ST. PETE BEACH
Pedestrian, 67, hit and killed on Gulf Blvd.
A pedestrian was hit and killed by a car while crossing a street Saturday night, according to police. Paul T. Clements, 67, of Bay City, Mich., was taken to Bayfront Medical Center in St. Petersburg. Police said he was crossing Gulf Boulevard from west to east at the 6100 block about 7 p.m. and was struck in the northbound lanes by a Toyota Camry. He was not at a crosswalk. The car was driven by 65-year-old Bernard Appleman of St. Pete Beach. Traffic homicide investigator Robert Micklitsch said it appears no charges will be filed.
WEST PALM BEACH
Caller details abuse of twins
Florida officials have released a call made to an abuse hotline about two children who were later found doused in chemicals, one of them dead. The caller's name wasn't released, but the caller reported having a therapy session with a granddaughter of Jorge and Carmen Barahona in which the child says the couple was taping their adoptive 10-year-old twins up on their arms and legs and setting them in the bathtub for hours on end. The child told the caller she was not abused, but that she had witnessed the abuse of the other children and "was threatened not to say anything." Jorge Barahona has pleaded not guilty to attempted first-degree murder and aggravated child abuse in the alleged attack on his son Victor. No charges have been filed in his twin sister Nubia's death.
Wildfire forces evacuations
A Central Florida wildfire that quickly grew to around 4,000 acres has prompted evacuations and destroyed at least two structures. Officials say a 20-mile section of Interstate 95 along Florida's Space Coast remained closed Monday night. The Florida Highway Patrol ordered the shutdown in both directions from Mims in Brevard County to Edgewater in Volusia County. The fire forced the evacuation of nearby campgrounds and trailer parks. About 20 residents left their homes. Forestry officials say two hunting cabins were destroyed. Firefighters continue to battle the blaze.
Conference looks at storm forecasts
Hurricane experts and emergency managers are considering how potential budget cuts may affect storm forecasts and warnings. Federal and military officials and academic researchers were in Miami on Monday to discuss what programs can be improved for the six-month Atlantic hurricane season that begins June 1. The directors of the National Hurricane Center and the National Weather Service say they aim to cut errors in half over the next 10 years in predictions about when storms will rapidly strengthen. Those forecasts have lagged significantly behind improvements in predicting a storm's path. The annual Interdepartmental Hurricane Conference continues through Thursday.
Florida panther found dead on I-75
A Florida panther has been found dead in southwest Florida. The Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission reports that a 3- to 4-year-old uncollared male was found Saturday on Interstate 75 in Collier County. The animal had been hit by a vehicle. This is the seventh panther death of the year, fourth by vehicle strike. Biologists estimate the panther population in Florida to be 100 to 120.
Times staff and wires