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Man steals Jeep from dealership during test drive, police say

Authorities are looking for a man who stole a Jeep on Thursday from a dealership during a test drive, police said. 

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The suspect walked into Philly Auto dealership around 7 p.m. and expressed interest in a red Jeep Cherokee on the lot, according to WPVI

The man and a salesman went on a test drive. During the drive, the man started driving erratically and the salesman asked him to pull over, according to WPVI. The salesman started to switch seats with the man when the thief pulled out a gun and drove off, leaving the salesman on the side of the road. 

No shots were fired and there were no injuries. The man has not been seen since the incident.

Attorneys say convicted killer's IQ too low to be executed

Attorneys for an Orange County man who was convicted of first-degree murder and arson last year said their client's IQ might be too low for him to be executed.

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A jury in May 2017 convicted Juan Rosario of beating Elena Ortega, 83, and burning her alive in her home in 2013. Jurors unanimously decided that he should be sentenced to death.

Rosario's lawyers have spent almost a year trying to build up enough evidence to convince Circuit Judge Leticia Marques that he doesn't doesn't deserve to die. They'll make their case during a hearing scheduled for May.

"There's too much work that needs to be done, and we need to have additional experts appointed," attorney Ted Marrero said.

Marrero on Friday asked Marques for a six-month extension because he said he recently learned that Rosario has an IQ of 72.

"Tell them they need to soldier on and be ready," state attorney Brad King said. "And at the same time, tell them that we need our witness list by 5 o'clock today."

Prosecutors said one year was more than enough time for attorneys to figure out that Rosario might meet the legal definition of mental retardation.

"At some point, there has to be order," King said. "And the law has to apply to these cases, just like every other case."

Florida man armed with 20-inch knife tries to carjack sheriff citizen patrol car, deputies say

A man armed with a 20-inch knife tried to carjack a Flagler County Sheriff’s Citizen Observer Patrol (C.O.P.) vehicle while Cpl. Angela Camit was on patrol, authorities said.

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Camit said that after the failed carjacking attempt on Eric Drive in Palm Coast, the man, later identified as Stephen Goldberg, fled. Camit followed him and that’s when Goldberg, 32, ran toward her with the knife.

Investigators said deputies arrived and took Goldberg into custody without incident.

“Had he approached a sheriff’s deputy in this manner, it is likely that we would have had a different outcome,” Flagler County Sheriff Rick Staly said.

Staly said Goldberg is a “career repeat offender.”

“Our C.O.P.s are invaluable volunteers who serve and help protect this community alongside our deputies. We will not tolerate anyone threatening harm to them or anyone else. I hope the courts keep him locked up and he is sent back to prison where he belongs before he hurts someone,” Staly said.

Camit is a seasoned C.O.P. with several years of experience, and in light of the incident, the Flagler County Sheriff’s Office will reevaluate the equipment issued to C.O.P.s for their protection.

Goldberg was arrested and charged with attempted armed carjacking, aggravated assault with a deadly weapon and armed trespassing.

Deputies said Goldberg will be booked into the Flagler County Detention Facility without bail.

Controversial headstone company closes, says it plans to resolve orders

A grave marker company that was the focus of a police investigation and several consumer complaints, including one from a metro Atlanta woman, said it has permanently closed.

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The president of Wichman Monuments of Chattanooga said it plans to resolve as many unfilled orders as possible, according to the Times Free Press.

The 72-year-old business has hired a law firm to help it with the closure, and an attorney with the firm said plans are to contact each of Wichman’s customers.

A Paulding County woman, Pam Dean, said she paid more than $3,000 to Wichman Monuments for a headstone for her late husband’s grave. Though the check was cashed on Jan. 2, no monument was delivered.

“When I call the company, it goes to voicemail and a message that the voicemail is full,” Dean said.

Chattanooga police said they opened a fraud investigation into the company after receiving complaints.

The Better Business Bureau of Southeast Tennessee and Northwest Georgia said it received a number of complaints “in the low 30s” about the company.

The company’s law firm said the closure was due to rising costs and losing some key workers to illness over the past month, the newspaper reported.

Cold snap expected to contribute to spike in manatee deaths

Florida is on pace to set an annual record for manatee deaths, according to officials with a nonprofit government watchdog group.

