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Orlando-Orange County Expressway member indicted on bribery charges

<p> An Orlando-Orange County Expressway Authority board member has been indicted on Thursday on three second-degree felony charges, including bribery.</p><p> The indictment is part of an <a href="">eight-month investigation into the toll road agency that State Attorney Jeff Ashton called for. </a></p><p> "I would anticipate the grand jury meeting to receive testimony on one more occasion, there may be a second occasion after that where they address some legal matters, I expect only one more meeting where testimony is obtained," Ashton said.</p><p> Scott Batterson has been charged with three second-degree felonies, including solicitation for bribery by public servant.</p><p> Gov. Rick Scott suspended Batterson after the indictment, releasing a statement:</p><p> “Today, my office took immediate action to suspend Scott Batterson from the Orlando-Orange County Expressway Authority. All public officials must be held to the highest ethical standards – and we support State Attorney Jeff Ashton’s efforts to hold public officials accountable.”</p><p> Ashton launched an investigation into claims that Batterson, Marco Pena and Noranne Downs of the expressway authority privately talked about ousting their director, Max Crumit.</p><p> Ashton said Pena and Downs are still being investigated.</p><p> Batterson will have to turn himself in to the Orange County Jail where he'll be able to post bond.</p><p> The investigation is still ongoing.</p><p> Check back for more on this story.</p>

Published: Thu, 24 Apr 2014 22:06:46 GMT

Video shows chase after Clermont bank robber flees

<p> Video was released on Thursday of the high speed chase that ended in a crash for the man who tried to rob a Clermont bank.</p><p> Police said Brian Richards, 41, tried to rob a Trustco Bank in Clermont and went the wrong way on U.S. Highway 27, fleeing from Florida Highway Patrol troopers at speeds higher than 100 miles per hour.</p><p> Video shows Richards driving a maroon Toyota Camry and nearly hitting a Lake County deputy.</p><p> After hitting Richards' car a couple of times, deputies deployed stop sticks and Richards stopped and crashed into a Jeep SUV.</p><p> Guns raised, deputies then demanded Richards get out of the car, video shows. Richards refused, so deputies smashed the window and pulled Richards out with the help of a police dog.</p><p> The driver of the Jeep was not injured and Richards and the dog were treated on scene for injuries.</p><p> Richards is in the Lake County Jail on $66,000 bond.</p>

Published: Thu, 24 Apr 2014 22:07:17 GMT

Lauren Rowe steps down from Local 6

<p> After 13 years at WKMG-TV Local 6, Lauren Rowe has decided to step away from the anchor desk, effective immediately.</p><p> “I have made the difficult but necessary decision to <a href="" target="_blank">focus my full attention on my health and family</a>," Lauren said.  "The outpouring of support I have received from all of you has been heartfelt and greatly appreciated, and I will truly miss the privilege you have afforded me by inviting me into your homes each day. Thank you from the bottom of my heart.”</p><p> All of us at Local 6 will miss Lauren, and we wish her the best.</p>

Published: Thu, 24 Apr 2014 20:57:50 GMT

Orlando middle school students fought over iPhone before stabbing, cops say

<p> Authorities released the report detailing the threats that led up the fight where an 11-year-old student stabbed a 15-year-old.</p><p> The stabbing happened at Chain of Lakes Middle School on Conroy Windermere Road in Orlando as a result of an argument that started on the school bus.</p><p> Students claim the 11-year-old had taken the 15-year-old boy's iPhone to fix and hadn't given it back, starting the argument.</p><p> Students say they heard the older student say he was going to hit the younger one when they go tot school and heard the younger say he would stab the 15-year-old if that happened.</p><p> When they got off the bus, students say the 15-year-old punched the 11-year-old twice in the head. The 11-year-old then pulled out a pair of scissors, opened them up so one blade was showing and stabbed him in the chest.</p><p> According to the report, the two kept fighting until school officials pulled them apart. The 15-year-old was taken to the hospital in stable condition.</p><p> The 11-year-old boy, a sixth-grader, was taken into custody on aggravated battery with a weapon, Orange County sheriff's deputies said. The 15-year-old has not been charged with a crime.</p><p> The judge ordered the 11-year-old to 21 days of confinement at a hearing on Thursday.</p><p> An investigation is ongoing.</p>

