Orlando Headlines: Man Sentenced After Officer Shot Innocent Bystander

ORLANDO, Fla. (AP) — A Florida man initially charged with murder after an officer fatally shot a bystander during a confrontation outside an Orlando bar has been sentenced on a lesser charge.

The Orlando Sentinel reports (http://bit.ly/2pmWgy4) that 26-year-old Kody Roach was sentenced Wednesday to five years in prison, minus nearly two years of time served. Roach pleaded no contest to a charge of carrying a concealed weapon in April. In exchange, the state dropped a murder charge.

A police officer fired nine shots at Roach during a confrontation outside Vixen Bar in April 2014. One of the bullets fatally struck 22-year-old Maria Godinez, an innocent bystander who was inside the bar.

The officer was not charged in the shooting and the city of Orlando gave the Godinez’s family $300,000.

SUV Hits, Kills Florida Man Pushing Mother In Wheelchair

ORLANDO, Fla. (AP) — Authorities say a sports utility vehicle struck and killed a 73-year-old man who was pushing his mother in a wheelchair across a road in Florida.

The Florida Highway Patrol said in a news release that the driver, 58-year-old James Essad, swerved to try to avoid hitting Jose Matos Vargas about 5:30 Thursday morning in Orlando. Essad had a green light and the right of way.

The mother, whose name and age wasn’t available, wasn’t injured. The SUV didn’t hit the wheelchair.

Vargas was taken to a hospital, where he died.

Groundbreaking For UCF’s Downtown Campus

ORLANDO, Fla. (AP) — City and university officials are breaking ground for a new campus of the University of Central Florida and Valencia College in downtown Orlando.

The groundbreaking ceremony is taking place Thursday in an area near where the Orlando Magic’s arena used to be located before it was demolished. The downtown campus will open in 2019 and host 7,700 students from UCF and Valencia College.

Officials say it will be an important expansion for UCF, which already is one of the largest universities in the nation. The campus will offer programs in digital media, communication, health-care information technology, legal studies, social work and health-care administration.

Valencia College, the regional community college, will locate its culinary and hospitality programs there.