News Update for 5/16/23

An Avon Park Middle School teenager was killed yesterday when he was hit by a train. 13-year-old Malik K. Pearson was struck by a northbound Amtrak passenger train. It happened after school near the Bell Street crossing.
Apparently, Pearson was walking by the tracks near Feagin Avenue when he was hit. So far there’s no detail on exactly how the accident occurred.
Highlands County school officials say there are counsellors at the Avon Park Middle School today.

Highlands County commissioners this morning voted to increase the solid waste collection fee to $222 a year. Commissioners say they are looking toward the construction of a new cell at the existing landfill and the possible change of a collection service – all of which soon will be costing the taxpayers more money.
It passed by a 4-1 margin.
Commissioners then passed a preliminary seven percent hike on the fire assessment for homes and businesses across the county. That will come back for final approval in July.
That also passed 4-1.

A Florida Department of Transportation community meeting originally slated for this past April, will be held tonight. At issue are a number of troubling intersections along Highway 27. The spots of concern stretch from River Greens north of Avon Park to the Lake Francis Road intersection north of Lake Placid.
In most cases, the idea is to make the intersections right-turn-only, disallowing people to cross the busy road to make a left turn.
Tonight’s session will be held at the Bert J. Harris Agricultural Civic Center from 5-6pm.

It appears a Lake Wales man may have died behind the wheel yesterday, causing a three car tangle on Highway 27 near Washington Avenue. Lake Wales police say a Chevy panel van driven by 75-year-old Thomas Wulff slammed into the back of a Nissan Sentra, that was stopped for the traffic light there.
The Nissan was pushed into the back of a Chrysler Voyager stopped in front of her. Neither the Nissan driver, 20-year-old Jazmia McDonald of Avon Park, nor the Chrysler driver were seriously injured.
Wulff was taken to Advent Hospital Lake Wales where he expired. Witnesses say he was weaving an unresponsive prior to the mishap.

Foul play is not suspected in the death of a baby found in a dumpster in Polk County. Lakeland Police yesterday released the medical examiner’s preliminary findings.
The baby was stillborn with a brain deformity, and its death was not the result of a homicide.
Police also say the 34-year-old mother came forward and admitted to putting the baby in the dumpster.
Brusela D’Enstachio-Lugo told police she’s an illegal immigrant, didn’t know she was pregnant and was afraid to go to the hospital. She’s facing charges and Homeland Security has been contacted.

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