Teen loses control of motorcycle, dies in crash

A teenager died in a crash Wednesday night after losing control of the motorbike he was driving, investigators said.

The Broward Sheriff’s office said Darious Payne, 17, of Fort Lauderdale, was riding a friend’s off-road motorbike around 6:15 p.m. Wednesday along Northwest 29th Terrace in unincorporated Broward near Fort Lauderdale.

When a car in front of him turned left at the intersection on Northwest Fifth Street, Payne lost control of the bike and fell against the driver’s side of the vehicle, investigators said.

Payne, who wasn’t wearing a helmet, was taken to Broward Health Medical Center. He died there a few hours later, according to the Broward Sheriff’s Office.

rpiccardo@tribpub.com, 954-356-4544 or Twitter: @rebecapiccardo

Small plane makes emergency landing in the Everglades

A small plane made an emergency landing on a levee in the Everglades, officials said.

The aircraft, with two people on board, made its descent near Sawgrass Recreation Park, east of U.S. 27 and north of Interstate 75, said Broward Sheriff Fire Rescue spokesman Mike Jachles.

No injuries were reported, he said.

The area is inaccessible by car, Jachles said. A Broward Sheriff Fire Rescue airboat unit was on its way to the plane and its passengers around 7: 25 p.m. Wednesday.

Voting goes smoothly, although there was some ballot confusion

Voting appeared to go smoothly Tuesday across South Florida, on a presidential primary day that was expected to either winnow the field or inject new life into sagging campaigns.

After morning fog dissipated, sunny skies greeted voters on their way to the polls. A few glitches — including a bomb threat that turned out to be a hoax — marred the voting, but overall the day appeared to be proceeding without major problems.

“So far I think it’s going very well,” Broward elections supervisor Brenda Snipes said.

But Snipes said one recurring issue, prevalent statewide, involves voters insisting they have a right to vote even though they’re registered under no party affiliation. In some cases, she said, the voter may have recently switched to a party but the paperwork did not show it. In other cases, voters might be confused because they usually only vote in general elections, not primaries. These voters were asked to use provisional ballots so the county canvassing board could later determine whether they would count.

Mayo: My choice at Trump rally - Leave or go to jail

Caption Mayo: My choice at Trump rally – Leave or go to jail

Sun Sentinel columnist Michael Mayo on his experience of being thrown out of Trump rally in Boca Raton for videotaping and tweeting from inside the Sunset Cove Amphitheater Sunday night. He captured the exchange on his cell phone, upside down.

Sun Sentinel columnist Michael Mayo on his experience of being thrown out of Trump rally in Boca Raton for videotaping and tweeting from inside the Sunset Cove Amphitheater Sunday night. He captured the exchange on his cell phone, upside down.

Best of the Miami Democratic Debate

Caption Best of the Miami Democratic Debate

Hillary Clinton and Bernie Sanders faced off in a lengthy battle Wednesday to win over the votes of Hispanic voters in their last debate before critical primaries in Florida and four other large states next week.

Hillary Clinton and Bernie Sanders faced off in a lengthy battle Wednesday to win over the votes of Hispanic voters in their last debate before critical primaries in Florida and four other large states next week.

Marco Rubio pumps up Hialeah supporters

Caption Marco Rubio pumps up Hialeah supporters

Florida Sen. Marco Rubio told his supporters Wednesday “It always comes down to Florida.” The Republican vowed to remain in the race and asked voters to help him gain a home state win.

Florida Sen. Marco Rubio told his supporters Wednesday “It always comes down to Florida.” The Republican vowed to remain in the race and asked voters to help him gain a home state win.

Ben Carson endorses Donald Trump

Caption Ben Carson endorses Donald Trump

Dr. Ben Carson endorses presidential hopeful Donald Trump.

Dr. Ben Carson endorses presidential hopeful Donald Trump.

It turned out voters who were not registered Republicans had turned out to vote in municipal races Tuesday along with the presidential primary and had hoped to vote for Trump.

“Some people were very angry, but the law is the law,” Palm Beach County Supervisor of Elections Susan Bucher said. “I have to uphold the law.”

Florida Secretary of State Ken Detzner issued a statement saying, “The Florida Department of State has spoken with the Palm Beach County Supervisor of Elections office and all eligible voters are able to vote. Anyone who is registered as No Party Affiliation (NPA) is not able to vote for a Republican or Democratic nominee in the Presidential Preference Primary (PPP).”

