News Cast for October 7th:

An Okeechobee man is dead and another local man was seriously injured following an accident involving three vehicles Thursday evening in Martin County. Florida Highway Patrol (FHP) officers say 58 year old Terry Ray Plank was riding a Honda motorcycle northbound on Highway 441 approaching the Okeechobee County line at the same time the driver of a semi-truck was approaching from the opposite way. FHP officers say Plank failed to maintain his travel lane and swerved to the left, right into the semi-truck’s path and Plank collided with the truck. The impact of that collision caused the truck driver to swerve into the northbound lane and collide with a Ford Explorer, driven by 37 year old Jesus Vargas Barrios. After that collision, Barrios’ vehicle went into the southbound lane and collided with a guardrail. Plank was pronounced dead at the scene by medics and Barrios was taken to Raulerson Hospital in Okeechobee for treatment of his injuries. The semi-truck driver was not injured. The accident is being investigated.

Looks like an already existing business in Okeechobee County might be looking to expand, but still remain in our community. At their last meeting, Okeechobee County Commissioners gave the green light to begin negotiations with NexAir, a business currently situated on five acres in Commerce Park that supplies gases and welding equipment, to acquire a larger property. Patrick Galphin, NexAir Director of Facilities and Project Management says his business, which has been here since the 1980’s, is in need of more space because the process of doing their work has changed over the years and they’re looking to build a state of the art pumping facility on eight acres of land in Commerce Park. Galphin says their current site is just not ideal anymore. The issue will come up again before the commissioners at a future meeting. Galphin says he hopes to have a lease on the new property completed before the end of the year so they can begin construction on the new facility in early 2020.

A raid on a home in Okeechobee County resulted in the drug-related arrests of three local women and one man this past Wednesday. Narcotics officers from the Sheriff’s Department say they obtained a signed search warrant on Tuesday and then proceeded to a home on the 12 hundred block of NE 11th Street Wednesday afternoon due to probable cause of illegal drug activity. Officers arrived and saw 56 year old Veronica Lebron Miles approaching the front door of her home. When they said they have a search warrant, she ignored them and went inside the home and closed the door. Officers then forced their way in and secured Miles along with 61 year old Lee Anna Harlow, 59 year old Tony Allen Harlow and 46 year old Rhonda Latrelle James. The search revealed a bag of crack cocaine on the floor, drug paraphernalia in two of the bedrooms, pipes, razor blades and a metal rod which all tested positive for cocaine were found all over the house. Officers also found oxycodone tablets in Miles’ pockets. All four were arrested and charged with cocaine possession and drug paraphernalia while Miles was also charged with possession of a controlled substance without a prescription. Tony and Lee Anna Harlow’s bonds are each set at $75 hundred dollars, James’ bond is set at $11 thousand dollars and Miles was released after posting a $21 thousand dollar bond.

Officials from Okeechobee Utility Authority (OUA) say they will be changing its method of chlorinating potable water to ensure the future safety of our drinking water. People who use the water may notice an unusual chlorine taste or odor in their tap water after today. OUA officials say these conditions are not harmful to your health but if you’re on kidney dialysis, you should talk with your doctor regarding this matter. If you have tropical fish or aquatic animals, you should contact a pet store for advice. Hydrant flushing during this time may cause the water to become cloudy and discolored and should only last a few hours. These conditions will last until October 21st. Any further questions should be referred to OUA.

On the arrest report:

57 year old Stacy Lafawn Tyson of Okeechobee was arrested by sheriff’s deputies for violating probation on past charges of driving without a valid license. He’s being held without bond.

25 year old Araceli Sanchez of Okeechobee was arrested for drunk driving and property damage after a vehicle accident. She was released after posting a one thousand dollar bond.

43 year old Santiago Hilario-Callejas of Okeechobee was arrested for driving without a valid license and presenting a forged identification card to the deputy after a traffic stop. His bond is set at just over $15 thousand dollars.

22 year old Deveon Scott James of Okeechobee was arrested for violating probation on past charges of battery on a law enforcement officer. He’s being held without bond.

43 year old Wallace Ray Keeton the Second of Okeechobee was arrested on a warrant from Hardee County for selling counterfeit controlled substances. He’s being held without bond.

31 year old Devon Anthony Mitchell Junior of Okeechobee was arrested for possession of fentanyl after being caught selling to a confidential informant. His bond is set at $25 thousand dollars.

24 year old Blake Austin Michael Dixon of Okeechobee was arrested for felony battery on his pregnant girlfriend during a domestic dispute. His bond is set at $75 hundred dollars.

40 year old Kristine Nell Ford of Okeechobee was arrested for making a false statement for public aid, grand theft and public assistance fraud. She was released after posting a $15 thousand dollar bond.

40 year old Mark Leonard McLean of Okeechobee was arrested for contempt of court during his hearing on past charges of driving on a suspended license. He was released after posting a two thousand dollar bond.

50 year old James Rufus Vanover of Okeechobee was arrested by police on a local warrant for simple assault. His bond is set at five hundred dollars.