Wednesday, January 8th News

Today is Wednesday and while they normally meet on Thursday mornings, the Okeechobee County Commissioners will instead have their first meeting of 2020 this morning. As part of the meeting, commissioners will have a public hearing on the revising of permitted hours of the sale of alcoholic beverages for on-premises consumption and they will also look to approve an amendment to the sheriff’s law enforcement budget for the Coach Aaron Feis Guardian Program Grant. The meeting will be held in the Historic County Courthouse this morning beginning at nine o’clock. It will be streamed live on the commissioners’ website.

With the recent talk over the last several months over the possibility of the Okeechobee City and County Fire Departments merging, the city council has decided to make a move. At last night’s first meeting of 2020, the city council voted unanimously to allow city firefighters the opportunity to receive training to be certified paramedics. Recent discussions between the city and county have shown that if indeed a merger takes place, the County Fire Department will not be in need of firefighters and emergency medical technicians (EMT) but will be in definite need of paramedics. City Fire Captain Lalo Rodriguez spoke at the meeting and he says of the 13 people that comprise the City Fire Department, 10 of them are ready to apply for paramedic training. Rodriguez says none of those 10 needed any prodding to want to do this training (Paramedic Training 1). City Administrator Marcos Montes De Oca says this is a great incentive for the members of the City Fire Department (Paramedic Training 2). The paramedic training program will be held at Indian River State College (IRSC) beginning next month and it will be a two year program. The training will cost approximately six thousand dollars per person and those training may be able to do it during their shifts at the fire department. Paramedics, unlike EMT’s, require knowledge of pharmaceuticals that may need to be administered to a patient before they reach an emergency room. 

An Okeechobee man is in county jail on charges stemming from an altercation New Year’s Night with his now ex-girlfriend. Sheriff’s deputies were called to the 27 hundred block of NW 5th Street sometime before 9:45 and were told by the victim that she and her now ex-boyfriend, Camille Lamar Leach, had broken up earlier in the day and left her home but he came back after a few hours and punched her in the face three times and threw a phone at her face before choking her with both hands. Leach then grabbed her phone and a pair of scissors and forced her not to leave the house. He also tried stabbing her in the back of the leg with the scissors. Leach then left the house to make a phone call and that gave her the time to get out of the house and call 911 after she located a phone. Deputies arrived and arrested and charged Leach with domestic battery and false imprisonment. He was booked into county jail and his bond is set at just over $13 thousand dollars. 

A report of a fire to an all-terrain vehicle (ATV) caught the attention of Okeechobee County firefighters during the afternoon of New Year’s Day. Crews were called to the 26 hundred block of NW 46th Avenue a few minutes before three o’clock and arrived to find the four-wheel ATV completely burned. Firefighters assisted multiple bystanders in putting out the grass fire that resulted from the burning ATV in about 15 minutes. Investigators say the owner was riding the ATV when he noticed smoke coming from the back of it. He got off of it to check and found a leaking fuel line and it caught fire. He tried putting the fire with a fire extinguisher out but to no avail. Total cost of damages to the ATV are not known. No one was hurt.

A Fort Pierce man is dead following a vehicle accident that began with a pursuit by law enforcement and ended in a fiery collision Saturday afternoon in St. Lucie County. Florida Highway Patrol (FHP) officers say 23 year old Wilkens Chery was driving a Toyota Camry sedan recklessly northbound on US Highway 1 near St. Lucie Boulevard in Port St. Lucie a little after 12:15 when an oncoming Florida Fish and Wildlife (FWC) officer saw him coming and watched Chery make a U-turn across the median at an unsafe speed and then cut across a sidewalk and partially into a business parking lot. This caused the FWC officer to activate his emergency lights and pursue Chery trying to get him to stop. Chery kept going and he failed to keep control of the car before going off the road and striking a guardrail, a fence and then some trees before the car came to rest on its side and burst into flames. Chery was extracted from the burning car and taken to Lawnwood Regional Medical Center in Fort Pierce for treatment. He was later pronounced dead by medics. FHP investigators say Chery might have been driving under the influence of alcohol. It’s under investigation.

On the arrest report:

34 year old Manuel Gomez Dorantes of Okeechobee was arrested by sheriff’s deputies for driving on a suspended license for the second time after a traffic stop. He was released after posting a $750 dollar bond.

24 year old Robin Shane Roberts of Okeechobee was arrested on a Glades County warrant for violating probation on past charges of driving on a suspended license. His bond is set at $25 hundred dollars.

29 year old Ramiro Antonio Rodriguez of Okeechobee was arrested for drunk driving after a traffic stop and field sobriety test. He was released after posting a five hundred dollar bond.

20 year old Darrius Tyreese Houze of Okeechobee was arrested for violating probation on past charges of cannabis possession. His bond is set at five thousand dollars.

50 year old Beverly Annette Harting of Okeechobee was arrested by police for driving on a suspended license after a traffic stop. She was released after posting a five hundred dollar bond. 

52 year old Kenneth LeBon Griggs of Fort Pierce was arrested for violating probation on past drunk driving charges. His bond is set at $25 hundred dollars.