PM Tampa Bay Headlines

 

 

One person is dead and nine hurt, including four children, after a five vehicle crash on U.S. 27 near Patterson Road in Haines City Monday afternoon. Southbound 27 is closed and may be for hours.

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ORLANDO, Fla. (AP) _ Orlando city council members have tweaked a proposal to decriminalize small amounts of marijuana ahead of a vote on the measure. The measure was revised Monday. It now calls for a $100 fine for a first-time offense and a $200 fine for a second offense. A third offense, or more, would require a court appearance or a fine as high as $500. A previous version of the measure passed last month called for only a $50 fine for a first-time offender.  City council members also added a diversion program to the measure. The program would allow offenders to perform community service or take a substance-abuse education class to avoid paying the fine. If the measure passes, it would take effect next October. A vote was expected late Monday.

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Pinellas County has its first recorded Zika virus case. The Florida Health Department say the case is travel-related. Florida now has 107 cases of the Zika virus. Zika is confirmed to cause serious birth defects.

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MIAMI (AP) – A Miami-Dade circuit judge has declared Florida’s new death penalty law unconstitutional. Judge Milton Hirsch ruled that it is unconstitutional because a unanimous jury verdict is not required. The new law, signed by Gov. Rick Scott in March, requires a 10-2 vote. Hirsch’s decision on Monday was in the case of Karon Gaiter, who is awaiting trial for first-degree murder. Florida had to revise its law after the U.S. Supreme Court ruled Jan. 12 that it was unconstitutional because it gave too much power to judges while juries played an advisory role in recommending death. Florida and Alabama remain the only states that do not require unanimous verdicts.

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Manatee Sheriff’s deputy Timothy Vaughn has been fired and is charged with DUI manslaughter after hitting and killing a scooter rider on U.S. 41 in Palmetto this weekend. Killed in the mishap was 20 year old Alexandria Marler.

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23 year old Ronal Vasquez-Gonzalez is accused of being drunk and driving the wrong way when he slammed head on into another car on U.S. 41 in Tampa this weekend. He’s charged with DUI manslaughter. The other driver, 35 year old Joel Vargas-Gonzalez, is dead.

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Five teenagers are in serious condition after their car hit a curb and slammed into a tree on Camminare Drive in Sarasota County this weekend. The 16 year old driver got a ticket. Police say alcohol was not a factor in the accident.

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Investigators are back at a Homosassa home that was destroyed by fire this weekend. The family that lived in the South Palm Avenue house escaped the blaze without injury.

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Two men and a baby are badly burned when their small boat exploded at a Lake County boat ramp this weekend. Investigators are looking into why the blast happened when one of the men turned the key to start the engine.

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Pasco County has a new plan to ease the kind of disastrous flooding that happened last year during unrelenting storms. They will use jail inmates to clean trash from storm drainage ditches and grates. Officials say there is so much trash, water simply backs up up onto roads and into neighborhoods.

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The Tampa Bay Lightning are back in the eastern conference final for the second straight year. The Bolts eliminated the New York Islanders four games to one. The Lightning will now face either the Pittsburgh Penguins or the Washington Capitals.

 

 

 

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