Around the Region

Published: Wednesday, January 28, 2004 at 6:01 a.m.
Last Modified: Wednesday, January 28, 2004 at 1:04 a.m.

Gas leak closes 39th Ave., triggers evacuations

  • A section of NW 39th Avenue was closed Tuesday after a construction crew struck a natural gas line.
    A contractor working for Gainesville Regional Utilities and drilling in the 2800 block of NW 39th Avenue hit the 6-inch line shortly before noon, said Tiffany Cooper with Gainesville Fire Rescue. The accident forced the closure of about a half mile stretch of the road east of NW 34th Street.
    People at Creekside Community Church and a day-care facility were evacuated.
    Cooper said there were no injuries due to the incident.
    Except for one westbound lane where repair crews were working, traffic was reopened along the road by 2:30 p.m.
    - Lise Fisher

    Profiler aiding inquiry of art gallery death

  • SARASOTA - Investigators hope insight from a criminal profiler will help narrow the search for a suspect in the slaying of an art gallery owner.
    A profiler with the Florida Department of Law Enforcement is meeting with Sarasota Police detectives to study the death of 61-year-old Joyce Wishart, whose body was found stabbed and mutilated last week inside the Provenance Gallery in Sarasota's upscale art and theater district.
    Detectives hope the profiler might provide additional insight in the investigation, authorities said. Police have conducted 70 interviews and gathered 350 pieces of evidence, but have not made an arrest.
    - The Associated Press

    Teen surrenders in 'car surfing' death

  • SARASOTA - A Punta Gorda teen charged with manslaughter for operating a vehicle during a Halloween-night stunt in which a companion was killed turned himself in at the Sarasota County jail Tuesday morning.
    An arrest warrant had been issued for Erroll Martin, 17, after he was charged with the second-degree felony last week. He was the only licensed driver in the vehicle that was used to "car surf."
    Christopher Trowbridge, 15, a Charlotte High School freshman, died from severe head injuries he sustained while attempting the stunt, in which a person hangs onto or stands atop a moving vehicle as though surfing.
    - N.Y. Times Regional Newspaper Group

    Tourist in Key West reports stolen drugs

  • KEY WEST - A New York tourist called police to report that several items were stolen from his hotel room, including some high quality Bahamian marijuana.
    Jim Devlin, 33, of East Meadow, N.Y., filed the report early Monday morning, according to Key West police. He was not charged because no marijuana was found, police spokeswoman Cynthia Edwards said Tuesday. Devlin, who told police he's an investment banker, also claimed $50 and a watch were also stolen. He declined to tell police the amount or worth of the allegedly missing marijuana.
    - The Associated Press

    Woman with learning disabilities sues state

  • MIAMI - An 18-year-old woman with learning disabilities is suing the state over a 2002 law intended to prepare foster children aging out of the system for independent lives, but may keep her from taking remedial classes.
    Listed in the lawsuit as Jane Doe, the woman lived in six foster homes since age 3, and left her last home in Opa-locka when the Department of Children & Families stopped paying room and board on her 18th birthday in November. She moved into a one-bedroom apartment with her older sister.
    - The Associated Press

    Couple sues Citigroup in WorldCom losses

  • WEST PALM BEACH - A retired couple who lost nearly $2 million when WorldCom filed for bankruptcy 18 months ago sued Citigroup on Tuesday, saying the brokerage firm's deceptive reports led them to invest in the company.
    Jack Holtsberg and his wife, Elaine, say they lost their life savings by relying on deceptive reports written by Citigroup's high-profile analyst Jack Grubman. Citigroup in 2002 paid a $5 million fine to settle charges that Grubman issued misleading reports about WorldCom.
    - The Associated Press
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