Around the Region for April 2, 2011


Published: Friday, April 1, 2011 at 10:47 p.m.
Last Modified: Friday, April 1, 2011 at 10:47 p.m.

POLICE BEAT

Man who hit walker is cited

A Melrose man delivering newspapers was cited for careless driving Thursday morning after the Florida Highway Patrol determined he hit a pedestrian who received non-life-threatening injuries.

The incident happened at 7 a.m. on Noah Raulerson Road in Baker County.

Troopers said Lauraleene M. Anderson, 27, of Glen St. Mary was walking south on the grassy portion of the northbound shoulder of the road. Michael R. Spillman, 52, was driving a 2003 GMC Sierra down the middle of road while delivering copies of the Florida Times-Union newspaper, which is published in Jacksonville.

Spillman told investigators that he was distracted while setting down a coffee cup and a newspaper and as a result drifted toward the northbound shoulder.

The front of the GMC hit Anderson from behind, troopers said, and she traveled down the driver's side of the vehicle until her head hit the driver's side mirror, knocking her to the ground.

Anderson was taken to Baker Community Hospital.

— Karen Voyles

STATE

Housekeeper is accused of theft

NAPLES — A housekeeper accused of stealing $100,000 in jewelry from her elderly clients in Southwest Florida will need a lot more money to get out of jail.

Bond was set Friday at $150,000 for 37-year-old Linda Flemke.

She is charged with felony fraud, theft and exploitation. Investigators placed holds on items she pawned last May after receiving complaints. Flemke met with a Lee County Sheriff's detective, but later told officials she would have “ran and never looked back” if she had known she was going to be arrested.

State prosecutors had requested a larger bond amount, saying Flemke stole more than detectives have been able to recover. Her public defender argued that the state's request was unreasonably high and amounted to no bond being set.

— The Associated Press

Artist pleads not guilty in case

MIAMI — Cuban painter Agustin Bejarano maintains he is innocent of Florida charges that he sexually molested a 5-year-old boy.

A written not-guilty plea was entered Thursday on Bejarano's behalf by the Miami-Dade County public defender's office. Bejarano, who was born in Camaguey but lives in Havana, is being held without bail on the felony charge of lewd and lascivious molestation of a minor.

Police say the 46-year-old Bejarano molested the young son of a Hialeah couple he visited last month.

Bejarano came to Miami on March 17 on a one-month visa to attend an art fair featuring Latin American artists.

Bejarano's paintings have been exhibited at Cuba's National Museum of Fine Arts and at galleries in the U.S., Switzerland, Mexico and Canada.

If convicted he faces a potential life prison sentence.

— The Associated Press

Pain clinic head pleads not guilty

MIAMI — The former operator of a half-dozen South Florida pain clinics has pleaded not guilty to charges of conspiring to illegally dispense thousands of doses of oxycodone.

The plea was entered Friday in Miami federal court by 42-year-old Vincent Colangelo. He is the highest-profile of 20 people arrested in February raids of pill mills coordinated by the U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration.

Colangelo attorney Alvin Entin says his client operated a legal business and he expects the case to go to trial.

Florida is the epicenter of the nation's growing prescription drug abuse problem.

Prosecutors say Colangelo's business used the Internet to direct people to his clinics and dispensed some 660,000 oxycodone pills between January 2009 and December 2010.

Colangelo is also charged with money laundering. He is being held without bail.

— The Associated Press

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