Secretary of State issues statement in response to confused Palm Beach County voters

The Trump campaign displayed its organizational prowess Tuesday by being the only candidate to send registered poll watchers to observe the voting in Broward and Miami-Dade counties. The Miami Herald reported that Trump fielded 46 poll watchers in Miami-Dade County and 60 in Broward, allowing his supporters to monitor the voting in each county.

A telephone bomb threat interrupted voting at Pompano Beach Middle School for about two hours. Students and poll workers were evacuated from the school, 310 NE Sixth St., and made to idle in a nearby park while deputies with dogs swept the building, according to the Broward Sheriff’s Office.

After the threat was declared a hoax about 10:30 a.m., students were readmitted to the school and the polls were reopened, said Sheriff’s Office spokeswoman Joy Oglesby.

Melvin Reid, 61, a Pompano Beach security guard, said he was one of the voters inside Pompano Beach Middle School preparing to cast his ballot when the order to evacuate was given.

“I went in and everything was fine and about 10 minutes later I heard the police cars coming and they shut off all the streets,” Reid said.

Although he was able to vote, the bomb threat cost Reid’s wife her chance, he said, because she had to go to work.

Staff writers Andy Reid, Wayne K. Roustan and Skyler Swisher contributed to this report.

One Broward County charter school plans to close, another may be forced to shut down

One Broward County charter school plans to close and another may be forced to shut down after numerous problems were identified in recent school district audits.

Florida Virtual Academy at Broward agreed on Monday to voluntarily close at the end of the school year, following an audit that revealed poor academic performance, allegations of ethical breaches and a poor working relationship with between the schools’ governing board and management company.

The South Florida Virtual Charter School Board also operates the Florida Virtual Academy at Palm Beach and has agreed to close that school as well, pending the results of an investigation by the inspector general for Palm Beach County schools. The charter schools are not affiliated with Florida Virtual School, the longtime state-run online education program.

A Lauderdale Lakes charter school, Pathways Academy, was recommended for termination after district auditors said school leaders falsified documents, inflated student enrollment and used state money for personal travel and expenses.

Home Depot. The school claimed they were all for school uses.

For example, torch was bought after the janitor complained of excessive bugs and mosquitoes in the area, a lawyer for the school said, although Reilly said the school operates in a leased office building and there’s no lawn or garden to maintain.

“It was one ridiculous response after another,” Reilly said.

The school sent a letter to the district last week saying that Principal Yudit Silva, the subject of most of the allegations, no longer worked for the school. Neither she nor the school’s lawyer could be reached.

The school has been plagued with high teacher turnover since it opened in 2013. All but one teacher during the 2014-15 school year left before the current school year and nine of 16 teachers employed this school year have already left, according to the audit.

A separate audit conducted of Florida Virtual Academy found numerous academic deficiencies at that school. Auditors said the school failed to provide evidence that students were receiving the required instructional time for reading, failed to provide a “clear and comprehensive grading system,” and failed to show it was following state law in regard to serving students with disabilities and limited English skills. The state is also penalizing the school by $200,000 because too many students failed their end-of-course exams.

The board has had a tumultuous relationship with its management company, K12 Inc, which ran the academics at school. The audit said if the board and K12 couldn’t work together, K12 should be replaced or the school should be closed. The board chose the latter option at a meeting Monday.

“It’s sad that this is the choice we reached,” said Philip Morgaman, president and CEO of the South Florida Virtual Charter Schools. “But at the end of the day, I think everybody thinks we can’t fix it with this contractor.

stravis@sunsentinel.com or 561-243-6637 or 954-425-1421

Suicidal crew member brought to safety after threatening to jump off cruise ship

A suicidal crew member of the Oasis of the Seas was talked out of jumping off the cruise ship Saturday, authorities said.

Port, U.S. Customs and Border Protection and Broward Sheriff’s personnel were called to Port Everglades to deal with the situation. A sheriff’s chaplain also intervened.

According to the sheriff’s office, the incident began at about 10 a.m. when a man in his late 30s threatened to jump from the ship’s railing while the vessel was docked at the port. At about 12:45 p.m., hostage negotiators were able to get close enough to the man to keep him from jumping.

He was taken to Broward Health Medical Center for evaluation, the sheriff’s office said.

