Around the Region


Published: Thursday, January 1, 2004 at 6:01 a.m.
Last Modified: Thursday, January 1, 2004 at 1:08 a.m.

Mature Drivers

If you're a driver 80 or older, you don't necessarily have to rush immediately to the driver's license office to have your vision tested.

Florida's "Mature Drivers" vision-test law that goes into effect today requires that all people 80 and older must take an eye exam when they renew their driver's license. But the test is required only upon license renewal, said Joe Lawrence, spokesman for the Florida Department of Highway Safety and Motor Vehicles.

A person 80 or older whose driver's license expires in 2007, for example, won't have to take the vision test until then, Lawrence said.

He said Florida law allows people to renew their licenses up to 18 months before their scheduled renewal date. But he said most people, including the 726,000 registered drivers over age 79, elect to wait until their scheduled renewal date.

Older drivers who are eligible to renew their licenses by mail, phone or online may continue to do so. But they'll need to have an eye doctor sign a form (which can be downloaded at www.hsmv.state.fl.us) saying they have passed the vision test.

-Bob Arndorfer

Closed for the holiday

Here is a list of the agencies and services that will be closed in observance of the New Year's holiday:

  • The Alachua County Library District headquarters and branch libraries will be closed today and will reopen for regular hours on Friday.

  • The Alachua County Courthouse, State Attorney's Office, Property Appraiser's Office and Tax Collector's Office will be closed today and will reopen for regular business on Friday.

  • All city and county offices will be closed today and will reopen for regular business on Friday.

  • The U.S. Postal Service offices will be closed today, and will reopen for regular service Friday.

  • Banks and credit unions will be closed today and will reopen for regular business Friday.

  • Today's regular trash pickup will be Friday, and Friday's pickup will be Saturday. Pickups will return to their regular schedule on Monday.

  • Alachua County schools, the University of Florida and Santa Fe Community College have suspended classes for the holidays. County schools will reopen for classes on Monday, and UF and SFCC will reopen Tuesday.

  • The Regional Transit System will have reduced fixed route bus service through Sunday. There will be no bus service today. For full RTS information, Call (352) 334-2600 or visit www.go-rts.com on the Web.

    The Associated Press

    New license law doesn't need immediate action

  • If you're a driver 80 or older, you don't necessarily have to rush immediately to the driver's license office to have your vision tested.

    Florida's "Mature Drivers" vision-test law that goes into effect today requires that all people 80 and older must take an eye exam when they renew their driver's license. But the test is required only upon license renewal, said Joe Lawrence, spokesman for the Florida Department of Highway Safety and Motor Vehicles.

    A person 80 or older whose driver's license expires in 2007, for example, won't have to take the vision test until then, Lawrence said.

    He said Florida law allows people to renew their licenses up to 18 months before their scheduled renewal date. But he said most people, including the 726,000 registered drivers over age 79, elect to wait until their scheduled renewal date.

    Older drivers who are eligible to renew their licenses by mail, phone or online may continue to do so. But they'll need to have an eye doctor sign a form (which can be downloaded at www.hsmv.state.fl.us) saying they have passed the vision test.

    - Bob Arndorfer

    Officials to determine if flu caused girl's death

  • PORT ORANGE - Volusia County health officials were investigating Wednesday whether the death of a 10-year-old girl was the result of the flu.

    The Port Orange girl died Tuesday.

    "We do know that she had the flu, but whether that was the cause of death, all of that is under investigation," Stefany Strong, a spokeswoman for the Volusia County Health Department, told The Associated Press. Lindsay Hodges, spokeswoman for the state Department of Health, said that there has been an increase in flu cases in several Florida counties. Earlier this month, three nursing home residents died from flu-related complications in Sarasota County.

    -The Associated Press

    Police: Methadone may have caused baby to die

  • WEST PALM BEACH - Police are investigating whether an 8-month-old baby died of a methadone overdose after the girl's grandmother saw her ingesting a red pill.

    LouBurn Crockett, 50, said she pulled out the pill and washed out her granddaughter's mouth but did not call poison control or paramedics.

    Several hours later, A'Jaylin Coley was found rigid and not breathing, she said.

    Police would not comment on whether family members could face criminal charges for the Dec. 23 death. Investigators are conducting an autopsy.

    Crockett, who often cared for the child but did not have custody, said she and her boyfriend were fighting in his truck when he threw a bottle of methadone, possibly spilling it. She said the methadone was prescribed for his pain.

    -The Associated Press

    Parents charged with neglect in baby's burns

  • POMPANO BEACH - The parents of an 8-month-old girl who suffered severe burns were charged with child neglect because they didn't seek emergency medical care, deputies said Wednesday.

    Dale Cappadona, 35, and Candace Cabot-Guentes, 40, of Pompano Beach, were each charged with child neglect with great harm. They were being held Wednesday at the Broward County jail on $3,500 bond each.

    Neither of them called 911 on Friday when their daughter, Alexis Cappadona, suffered severe burns on her legs, back, buttocks, face and side, according to the Broward County Sheriff's Office. Three days later, the burns were infected and they brought the baby to the hospital and deputies were called.

    -The Associated Press

    Driver charged in van crash that killed teen

  • FORT PIERCE - A former member of Tampa's Deeper Life Christian Church has been charged with a third-degree felony stemming from a van accident that killed a 14-year-old boy.

    Abdoulaye Diakhate was charged Tuesday with driving without a license in an accident involving serious injury or death, said St. Lucie County Assistant State Attorney Amy LeBlanc. He remained at-large.

    Diakhate was driving a seven-passenger Dodge van on June 8 when it spun out of control on Florida's Turnpike and flipped over twice. The van carried 15 people, 11 of them children. Most were thrown from the van as it rolled. It came to rest atop Williams Middle School student Solomon Bostick, killing him.

    -The Associated Press

    Federal agency notified of missing dump truck

  • DELAND - Local law enforcement authorities have notified the Department of Homeland Security that a state-owned dump truck has been stolen. The report was made to the federal agency because of the heightened threat level, Lt. Richard Gaylord, a spokesman for the DeLand Police Department, said Wednesday.

    One possible fear is that if terrorists stole the truck and packed it with explosives, they would be able to get past a building's security guards without scrutiny because of its state markings.

    ''Any large vehicle like that could have homeland security implications, but there are other possibilities as well,'' Gaylord said. ''It could be kids joyriding in it. It could be stolen for financial gain to be used on the black market. At this point, we can't speculate on the exact reason.''f-z

    -The Associated Press

    Man wanted in murder arrested in England

  • TAMPA - A man wanted on charges of arranging a Lee County murder nearly eight years ago was arrested Wednesday in England for allegedly killing a constable, authorities said.

    David Bieber, who disappeared in 1995 after the Lee County sheriff issued a warrant for conspiracy to commit murder, had been working as a doorman in West Yorkshire under the name of Nathan Wayne Coleman, Lee County sheriff's deputy Larry King said.

    Police in northern England arrested Coleman, suspected of killing Constable Ian Broadhurst and seriously injuring another officer after they tried to handcuff him Friday during a traffic stop, King said. Police and FBI officials linked the two homicides through fingerprints a day before the arrest, he said.

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