Fatal crash on Oct. 5 leads to DUI charges
Almost a month after a fatal crash on U.S. 19, an 81-year-old man is being charged with DUI manslaughter and vehicular homicide. Florida Highway Patrol reports say Albert Friedman was drunk the night of Oct. 5 when he was driving his Volkswagen north on U.S. 19 near Denton Avenue. His car swerved into another lane, clipping the back bumper of a Saturn. The impact caused both cars to rotate, then overturn and slam into a light pole. The Saturn's driver, Bridgette Ewing, 44, of Spring Hill, and passenger Vincent F. Dicristo, 44, of Port Richey, were both killed. Friedman, of Hudson, was taken to Regional Medical Center Bayonet Point. An investigation determined his blood-alcohol level was 0.227, nearly three times the level at which Florida law presumes a driver is impaired. Friedman was arrested Thursday afternoon and charged with two counts of DUI manslaughter, two counts of vehicular homicide and one count of DUI property damage.
'Bed tax' revenues increase from 2011
Pasco County's tourism tax receipts are up by 17 percent compared to last year, thanks to an improving economy, a focus on scheduling popular sporting events and hotel stays tied to the Republican National Convention. For the fiscal year that ended last month, Pasco collected $822,206 from the 2 percent tax on hotel nights. Receipts for the so-called "bed tax" are the second-highest yearly total since the county began collecting the tax in 1991. Last year, the county collected $685,937, one of three down years during the recession. County tourism director Eric Keaton said people are starting to travel more and the number of hotels has increased in Pasco. He also pointed to popular adventure races in the county and to a record August for some hoteliers tied to the RNC. He said the increased revenue would make it easier to sponsor more events, though he said any event must still have to be a good fit for the county.
Hog hunts to close preserve Nov. 6-8
The Conner Preserve at 22500 State Road 52 will be closed to the public Nov. 6-8 for wild hog hunts. The preserve will only be open to hunters who have obtained permits through the Southwest Florida Water Management District, which owns the property. All of the permits for this hunt have been sold. This is one of a series of hunts on district lands to control the damage caused by wild hogs, which are not native to Florida. The 300-pound omnivorous animals feed by rooting with their broad snouts, which can cause extensive damage to the natural habitats. In fact, herds can leave an area looking like a plowed field. For information, call the district's Land Management Section at 1-800-423-1476 or (352) 796-7211, ext. 4467.