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Public Employees for Environmental Responsibility officials said the first two months of 2018 have been especially deadly for Florida manatees.

According to Florida Fish and Wildlife statistics, through March 9, there have been 183 reported manatee deaths. Of those, 52 deaths are contributed to cold stress.Cold stress occurs in manatees as a result of exposure to prolonged cold weather.

Experts said exposure to water temperatures below 68 degrees Fahrenheit for long periods can put a manatee at risk for cold-stress syndrome. It leads to weight loss, internal fat loss, dehydration and other issues.

Ron Mezich with the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission said young manatees are especially vulnerable to death from cold stress.

“It’s one of the factors that manatees typically have to deal with, and a lot of young animals tend to be more susceptible to cold winters when they’re out on their own for the first time,” Mezich said. 

A recent Florida-wide synoptic manatee survey found there are 6,131 manatees, which is down from 6,620 in 2017.

Escaped horses stop traffic on busy Atlanta highway

A prominent highway in DeKalb County had a different type of traffic problem Saturday morning.

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Horses were seen running along U.S. 78 East, with Triple Team Traffic tweeting that the highway was shut down past Montreal Road due to the incident.

Police were on the scene about 9 a.m. trying to contain the animals, and all lanes were back open about 30 minutes later, Channel 2 Action News reported.

Ranchers near U.S. 78 forgot to close a gate Friday night, DeKalb police spokesman Lonzy Robertson said.

Saturday morning, the horses ran onto U.S. 78 before they were “corralled” and taken back to the ranch, Robertson said.

No injuries to horses or people were reported.

Police K-9 bites girl, 4, while chasing suspect

A Shelby police dog chasing a man wanted on felony warrants bit a 4-year-old girl during the pursuit, officials said.

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The police chief told Channel 9 the suspect jumped on top of a car while trying to get away from the dog. 

At some point, the suspect opened the back door of the car and a girl inside was bitten. 

She was taken to the hospital to be checked out. The extent of her injuries is unknown.

After being denied marriage license, terminally ill woman, fiancé marry

Nearly a week after being denied a marriage license, a terminally ill woman and her fiancé have married. 

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Aubri Gillilan and husband Andrew Hendrickson wed at their home Friday afternoon

A relative officiated the wedding as their four children and other loved ones watched. 

A normally lethargic, Gillilan was giddy as she spoke the words she’d dreamed of saying: “I, Aubri, take you, Andrew, to be my husband.”

The couple was earlier denied a marriage license after they were repeatedly told they both needed to physically be present at the Fulton County South Annex to get their license.

Gillilan’s malignant melanoma prevented her from leaving her Fairburn home.

"I told them she was under hospice care, bedridden. She wasn't able to come," Hendrickson told Channel 2's Tom Jones earlier this week. 

The chances of getting married proved even more difficult after Fulton County Probate Judge Pinkie Toomer said it's difficult to send a worker to someone's home because of security issues. 

But Toomer eventually worked with the couple, sending a deputy and court clerk to their home to get the paperwork completed.

“There's no reason why we should have had to gone to this length to get married,” Gillilan said. 

Hendrickson said people in similar positions should be able to use Skype of Facetime for verification purposes. 

But, for now bride Gillilan is happy her wish came true: “It's great. We finally got married.”

Couple married 72 years die 10 hours apart

Malcolm and Betty Clynch never did anything apart, their family said. That proved to be true even in death.

The Texas couple married in 1945 when they were teenagers, WFAA reported. But soon the newlyweds were separated for the only time in their lives, while Malcolm served in the Army. Love letters shared by the family illustrate the couple's deep love and devotion to one another. Malcolm signed each love letter with: "I'll always love only you."

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That love continued for the rest of their lives, as they raised a family and had long careers. After 72 years of marriage, Malcolm and Betty, both 90, were in failing health. Betty had Alzheimer's disease and Malcolm had heart issues, the family told WFAA.

The family believes that Malcolm felt like he had to die first, to show Betty the way. Malcolm did die first, at a Fort Worth assisted living facility. Betty followed him in death just 10 hours later, family told WFAA.

The family held a double funeral for the couple on Monday.

Johnsonville recalls 109K pounds of sausage after reports of plastic contamination

A recall has been issued for a popular brand of sausage due to consumer reports that plastic pieces were found in the product.

