobee was arrested for withholding child support. His bond is set at a thousand dollars.

21 year old Malcolm Jehmal Williams of Okeechobee was arrested for improperly brandishing a handgun. He was released after posting bond.

31 year old Brandon William Tansley of Okeechobee was arrested for driving on a suspended license after a traffic stop. He was released after posting a five hundred dollar bond.

41 year old Keith White Olson of Okeechobee was arrested for drunk driving and driving on an expired license after a traffic stop and field sobriety test. His bond has not been set.

55 year old Don Lawton Morgan Junior of Okeechobee, an inmate at the county jail, was arrested for criminal mischief when he and another inmate broke a tablet. His bond is set at five hundred dollars.

32 year old Catherine Kennedy Nelson of Okeechobee was arrested for drunk driving following a traffic stop and field sobriety test. She was released after posting a one thousand dollar bond.

31 year old Steven Wayne Lawrence of Okeechobee was arrested for contempt of court during his hearing on past charges of drug possession and driving without a valid license. He’s being held without bond.

31 year old Zachary William Cowart of Okeechobee was arrested for driving on a suspended license after a traffic stop. He was released after posting a five hundred dollar bond.

23 year old Andrew Logan Wheeler of Okeechobee was arrested for violating probation on past charges of grand theft auto. He’s being held without bond.

38 year old Michael Clayton Stewart of Okeechobee was arrested for possession of drug paraphernalia after a traffic stop. He was released after posting a five hundred dollar bond.