Cyclist dies after car turns into its path
A 63-year-old motorcyclist from Valrico died Saturday night after colliding with a car on State Road 60, state troopers said. His identity was withheld pending notification of his family. About 6:45 p.m., he was riding west when a Toyota driven by Shonda R. Bailey-Christian, 39, of Brandon turned in front of him toward N Miller Road, according to the Florida Highway Patrol. After the collision, both drivers were taken to Brandon Regional Hospital, where the motorcyclist died. Bailey-Christian sustained minor injuries. The accident is under investigation.
Police chief placed on leave
Sarasota police Chief Peter Abbott has been put on administrative leave, accused of mishandling a criminal investigation in which an officer was video-recorded kicking a handcuffed man. City Manager Bob Bartolotta says Abbott will remain on paid leave pending the outcome of an administrative investigation. The move, which happened Saturday, came the same day the Sarasota Herald-Tribune reported that the lead detective in the criminal case was told to take "cash for an instant settlement" to his first interview with Juan Perez, who was kicked by officers. An e-mail released Friday revealed that police considered sending a detective with a settlement offer even before the criminal investigation began. Last week, Abbott apologized to the community for trying to settle the case before it had been fully investigated.
Port Orange calls state of emergency
The City Council has voted to declare a state of emergency in the wake of a tornado that damaged 163 homes. Friday's tornado caused one minor injury, heavily damaged eight homes and moderately damaged 26 others. The lashing that touched down at 6:25 p.m. Friday started because of a "sea-breeze merger," when winds coming off both coasts collided and started rotating. The same effect produced a waterspout that became a tornado in Ormond Beach at 5:37 p.m., devouring a catamaran on the beach before churning back into the ocean and becoming a waterspout again.
Red-light cameras garner $550,000
New cameras that take photos of motorists running red lights at intersections have generated more than a half-million dollars for Lakeland and the company offering the system. The cameras were installed June 1. So far, the city has mailed 4,400 violations to motorists who have run the red lights. The fines for violations are $125 for the first two offenses and $250 for further ones. People ticketed are not assessed points on their driving record. Mailed citations include two still photos and a close-up of the car's license plate. People can view a 12-second video online of the infraction.
Staff and wire reports