Johnsonville, LLC issued a recall Thursday for 109,603 pounds of its smoked pork sausage, according to the United States Department of Agriculture news release.

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The fully-cooked Jalapeño Cheddar Smoked Sausage included in the recall was produced on Jan. 4, 2018, and bears an establishment number “EST. 34224” inside the USDA mark of inspection.

The recalled items were shipped to retail locations nationwide.

Johnsonville, LLC received three consumer complaints that pieces of hard, green plastic were found in the sausage product.

There have been no confirmed reports of adverse reactions due to consumption of these products, according to the USDA.

Consumers who have purchased these products are urged not to consume them. The products should be discarded or returned to the place of purchase.

Consumers with questions about the recall can call or text Johnsonville Consumer Relations at 1-888-556-2728. 

Florida man going blind sees beach for last time

Woody Parker and his wife, Genie, arrived at Fernandina Beach in style.

Woody has glaucoma, an eye disease that causes blindness, and he’s on the verge of losing the sight he has left.

Wish of a Lifetime and Brookdale Senior Living decided to help make Woody’s dream come true before he goes blind, ActionNewsJax reported.

>> Read more trending news 

He wanted to see the beach with his wife one last time.

“I love it. I love the beach,” Woody said.

He and his wife made their way down closer to the water.

“There’s nothing like the sound of the beach with the waves crashing,” said Woody.

“Always special to be anywhere with him, especially here. We enjoy it,” Genie said.

Hand in hand, they relaxed on the beach.

“It’s just real cozy. There’s just something about it that’s just different,” Woody told ActionNewsJax.

Woody says even though he may lose his sight, it won’t stop him from coming to the beach if he has another chance.

“Of course, I won’t be able to see the changes, but I’ll be able to feel them,” he said.

Photos: St. Patrick's Day 2018

Police: Explosive devices discovered in Florida man's pickup truck at Sonny's BBQ

A 46-year-old man was arrested Friday in Florida after explosive devices were discovered in his pickup truck in the parking lot of a Sonny's BBQ restaurant, police said.

Police were called to the restaurant and encountered Hargis Johnson, Clermont police Officer Erin Razo told WFTV.

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"In the bed of the truck were several 5-gallon buckets filled with bottles of gasoline," Razo said. "The bottles had rags sticking out of them."

The restaurant was evacuated and a highway was closed temporarily, police said.

"The Lake County Sheriff's Office bomb squad responded to the scene in reference to the multiple explosive devices located in the suspect vehicle," Razo said. "Officers also located a 'zip gun' inside the vehicle."

Investigators said the devices were deemed safe by the bomb squad and the roads were reopened, WFTV reported. No one was injured.

Razo said police don’t know what Johnson had planned.

Johnson was booked into the Lake County Jail on two counts of making/possessing a destructive device and one count of carrying a concealed firearm.

The incident remains under investigation.

Florida firefighter falls off bridge into river while rescuing woman from fiery crash

An off-duty firefighter in Florida fell off a bridge and into the St. John’s River while rescuing a woman from a fiery crash. 

Orange County Fire Rescue Lt. John McNally said he’s lucky he survived plummeting nearly 40 feet down into the river. 

>> Read more trending news 

He said he was heading to work about 6:40 a.m. Friday when he saw the crash. 

“I saw one vehicle scrape a concrete barrier and then burst into flames,” he told WFTV

According to a report, Zachary Daniels, 30, crashed into Rhonda Nagy, 54, causing her vehicle to catch fire.

McNally said he pulled on his gear and he and Daniels rushed to help Nagy. 

He said her door was jammed against the bridge. He put one foot over the barrier hoping to pull her to safety, but he fell over the bridge.

“About halfway down, I realized I was falling and I just braced myself to hit the pavement,” he said. “I was so relieved to hit the water.”

He and Daniels, who also fell in, swam to safety, WFTV reported.

“He (Daniels) deserves more credit than I do because I’m trained for this,” McNally said. 

McNally said he was surprised and grateful that everyone survived. “Miraculously, no injuries. I can just equate it to pure luck,” he said. “It’s unbelievable. It’s astonishing.” 

Florida Highway Patrol troopers said the crash remains under investigation and charges are pending.

Elderly woman navigates busy traffic in Memphis on mobility scooter

A woman alarmed drivers in Memphis on Friday night as she drove a mobility scooter onto a dangerous highway. The woman, who appeared to be in her 70s or 80s, was seen driving around 7 p.m. The incident was recorded live on Facebook

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The video was being filmed as a cry for help. Facebook user, Towanna Murphy, asked her friends to please share the information with police as she followed the woman onto I-240.

"Whoever is watching this video, please call 911, so we can get this lady where she's going,” Murphy said.

The video ended with a Memphis police officer working to assist the woman off the scooter, but she refused to comply. 

Police said the woman is now safe and with officers.

Video shows family getting kicked off Southwest flight

A video showing a family being escorted off a Southwest Airlines plane just before takeoff at Chicago’s Midway International Airport has has gone viral, WGN reported.

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Alexis Armstrong, 24, filmed part of the incident on her cellphone. The video showed attendants telling a couple and their 2-year-old daughter to leave after the child had insisted on sitting in her father’s lap, WGN reported. The father said the girl had calmed down and there was no need to leave, but one of the attendants said “The decision has been made."

Armstrong, who was sitting a row back and across the aisle from the family, told WGN she did not think the family should have been kicked off the plane.

In a statement, Southwest said the conversation “escalated” between the crew and the customer.

“We always aim for a welcoming and hospitable experience and regret the inconvenience to all involved,” Southwest said in the statement. “The traveling party was booked on the next flight to Atlanta after the original flight continued as planned.”


Cables tightened on FIU bridge before it collapsed, possible cracks reported

Officials with The National Transportation Safety Board said construction workers were tightening cables on the newly constructed pedestrian bridge at Florida International University on Thursday before the structure collapsed, killing at least six people. And days before the collapse, a lead engineer reportedly noticed cracks in the bridge, according to the Florida Department of Transportation. 

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Friday night, NTSB Chairman Robert Sumwalt said their investigation is still in the early stages, but they know what workers were doing before the collapse. At this point, they don’t know if the work that was being done was the cause of the collapse. 

“Our mission is to find out not only what happened -- we know what happened, the bridge collapsed,” he said. “We want to find out why it happened.”

At about 1:30 p.m. Thursday, law enforcement responded to the intersection of Southwest Eighth Street and Southwest 109th Avenue west of Miami to the bridge collapse. Several people were taken to the hospital and six were confirmed dead as of Friday evening. Authorities said they expected to find other victims during their recovery efforts.

>> Miami bridge collapse: 6 confirmed dead, police say

On the day of the collapse, the main NTSB investigator for the said that there are 10 “diagonal members” that connect the walkway portion of the bridge to the canopy portion. He said on Thursday, construction workers were tightening cables within those diagonal supports. 

“Construction crews were applying post-tensioning force that is designed to strengthen the diagonal member,” he said.

During the news conference, officials were asked about possible cracks in the structure. They said at this time, they have not confirmed that on their own.

Friday night, the Florida Department of Transportation released the transcript of a voicemail left Tuesday by the lead engineer with FIGG, the firm that designed the bridge. The engineer, Denney Pate, said there were cracks in the concrete.

“Um, so, uh, we’ve taken a look at it and, uh, obviously some repairs or whatever will have to be done but from a safety perspective we don’t see that there’s any issue there so we’re not concerned about it from that perspective although obviously the cracking is not good and something’s going to have to be, ya know, done to repair that,” Pate said.

FDOT said in their release that no one in the office heard the voicemail until Friday, a day after the collapse. 

Additionally, FDOT said that neither FIU nor the engineering firm ever warned them of any “life-safety issue.”

NTSB investigators were also asked about the cables shown in the photo renderings of what the bridge would look like when complete. In those depictions, the cables spread across the upper portion of the bridge much like the sail of a boat. Investigators said from their understanding, those cables “were only cosmetic; they were not structural members.” They had not been installed at this point because the second part of the bridge had not been built or installed. 

Florida Highway Patrol Lt. Alejandro Camacho said that Southwest Eighth Street between Southwest 107th Avenue to Southwest 117th Avenue will remain closed indefinitely as the recovery efforts and investigation continue. 

