Three people hit by train since its debut last week

Published: Saturday, January 20, 2018 @ 6:39 PM

A group of boys trespass along railroad tracks next to a Brightline train station, