News Cast 9/3

News Cast for September 3rd:

Hoping to cut down on fatalities 

The Florida Highway Patrol expects a large increase in traffic for the holiday weekend. 

Last year 43 people lost their lives in 3,700 Florida crashes on Labor Day weekend. 

Trooper Kenneth Watson encourages drivers to keep their minds on the road while driving in rural areas. 

“Everyone thinks that just because there aren’t as many vehicles out there they can drive a little faster.  Unfortunately, as we have seen in the past, that is simply not true.” 

Watson said it is important to keep your eyes on the road because wildlife can often cross the road in rural areas. 

Troopers will also be cracking down on drowsy and impaired driving this weekend. 

“Even driving on route 70 it seems like it is wide open and people go a little faster.  Many are multi-tasking, looking at their phone, and get over confident.” 

He said troopers will be watching for those texting and driving. 

All available troopers will be on patrol. 

Horse abuse case settled 

An alleged horse abuser was sentenced to 18 months probation after he pled no contest to one count of animal abuse or neglect. 

Manuel Coto Martinez was arrested in April, 2020 after 23 malnourished horses were located on a ranch in Okeechobee County. 

Nine other charges were dropped. 

Investigators allege the horses did not have enough fee, hay or grazing available. 

One colt died from malnutrition.  The others were adopted by an animal rescue group. 

In a local drug case, a local man was sentenced to 49 months and 15 days in prison for methamphetamine trafficking. 

Tyler Hampton, 29, was also fined $50,000.  

Sheriff deputies seized some 15 grams of the drug after a chase January 28th

The suspect vehicle drove through backyards, front yards and destroyed a fire hydrant before being stopped. 

Hampton was a passenger in the vehicle.  The drugs were located while Hampton was being searched at the county jail.