OCALA -- Four people died and four others were injured when the SUV they were in turned over on Interstate 75 in Ocala.
The Florida Highway Patrol reported that 17-year-old Darrian George was driving a 2002 Chevrolet Tahoe at about 3 a.m. Saturday.
Investigators say he veered onto the center grass median and then steered right to try to get back on the roadway. That’s when he lost control of the vehicle. Authorities say the SUV turned over several times before landing on its roof.
George and 30-year-old Tiffany Bradshaw were pronounced dead at the scene. Two children in the vehicle, ages 3 and 7, also died.
‘Cat plague’ kills 14 felines at MDAS animal shelter
MIAMI -- Officials say more than a dozen cats have died at Miami-Dade Animal Services because of a virus known as the “cat plague.”
Television station WFOR reported that 14 cats, mostly kittens, have died from a viral outbreak of feline panleukopenia, an illness that attacks to gastrointestinal tract. Every cat at the shelter was moved to a temporary holding facility.
Dr. Maria Serrano, a county veterinarian, says the main shelter in Medley has been thoroughly cleaned. The cats that are now there were vaccinated before coming in.
Last suspect sentenced in kidnapping, rape case
TAMPA -- Three years after the brutal kidnapping and rape of two women restaurant workers, the last of three defendants has been sentenced to prison in Tampa.
Vicente Reyes-Carbaja, 23, got 50 years in prison Friday for the August 2008 attacks on the women in Apollo Beach, south of Tampa. He pleaded guilty to armed kidnapping, robbery and carjacking. Prosecutors dropped the rape charge as part of the plea deal.
The other two defendants in the case had already been sentenced to long prison terms.
Police said the threesome covered the women’s mouths with duct tape, kidnapped them in one of their cars and repeatedly raped them.
Teen pleads guilty to fatal shooting
OCALA -- A north Florida teen has pleaded guilty to fatally shooting another teen.
Alphonsa Lee Washington III, who was 17 at the time of the shooting, pleaded guilty Friday to an adult count of manslaughter. He faces up to 15 years in prison.
Marion County authorities say Washington, now 18, was at his apartment with some friends, playing with a handgun, in June 2010. After the shooting, Washington told authorities 18-year-old Jeremy V. Hester was handling the gun when he apparently shot himself. Washington later changed his story, saying he thought that gun was unloaded when he pointed it at Hester and pulled the trigger.
Diocese recognizes Ave Maria University
NAPLES -- Ave Maria University in Collier County has been officially recognized by the Diocese as a Catholic university.
Diocese of Venice Bishop Frank Dewane made the announcement Friday during a ceremony installing Ave Maria’s second president, H. James Towey.
Ave Maria is a private school that has an enrollment of 858 students, an annual budget of $28.5 million, 155 employees, and 12 majors and 15 minors.
It was started in 2003 by Domino’s Pizza founder Thomas Monaghan.
Former sheriff, FDLE agent named U.S. marshal
TALLAHASSEE -- A former Okaloosa County sheriff and Florida Department of Law Enforcement agent is the new U.S. marshal in north Florida.
Ed Spooner took the oath of office Thursday. He was appointed by President Barack Obama.
Spooner began his law enforcement career as a Florida Highway Patrol trooper in 1973.
Gov. Charlie Crist appointed Spooner interim sheriff in Okaloosa County in 2009 and he held that post for nearly two years.
Spooner most recently was an assistant special agent in charge for FDLE.
Now online: Rare Jewish music productions
BOCA RATON -- One-hundred-seventy cartons holding thousands of tapes and discs of cantorial, Hebrew and Yiddish music dating back to the early 1900s are now the property of Florida Atlantic University Libraries.
The music collection was donated to the school’s Judaica Sound Archives by the mother of the late Barry Serota. He was executive director of the Chicago-based Institute for Jewish Sound Recording.
It is being archived in pieces and available for the public to hear online at http://faujsa.fau.edu/jsa.
-- Herald wire services