News Update for 9/19/23

It will be a split shift for the Highlands County commission today. At their regular session this morning the commission voted by a 3-2 margin to change zoning on a 38-acre parcel off Mike Kahn Road east of the Sebring Parkway. It will go from agricultural to a mobile home district.
Planned is a 220 unit mobile home park. Commission chairman Christopher Campbell said he voted against the move, preferring to wait for an upcoming workshop on mobile home communities in the county.
At 5:30 this afternoon, the commission will hold a public hearing, then take final action on the budget for the upcoming fiscal year.

An early morning traffic stop yielded a drug bust, when Highlands County sheriff’s deputies stopped a man riding a bicycle in Avon Park without the benefit of lights or reflectors. According to reports, 27-year-old Danilo Melendez was pulling a homemade trailer at the time.
When deputies began searching a tool box on the trailer, Melendez reportedly took off running. He was found later in the trash compactor at the nearby MacDonalds.
Melendez was taken into custody with the help of K-9 Drax. Deputies also confiscated prescription pills, methamphetamine and drug paraphernalia. He was taken to the Highlands County jail.

A Hardee county trucker reportedly was involved in a fatal traffic crash in Desoto County. According to reports, a pickup was northbound on US 17, and ran head-on into a semi-truck, driven by the Hardee county man. The pickup then burst into flames.
The identity of the pickup driver was not released.

Polk County Sheriff’s officials believe they have solved the murder of a Bartow youth. The body of 15-year-old Quashawn Burgess jr was found in the yard of a Winter Haven Home. He had been shot and killed.
Polk detectives have announced the arrest of four suspects they believe to have been involved in the incident. Using video evidence, they found 20-year Rashan Harris II, who gave officers a story as to what happened.
He told deputies Burgess had been killed during a robbery attempt. Harris, a woman identified as Lilia Gonzales and two others have been charged in the complex series of events.

A Polk County man is facing charges for a deadly hit-and-run in Hillsborough County. Plant City Police have arrested Mulberry’s Thomas Barnard for a crash Friday that killed a 60-year-old man riding a bike.
Investigators say the 39-year-old Barnard admitted he was driving the car that hit the victim. He’s charged with leaving the scene of a crash involving death.

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