Around the region for June 15, 2013

Published: Friday, June 14, 2013 at 9:38 p.m.
Last Modified: Friday, June 14, 2013 at 9:38 p.m.


Panhandle crash kills two and injures six

MARY ESTHER — Two people died and six others were injured in a crash near Hurlburt Field in the Panhandle.

The multi-vehicle crash happened Thursday near the main gate of the U.S. Air Force installation. The westbound lanes of U.S. Highway 98 were closed for almost five hours as the Florida Highway Patrol investigated the crash.

The FHP reported that Kurt Graetzer, 66, and Pamela Graetzer, 63, were killed in the crash. They were stuck in traffic about 1:25 p.m. Thursday when a box truck driven by Devin Endersen of Pensacola hit them from behind. Troopers say both victims wore seat belts.

Troopers said the impact sent the Graetzers’ Honda Element into a truck driven by Steven Williams. Williams’ truck rotated counterclockwise and hit a car driven by James Calbert Jr. Calbert’s vehicle then struck a truck driven by Clifford Holmes.

The Northwest Florida Daily News reported that the box truck continued after hitting the Graetzers’ car and hit vehicles driven by Williams and Calbert.

Capt. Joey Boudreaux of the Mary Esther Fire Department said five victims were taken to Fort Walton Beach Medical Center. Another received minor injuries and didn’t require a trip to the hospital.

The crash caused an estimated $36,000 in damage to the vehicles involved.

One dead, another unconscious in condo

TEQUESTA — Authorities said they found one person dead and another unconscious in a condominium in Tequesta.

The Palm Beach Post reported that Tequesta police were called to the residence about 8:15 a.m. Friday.

Neighbors became concerned after the elderly couple had not been seen in awhile and newspapers and mail was piling up.

SUV rams into Waffle House, leaves scene

COCOA — Four people were injured when the driver of a sports utility vehicle rammed into a Waffle House in Cocoa before leaving the scene.

The Florida Highway Patrol said the crash happened about 3:50 a.m. Friday at the restaurant near Interstate 95.

Troopers said they weren’t sure why the driver accelerated and crossed over the curb outside the restaurant. Witnesses said he backed up and then fled the scene before authorities arrived.

A Brevard County building inspector declared the restaurant safe, but advised managers to use caution. The FHP is looking for the SUV, which should have significant damage to the front end.

Hunt for missing mac and cheese turns ugly

DELTONA — Authorities said two Florida brothers got into a tussle over missing macaroni and cheese that ended with one stabbing the other in the stomach.

Volusia County Sheriff’s deputies said 47-year-old Edward Zipperer spilled a beer belonging to his 49-year-old brother Randy Zipperer while looking for the missing mac and cheese. That set off an argument inside the Deltona home that led to the older brother stabbing the younger one, deputies said.

According to the Daytona Beach News-Journal, Randy Zipperer told deputies he didn’t mean to hurt his brother, adding he just “poked him a little with the knife.”

Edward Zipperer had a small puncture wound. Deputies recovered a 6-inch knife with blood on the tip.

Randy Zipperer remained in the Volusia County Jail early Friday. He faces an aggravated battery charge.

Ex-exec sentenced for $6 million scam

MIAMI — The former top executive of a Miami Beach health center that helps the poor and uninsured has been sentenced to 3 years in prison after admitting a $6 million embezzlement scam.

A Miami federal judge imposed the sentence this week on 64-year-old Kathryn Abbate. She pleaded guilty in March to stealing money from federally funded programs.

Abbate led the Miami Beach Community Health Center from 2002 to 2012.

Prosecutors said Abbate had more than 800 of the center’s checks worth $3 million made payable to her for so-called community development. In fact, the money was for Abbate’s personal use.

Abbate also admitted the center paid her another $3 million for vacation and benefits she never earned.

Man injured after diving into a lake

JACKSONVILLE — A Jacksonville man suffered serious injuries when he dove into a lake and didn’t surface.

The Florida Times-Union reported that 51-year-old Scott Allen Hamner was visiting family in Clay County Thursday afternoon. Around 4 p.m. he dove into Kingsley Lake.

Family members pulled him from the lake and started performing cardiopulmonary resuscitation.

— Compiled from The Associated Press

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