Girl steps into path of car after dog startles her
ORLANDO — Authorities say a barking dog startled an 11-year-old girl, who stepped off the sidewalk and into the path of a car near Orlando.
Florida Highway Patrol Lt. Kim Montes said in a news release that Nunka Exantus was taken to Arnold Palmer Hospital for Children in Orlando on Thursday morning. She said the girl had serious injuries.
Montes said 31-year-old Sury Vasquez Benitez was not able to stop her pickup truck in time to avoid hitting the child.
Troopers are continuing to investigate.
Gov.-elect DeSantis plans ‘thank you’ stops across state
TALLAHASSEE — Florida Republican Gov.-elect Ron DeSantis is planning a series of rallies around the state that he’s calling a “Thank You Tour.”
DeSantis’ transition team announced the plans Thursday. The tour will begin Saturday with stops in New Port Richey, The Villages and Port Orange.
Lt. Gov.-elect Jeanette Nunez will also participate in the tour and Attorney General-elect Ashley Moody will participate in two of Saturday’s stops.
Additional tour details will be announced soon. DeSantis plans to visit every region of the state.
Bah, Humbug: Neighbors scorn woman over display
HOLLY HILL — A woman has been scorned by her neighbors in a high-rise Florida condo because of a holiday message she spelled out in lights across her balcony.
Kathy Hill says the Ebenezer Scrooge phrase ‘Bah Humbug” is one of her favorites at Christmas.
But other residents of the twin towers of Marina Grande in Holly Hill weren’t amused.
The Daytona Beach News-Journal reports that Laurie Borasky-Gigliotti, who owns the unit Hill is renting, told her to take down the display because other residents were coming unglued. She says balcony lights are against the rules, “let alone Bah Humbug.” She warned Hill, a California woman who recently moved to Florida, to prepare for “major, massive retaliation.”
Hill turned off the lights, and says she didn’t mean to offend anyone.
Publix opens campus store at USF
TAMPA — Publix has opened its first store on a college campus at the University of South Florida.
The Lakeland-based supermarket chain said more than 50 of the 140 employees are university students. The store opened Thursday in Tampa.
The university is leasing the 28,000 square-foot (2601 sq. meter) store to Publix for 25 years.
The store is slightly smaller than most of the chain’s other locations, but includes full-service floral and seafood departments.
Video shows police officer kicking handcuffed man
CORAL SPRINGS — Four Florida police officers are on administrative leave after a cell phone video appeared to show one of them kicking a handcuffed man accused of stealing candy and drinks.
The video shot by a bystander Tuesday night shows 28-year-old Gabriel Narcisse-Beckford sitting on a curb with Coral Springs police officers around him. One officer kicks the man as another officer tells him to stop.
WSVN reports Narcisse-Beckford had struggled with police and had been shot with a stun gun.
Coral Springs police Chief Clyde Perry saw the video Wednesday and tells WPLG he immediately contacted the state attorney’s office.
Jail records say Narcisse-Beckford is black, 6-feet tall and 350 pounds. He faces multiple charges. The identities of the officers haven’t been released.
Couple accused of stealing boat for Cuban honeymoon
KEY WEST — Authorities say a Florida couple quit their jobs, stole a 40-foot (12-meter) catamaran sailboat and sailed to Cuba for their honeymoon.
The Miami Herald reports 46-year-old Aaron Burmeister and 32-year-old Ashley McNeil pleaded guilty Nov. 13 to charges of conspiracy to transport a vessel in foreign commerce.
They spent six months in a Cuban jail after their April 1 arrest.
They were returned to the United States in September and were arrested by federal agents when they arrived at Miami International Airport.
Each faces up to five years in prison during a Jan 7 sentencing in Key West. The government dropped a second charge, which carried a prison term of up to 10 years.
The owner said he bought the boat named Kaisosi for $350,000 last year.
2 pedestrians pinned against utility pole by spinning SUV
MIAMI — Police in South Florida say two pedestrians died after being pinned against a utility pole by an out of control SUV.
The crash happened Wednesday night in southwest Miami-Dade County.
Police say a sports utility vehicle slammed into another SUV, which spun out of control and hit the people on a sidewalk.
Both pedestrians died at the scene. The drivers of both vehicles are cooperating with police, who say drugs or alcohol were not involved in the crash.
The names of the pedestrians have not been released.
An investigation continues.
Boat captain gets 33 months for swimmer’s propeller death
MIAMI — The captain of a Florida charter boat will spend nearly three years in federal prison for the death of a passenger who was struck by a propeller.
The U.S. Attorney’s Office in Miami says Mauricio Alvarez was recently sentenced to 33 months in prison after pleading guilty to ship officer neglect resulting in death.
The 49-year-old Alvarez was the captain of a 91-foot yacht Miami Vice on April 1 when it stopped in Biscayne Bay and some of the seven passengers went swimming. Alvarez did not check to see if all were back onboard before he engaged the engine, causing one passengers to be killed by the propeller. Alvarez did not have a U.S. captain’s license.
Boat owner Laurent Marc-Antoine Jean Maubert-Cayla has also pleaded guilty and is awaiting sentencing.
Police: Grandmother, aunt beat teen, locked him in a box
ORANGE PARK — Police say a 13-year-old Florida boy’s grandmother and aunt beat him, locked him in a box and chained him to a couch.
The Florida Times-Union reports 62-year-old Wanda Cunningham and 34-year-old Waniecia Cummings remained jailed Wednesday night on $500,000 bond each, a week after their arrests.
Orange Park police say the boy was treated in October for a severe injury to his genitals that he says he received jumping over a fence. But doctors in the Jacksonville suburb found other injuries, scars and burn marks and notified police.
The boy then told officers he had been beaten, locked in a box and room for days without food and chained to a coach.
It could not be determined late Wednesday if Cummings and Cunningham have attorneys.