Published: Thu, 24 Apr 2014 21:34:59 GMT

3-year-old Central Florida girl drowns in neighbor's pool

<p> Leesburg police are investigating the drowning of a 3-year-old girl that occurred Thursday afternoon.</p><p> At about 12:40 p.m., police say that Jayonna Brown, who turned 3 on April 15, and her 4-year-old brother left their house while their mother was sleeping. The children walked to a nearby house and gained access to an above-ground pool in the back yard, according to police.</p><p> The brother noticed that Jayonna was in distress once both children were in the pool, and he ran to get help from a maintenance worker at the house next door, police said. The worker ran to Jayonna and immediately called for help, according to police.</p><p> The residents of the house where the pool is located were at work during the time of the incident.</p><p> Despite life-saving techniques employed by medical personnel, Jayonne was pronounced dead at Leesburg Medical Center, police said.</p><p> According to police, Chante Anthony, the mother of the two children, was awakened by the emergency personnel vehicles and immediately noticed her children missing. Public safety personnel informed Anthony of the incident.</p><p> The Department of Children and Families was notified, and Leesburg detectives are investigating the incident.</p>

Published: Thu, 24 Apr 2014 19:36:17 GMT

Man sought in Parramore robbery, stabbing

<p> Police are searching for a man accused of stealing another man’s wallet and then stabbing him in the chest on Thursday.</p><p> According to police, the culprit was riding a bike when he approached the victim in the parking lot of 211 N. Parramore Ave. The victim had his wallet in his hand, which the man snatched from him.</p><p> When the victim attempted to retrieve the wallet, he was stabbed in the chest by the assailant, who then fled the scene.</p><p> Anyone with information on this incident is asked to call Crimeline at 1-800-423-TIPS.</p>

Published: Thu, 24 Apr 2014 21:18:14 GMT

Best of the worst: Mug shot hall of shame

<p> Check out these lookers who ran into the law. </p>

Published: Thu, 24 Apr 2014 12:40:24 GMT

Annual surfing festival returns

<p> The threat of weather on Saturday didn't keep the surfing fans away as they came out for the 50th annual Easter Surfing Festival at the Cocoa Beach Pier. Take a look at some of the women's event as well as the tandem competition. </p>

Published: Thu, 24 Apr 2014 15:08:47 GMT

Volusia County sheriff suffers heart attack

<p> Volusia County Sheriff Ben Johnson, suffered a heart attack this past weekend, according to the Volusia County Sheriff’s Office.</p><p> Johnson, 63, went to Halifax Health Medical Center on Saturday after experiencing chest pains. During his hospital exam, medical personnel determined that the sheriff experienced a mild heart attack and was admitted to the hospital overnight.</p><p> Johnson was discharged Sunday afternoon, and is reported as “doing quite well” according to Volusia County public information officer Brandon Haught.</p><p> Johnson has stopped by the Sheriff’s Office on more than one occasion since the incident, but is “taking it easy” this week, Haught said.</p><p> You can find more information on the sheriff by <a href="" target="_blank">reading his bio.</a></p>