Two seriously hurt in Interstate 595 crash in Davie

Two people were seriously injured in a three-vehicle collision on Interstate 595 in Davie Saturday morning, according to the Florida Highway Patrol.

The crash happened at about 5:30 a.m. on westbound I-595 near the Pine Island Road exit, said Sgt. Mark Wysocky.

It involved a sedan, an SUV and a tractor trailer. The drivers of the sedan and SUV were seriously hurt, he said.

A preliminary investigation shows the car appears to have lost control and struck the SUV, which flipped; the tractor trailer then hit the SUV, Wysocky said.

epesantes@tribpub.com or 954-356-4543 or Twitter @epesantes

‘Thank God they’re not dead,’ says Plantation resident who pulled man, daughter from van in canal

A morning commute for a Plantation man turned into a heroic rescue when he pulled a driver and young girl from a van that had plunged into a roadside canal.

The Plantation Fire Department is crediting Jephtah Thomas, 58, for jumping into the canal and rescuing the two after their car careened off Sunrise Boulevard near Northwest 46th Avenue about 7:15 a.m. Friday.

Thomas said he was heading to his job at the Lifetime Athletic Club in Boca Raton, where he repairs fitness equipment. He didn’t see the car drive off the road, but heard the splash — and it was enough to make him stop and look.

“You could hear the crack,” he said. “When I looked I saw the vehicle sinking. I had to stop. I called 911 right away.”

Drug bust turns dicey for cops in Sunrise; suspected gangster later nabbed in Hollywood

A suspected gang member is accused of trying to sell molly and marijuana to a confidential informant in Sunrise and then fleeing after nearly striking two detectives with his car.

Andres Hernandez, 26, of Hollywood, faces more than a dozen charges, including aggravated assault with a deadly weapon, fleeing and eluding law enforcement and multiple drug charges.

According to a Sunrise police report, Hernandez on Wednesday was set up to meet with the police informant during a drug bust attempt at the 7-Eleven at 9998 Sunset Strip.

Hernandez, a convicted felon, is known to carry a handgun and is suspected of being an active member of the Latin Kings gang, police said.

epesantes@tribpub.com or 954-356-4543 or Twitter @epesantes

Two men distract woman, 92, steal her wallet while she shops, deputies say

The Broward Sheriff’s Office is searching for two men who are accused of snatching an elderly woman’s wallet out of her purse while she was shopping at Publix — a crime that was caught on video.

Deputies said the two men were at the Publix in Cooper City, at 10018 Griffin Road, at around 2:30 p.m. on Feb. 28. The men used a distraction technique to grab the wallet out of the woman’s purse, which was in her shopping cart.

According to the Sheriff’s Office, the 92-year-old woman was looking at the pharmacy section when one of the men approached her and asked her a question. The second man came up to the cart, took the wallet and then walked away.

They got away with the woman’s driver’s license, credit cards and $40 in cash. The suspects used one of the woman’s cards to buy an Xbox One at a nearby Best Buy later that day, deputies said.

One of the men was wearing a black shirt with red shorts and the other wore a white shirt with black stripes and jeans. The second man also was wearing glasses.

The sheriff’s office released surveillance video on Wednesday of the two men targeting the woman in Publix, as well as footage showing the pair using the woman’s credit card at the Best Buy store.

Deputies are asking anyone with information to call Broward Sheriff’s detective Glen Gainey at 954-435-2200.

kjacobson@sunsentinel.com, 561-243-6547 or Twitter @katejacobson

Traffic resumes near cut gas line in downtown Fort Lauderdale

The smell of gas was a hint why traffic in Fort Lauderdale’s business district was blocked from traveling along East Las Olas Boulevard at the end of rush hour Tuesday morning.

“It’s related to the Icon construction,” said Fort Lauderdale Fire Rescue Capt. Gregory May about a gas line on Southeast Fifth Avenue, south of the boulevard, next to where the luxury condominiums are being built.. “A high-pressure, two-inch gas line was cut in the street.”

Traffic had to detour because firetrucks blocked the streets in surrounding blocks; the rigs remained in place until 11:30 a.m., when normal traffic flow could resume.

“The scene was turned over to Teco gas, and they are completing the repair,” May said.

 

LTrischitta@Tribune.com, 954-356-4233 or Twitter @LindaTrischitta