News Update for 06/03/24

A cyclist was struck on US 27 Friday morning, when the rider tried crossing from a shoulder by a Schooner’s BBQ Shack driveway- toward a turn lane meant for southbound traffic. A woman driving a gray Dodge Charger was not successful in evading the rider and hit the cyclist. Several motorists were able to block traffic until emergency vehicles could arrive. Reportedly, two other cyclists were with the rider who was struck and they were uncertain why the rider tried to cross. The rider was stabilized on scene and airlifted to a trauma center. No patient names or conditions are yet available.

Two people are dead following a crash in Polk County. Authorities say Michael Price and Johnnie Levin were at a “Wine Bar” Saturday night when they decided to leave to take a “joyride.” They were driving in a Porsche 911 on Highway 98 when the vehicle left the roadway and rolled multiple times near Smith Lane. Both Price and Levin were thrown out of the car and found dead at the scene. The crash is under investigation.

An Arcadia Man is going to prison for committing crimes while dressed as a police officer. Darius Hudson was sentenced to 39 years and two months in federal prison after he was found guilty in January. Eight other co-conspirators were sentenced in the case. Prosecutors say a group of people conspired with each other to commit armed robberies throughout Pasco, Polk, Lee, and Hillsborough counties, as well as Georgia and Arizona, while dressed as law enforcement officers.

Florida motorists have hit the road this month with lower prices at the pump. As reported by Triple-A, the average price for a gallon of regular fell yesterday in the Sunshine State to just under three dollars, 46 cents. The corresponding national figure also dipped to a few tenths over three fifty-four. Prices remain lowest in Mississippi, with the Magnolia State average inching downward to just over three oh two on Saturday. At the other end of the gas-price spectrum, costs were down slightly in California at about five oh six.

A Florida deputy who shot and killed a Black airman in his home has been fired. The Okaloosa County Sheriff’s Department said in a statement Friday they found the deputy used excessive force when he shot Roger Forston earlier this month. Deputies responded to the wrong apartment and shot Forston after he opened the door. The Okaloosa Sheriff said the “tragic incident should have never occurred” and that “the objective facts do not support the use of deadly force as an appropriate response.” The Sheriff called Forston “an exceptional airman and individual.”

The driver who led Plant City and Lakeland police on a chase Thursday morning that ended in a fatal accident on Harden Boulevard involving eight vehicles and 11 people, is now facing several felony charges. James Edward Gougeon, 50, of Plant City attempted to flee the scene on foot and was taken into custody by Plant City and Lakeland police officers. He is facing a host of felony charges including a first-degree felony charge of leaving the scene of a crash involving a death and three felony charges of leaving the scene of a crash with injuries.

The Lakeland Police Department has arrested a registered nurse at Lakeland Regional Health, charging her with multiple charges including fraud. The nurse, Jessica Cuthbertson, allegedly stole a patient’s wallet from a split room that the victim shared with a patient under her care. She is also accused of trying to buy gas, alcohol and cigarettes with stolen cards from the wallet. A co-worker of the defendant was able to positively identify the defendant via security camera footage from a RaceTrac gas station where fraudulent charges were made and attempted.

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