News

Pedestrian dies after collision with bicycle

CLEARWATER — A Clearwater man was killed when two people on a bicycle slammed into him.

Police say 39-year-old Dean Anthony Bartolo was walking on the Memorial Causeway Bridge Sunday night when the riders, one on the seat and one on the handlebars, crashed into him.

Bartolo suffered a head injury and was pronounced dead at the scene.

The two on the bike were taken to a nearby hospital. Their conditions were not known.

Police are investigating.

House seriously damaged by bottle rocket fire

LEHIGH ACRES — A southwest Florida home was seriously damaged when a misfired bottle rocket set it on fire.

The Lehigh Acres Fire Department reports that the homeowner was lighting fireworks in his driveway Sunday night when one apparently flew off in the wrong direction and broke the front window of the house.

By the time firefighters responded, the house was fully engulfed in flames. Officials say there was substantial damage from smoke and fire to the interior of the house, making it uninhabitable.

Commissioner resigns amid corruption probe

FORT LAUDERDALE — A Broward County commissioner has resigned amid charges of improper involvement in county grants handled by her husband.

Diana Wasserman-Rubin notified officials Tuesday in a letter that she was stepping down immediately. Later Tuesday, Broward County State Attorney Michael Satz’s office said she was being charged with seven counts of unlawful compensation. Prosecutors say she pushed for her husband’s grants and benefitted from them.

A Satz spokesman said Wasserman-Rubin will turn herself in. Her attorney didn’t immediately respond to an email seeking comment.

Several other Broward politicians have faced criminal charges in recent months, including another county commissioner and a school board member.

Miami VA hospital shuffle after 79 not alerted

MIAMI — The Veterans Administration Hospital director in Miami has been temporarily reassigned after officials found that 79 colonoscopy patients weren’t told they may have been exposed to dirty equipment.

Dr. Robert Jesse, the VA principal deputy undersecretary for health, said in a telephone conference call Tuesday the 74 patients should have been included when about 2,400 former Miami VA patients were notified in March 2009 to get tests for HIV, hepatitis and other infections.

Jesse called it an “inexcusable situation” that led to reassigning hospital director Mary Berrocal.

Similar equipment problems at VA facilities in Tennessee and Georgia involved 7,500 patients. About 50 patients from the three sites tested positive for infections last year, including eight cases of HIV. The source of the infections isn’t known.

Officials: Boy accidentally fatally shoots self

MIAMI — Authorities say a 4-year-old boy died after accidentally shooting himself in the head inside a South Florida home.

Police say the gun belonged to a 21-year-old man, who was charged with culpable negligence with a firearm and tampering with evidence. His relationship to the boy is under investigation.

Police received a call about a gunshot on Monday. Six people were found in the Miami Gardens home, including the wounded boy. The boy died at a hospital.

Orlando librarian stabbed interrupting burglary

ORLANDO — An Orlando librarian is recovering after being stabbed while interrupting a burglary.

Orange County sheriff’s investigators are still searching for the suspect, who ran away.

It was not clear why the woman stopped by the library Monday, when it was closed for the Fourth of July, or what the burglar was seeking there.

The victim escaped serious injury, despite being stabbed three times in or near her neck.

Feds probe Fla. college ship’s untaxed repairs

BOCA RATON — U.S. Immigration and Enforcement officials are investigating a ship owned by Florida Atlantic University that underwent untaxed repairs in the Bahamas.

About $200,000 of work was performed on the Seward Johnson research vessel when the ship sailed out of U.S. waters in April. Renovations performed out of the country come due when a ship returns home.

The Palm Beach Post obtained a Customs notice showing the ship was detained in May, but the school says it has been released.

The vessel was retrofitted after the school listed it for sale. A Brazilian environmental consulting firm is chartering the ship and negotiating a purchase.

FAU says its Harbor Branch campus in Fort Pierce is working with the federal government to determine what, if any, duty is owed.

Man charged with fatal beating over cigarette

HOLLYWOOD — A homeless man in South Florida has been charged with fatally beating another homeless man with a metal pipe after an argument over a cigarette.

Hollywood police arrested 37-year-old Robert Stone Saturday night and later charged him with murder.

Officers discovered 55-year-old Joseph G. Charlton’s body Saturday morning near a vacant bowling alley. Another homeless man told police Stone had been bragging about beating Charlton.

Police found Stone and took him for questioning. That’s when Stone reportedly admitted to the beating, telling officers the two had argued over a cigarette.

Stone was being held without bail.

Man charged with arson at abandoned motel

KISSIMMEE — A central Florida man has been charged with arson at an abandoned hotel that has been set on fire at least eight times over the last six weeks.

The Osceola County Sheriff’s Office reports that detectives conducted an undercover investigation at the motel this weekend. They reportedly caught Justin Davis Williams setting a fire at the Kissimmee motel early Monday morning and running from the scene.

Williams was arrested and booked into the Osceola County jail.

The State Fire Marshal’s Office will continue to investigate and determine if Williams is responsible for the other fires.

— Herald wire reports

  Comments