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Over Thanksgiving weekend, 21 died on Florida roads

Tallahassee

FHP: 21 deaths over Thanksgiving

The Florida Highway Patrol said Wednesday that a preliminary tally showed 21 people died in traffic-related incidents over the Thanksgiving weekend, while 157 people were arrested on DUI charges. The statistics also showed that during the five-day peak travel period, troopers issued almost 8,000 traffic tickets, of which nearly 6,000 were for speeding. FHP increased enforcement by sending troopers normally assigned to administrative duties out on patrol. Reservists and auxiliary troopers also increased the number of troopers on duty.

Tallahassee

Antipersonnel mine was for training

An antipersonnel mine removed from a Tallahassee area recycling business turned out to be a training aid.

The Big Bend Regional Bomb Squad on Wednesday took the device to Tallahassee Community College's law enforcement academy west of Tallahassee, where it was identified as a harmless dud. Leon County sheriff's Sgt. Tony Drzewiecki said no further investigation will be conducted.

Orlando

Deputies: Son beat woman who died

A man, accused of beating and kicking his 73-year-old mother, is now charged in connection with her death.

The Orange County Sheriff's Office says Michael Lizzi, 51, remains in the Orange County Jail Wednesday without bail. He was charged with second-degree murder after his mother, Sophia Chasteen, died Friday from injuries she suffered three days earlier.

Jupiter

Search continues in family shootings

Authorities continue to search for Paul Michael Merhige, who hasn't been seen since four members of his family were fatally shot on Thanksgiving Day.

Police said Wednesday that they searched bodies of water near the Jupiter home where the shootings occurred, but the search did not turn up anything. Authorities also broadcast new photos of Merhige, who they say killed a 6-year-old girl, his 79-year-old aunt and his twin sisters, one of whom was pregnant. A public funeral service will be held Saturday for the girl.

Miami

Ukraine to honor state's Diaz-Balart

Rep. Lincoln Diaz-Balart, R-Miami, is to receive one of Ukraine's top medals for his efforts to bring children with disabilities to the United States for medical treatment.

Diaz-Balart was to receive the "Order of Merit" in Washington Wednesday evening. He and his staff worked with Ukrainian first lady Kateryna Yushchenko and her charity to bring nine children to Florida in 2007 for prosthetics and other medical care. South Florida families donated the money to cover the trips and treatment.

DeLand

Christmas trees set on fire at store

There's a Grinch in Volusia County.

A DeLand police report says someone made their way inside a tent outside a Lowe's early Tuesday and set fire to a number of Christmas trees that were stored inside. It was not immediately known how many trees were damaged in the fire.

A 911 caller reported seeing a person wearing a hooded shirt run away from the tent. The DeLand Fire Department is investigating.

Associated Press

Over Thanksgiving weekend, 21 died on Florida roads 12/02/09 [Last modified: Wednesday, December 2, 2009 9:55pm]

    

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