Around the Region, Jan. 29


Published: Saturday, January 28, 2012 at 11:14 p.m.
Last Modified: Saturday, January 28, 2012 at 11:14 p.m.

POLICE BEAT

Driver killed in crash on I-75

An unidentified driver was killed on Interstate 75 on Saturday after the driver's SUV veered off the highway, hit some trees and caught fire, the Florida Highway Patrol reported.

The accident occurred at 2:55 p.m. just north of County Road 236 north of Alachua, FHP stated in a press release.

The driver was heading south and began weaving from lane to lane before driving onto the shoulder, witnesses told FHP. The SUV struck a group of trees on the west shoulder and became engulfed in flames.

The only person in the SUV was declared dead at the scene by Alachua County Fire Rescue, the release stated.

The driver had not been identified by Saturday evening.

— Cindy Swirko

ATV crash lands man in hospital

A Lake City man was hospitalized in critical condition Saturday morning when an all-terrain vehicle he was driving on a road in Lafayette County went into a ditch and overturned.

Billy Joe Payne, 64, was taken to Shands at the University of Florida following the accident on Airstrip Road, about 10 miles west of Branford, reported the Florida Highway Patrol.

The accident occurred about 10:45 a.m. when Payne was driving a 2005 Arctic Cat ATV west on Airstrip Road, a dirt and grassy private road. For an unknown reason, Payne steered to the left sharply and traveled into a drainage ditch on the south side of the road, FHP stated in a press release.

The ATV overturned, ejecting Payne.

— Cindy Swirko

STATE

Miami kids getting inexpensive laptops

MIAMI — Children in one of Miami's toughest neighborhoods are getting rugged, inexpensive laptop computers similar to ones distributed to schoolchildren in developing countries.

The One Laptop Per Child Association in Miami gave more than 500 green-and-white laptops Friday to students at Holmes Elementary School in Liberty City.

Officials with the association tell The Miami Herald that the laptop program aims to boost the students' interest in learning.

The $200 XO laptops run open-sourced software and are designed specifically for children. The John S. and James L. Knight Foundation financed the laptops for Holmes Elementary.

The One Laptop Per Child Association has a sister foundation in Massachusetts that has distributed the laptops in Nicaragua, Peru, Rwanda and other countries.

— The Associated Press

Trucker guilty of killing competitor

JACKSONVILLE — A Jacksonville truck driver has been convicted of killing a competitor.

A Duval County jury found 51-year-old Colavito Anton Bell guilty Thursday of first-degree murder. He faces a mandatory sentence of life.

The Florida Times-Union reports that Bell and 41-year-old Christopher Oney both worked as independent contractors for Oldcastle Coastal. They delivered the company's landscaping stones to Lowes and The Home Depot stores in the area.

Prosecutors say Bell was upset that Oney made $46,000 more than him in 2007, leading Bell to fatally shoot Oney in January 2008. Police linked Bell to the murder after a witness described a car leaving the scene that matched the description of Bell's yellow Honda Prelude with purple-flared stripes, tinted windows and a skull-and-crossbones decal.

— The Associated Press

Deputy accused of stealing gun, pills

WEST PALM BEACH — A Palm Beach County deputy has been arrested after authorities say he stole a firearm and pain medication from a terminally ill deputy.

According to a probable cause affidavit, Lt. Daniel Burrows went to the home of a fellow deputy who was near death after a lengthy battle with cancer last month. While there, Burrows allegedly stole a weapon from a safe in the garage and handfuls of oxycontin pills that had been prescribed to the sick deputy.

— The Associated Press

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