Published: Thu, 24 Apr 2014 21:27:00 GMT

Police interview 3rd possible victim in Lakeland teacher sex case

<p> Lakeland police said on Thursday they are questioning an additional student who may have had a sexual relationship with a <a href="" target="_blank">teacher already facing nearly two dozen unlawful sex with a minor charges.</a></p><p> Jennifer Fichter, 29, was arrested last week on several charges of unlawful sexual activity with a minor in both Polk and Hillsborough counties.</p><p> <a href="" target="_blank">Polk County deputies said on Wednesday a second student</a> at the Central Florida Aerospace Academy said that he had sex with Fichter, who was then 26 years old, about 20 times from 2011 to 2012.</p><p> She now faces an additional 20 charges of unlawful sexual activity with a minor, according to the report.</p><p> Lakeland police said on Thursday that a new victim is being interview and charges may be appropriate. Investigators said they believe there are three victims so far.</p><p> "She had betrayed their trust. She groomed them and they are a victim," said Sgt. Gary Gross of Lakeland Police Department. "They are a victim of her being a predator and stalking them and getting what she wants."</p><p> A judge continued Fichter's first appearance after her lawyer was not in court.</p><p> The state asked for a higher than normal bond because of Fichter's "predatory pattern," but the judge won't determine her bond until Friday's hearing.</p><p> Fichter also taught in Orange County and resigned while under investigation into inappropriate contact with students.</p><p> Local 6 spoke to a mother of an alleged victim who said she discovered inappropriate Facebook messages with Fichter and her son in 2012. She said she reported them to deputies and they weren't sexual in nature.</p><p> "I am in no way surprised at the three victims that we have now," said mother Abby Roche. "I think she has problems and I think she needs help."</p><p> Roche also said there was no evidence her son had sexual contact with Fichter.<br/><br/>Check back for more on this story.</p>

Published: Thu, 24 Apr 2014 21:51:03 GMT

Local 6 Theme World: Ihu's Almost Open

<p> April 24, 2014</p><p> Ihu's  Almost Open<br/><br/>Aquatica's newest attraction is about ready for you to drop in for a visit. But you won't stick around long.<br/><a href="" target="_blank"> Ihu's Breakaway Falls</a> is on target for a May 9 opening, even if construction is still underway.<br/><br/>SeaWorld posted an update on the attraction, and the view from the top shows how tall this towering addition will be (105 feet tall, to be specific).<br/><br/>  After taking in that view, 3 people at a time will get into clear breakaway boxes where they can even look down while waiting  to find out who will drop first. It will happen at random.<br/><br/>From there you drop at 80 degrees for the first 40 feet, before  the winding and twisting starts.<br/>The fourth slide is just as windy, but without the drop box.<br/><br/> Since that was taken the last parts were bolted in place, including a 40 thousand pound roof made to make it fit in at Aquatica<br/><br/><br/><br/>We will bring you more as <a href="" target="_blank"> Ihu's Breakaway Fall</a>s gets ready for guests. This is the second major addition since the park opened in 2008. Since then, the landscaping has also grown in -- helping transport you somewhere unique.<br/> <br/>Below is Aquatica's construction update video.</p><p> </p><p> Keep your emails, questions, tips and comments coming! I always appreciate the feedback. You can always find all of my blog entries at<a href="" target="_blank"/><a href="" target="_blank"></a></p>

Published: Thu, 24 Apr 2014 20:45:26 GMT

Lake County pastor gets tattoo of church logo for attendance record

<p> A Lake County pastor got some new ink of his church's logo on Thursday <a href="" target="_blank">after the church broke attendance records on Easter Sunday.</a></p><p> <a href="/news/local-pastor-gets-tattoo-of-church-logo/25641772" target="_blank">[Pics: Pastor's new tattoo]</a></p><p> Rev. Leon Bloder, the pastor of First Presbyterian Church in Eustis, promised his congregation that if they hit a record attendance, he would get a tattoo of the church's emblem and cut his hair.</p><p> The attendance reached 850 thanks to members of a small church next door who walked over to join the service.</p><p> Bloder got the tattoo on Thursday afternoon.</p><p> Check back for more on this story.</p>

Published: Thu, 24 Apr 2014 18:37:49 GMT

Most expensive celebrity divorces

<p> Love can hurt. But divorce can hurt even more, especially if you are a celebrity. Here are some of the stars' most expensive splits.</p>

Published: Thu, 24 Apr 2014 06:00:00 GMT

Photos: Florida mug shots

<p> Here's a look at some of the individuals who have been arrested recently in the Sunshine State.</p>

Published: Thu, 24 Apr 2014 19:49:03 GMT