Sumwalt said they expect NTSB investigators to spend between five and seven days at the scene. 

“That’s really just the beginning of our investigation because there’s a lot of work that goes into this,” he said. 

Wedding bells planned for ‘Grey’s Anatomy’

There’s going to be a wedding soon on “Grey’s Anatomy,” Entertainment Online reported.

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Oh, spoiler alert -- if you did not watch Thursday’s episode and want to find out for yourself, skip this story.

The turbulent relationship between Jo (Camilla Luddington) and Alex (Justin Chambers) ends with their engagement by the end of the episode, titled “Old Scares, Future Hearts.”

Jo feels the need to make a confession to Alex, but he cuts her off and runs to his dresser, looking for something.

“Where the freak is my ring?” he finally asks.

“Alex, I’m wearing it,” she tells him.

The proposal is made and accepted. Wedding details are coming soon.

United Airlines has another pet-related glitch 

United Airlines acknowledged its third animal-related mistake in a week, as a flight from Newark to St. Louis was diverted to Akron, Ohio when a pet was loaded onto the flight by mistake, CNN reported.

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United is already under scrutiny after one dog died in an overhead bin and another was accidentally flown to Japan.

>> Dog dies on United Airlines flight

On Friday, the airline announced that Flight 3996 was diverted to Akron after officials discovered the animal was on the flight bound for St. Louis, airline spokeswoman Maggie Schmerin said. The pet was supposed to be on a plane traveling from Newark to Akron, CNN reported.

United told CNN the unidentified animal was "safely delivered to its owner." Airline officials said it offered compensation to all passengers.

>> United mistakenly flies dog to Japan

"As we stated, we take full responsibility and are deeply sorry for this tragic accident. We remain in contact with the family to express our condolences and offer support," United spokesman Jonathan Guerin said. 

Police: Woman stole 1969 Preakness Cup from South Florida storage unit

The 1969 Preakness Cup trophy, the prize of a major thoroughbred horse race won by a stallion that nearly landed a Triple Crown, was among the items an alleged looter grabbed from a storage unit in South Florida, police said.

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Alicia Elaine Murphy, 59, of Boca Raton, faces several charges of burglary and grand theft. Investigators said she cut the locks on at least 12 storage units at a CubeSmart in Delray Beach and took electronics, household items, musical instruments and taxidermy.

And one storage unit had more than $300,000 worth of goods, including family heirlooms and memorabilia from the 1969 Preakness Stakes. Majestic Prince, a thoroughbred colt, won the race that year, two weeks after winning the Kentucky Derby.

Murphy sent the Preakness Cup, and other mementos including gilded horseshoes, to an auction house in New York that specializes in sports collectibles, police said.

The auction company had given Murphy a $15,000 advance on the cup before detectives arrested her Wednesday.

Police value Murphy’s total haul at between $350,000 and $400,000, the report says.

Murphy told detectives that she rented a storage unit at CubeSmart for 24-hour access, and routinely broke into other units using bolt cutters. She rented a large vehicle and hired laborers at Home Depot to help load trucks with stolen merchandise, according to the police report.

Murphy broke into the lockers at night when workers weren’t present, police said.

Murphy has been convicted of several felonies since the early 1990s, including cocaine possession, fraud, grand theft and forgery, according to state records. Most recently, Murphy served eight months in the state prison in 2005 on charges of grand theft and fraud.

The lucrative horse race memorabilia belonged to Francine McMahon, a Delray Beach resident whose father, Canadian industrialist Frank McMahon, owned Majestic Prince, according to news reports. Frank McMahon helped develop lucrative gas and crude oil pipelines in Canada.

Majestic Prince nearly won the Triple Crown, a rare feat in thoroughbred racing earned when a horse wins three prestigious races in a six-week span — Kentucky Derby, Preakness and Belmont Stakes. Only twelve horses have won the Triple Crown, the last in 2015 by American Pharoah.

Majestic Prince was the first horse to enter the Belmont Stakes undefeated in 1969. But he had injured a ligament in his right front leg before the race, according to news reports. McMahon had wanted to rest “The Prince” as media called the champion thoroughbred, but changed his mind.

Majestic Prince finished second by 5½ lengths to Arts and Letters in the Belmont and never raced again.

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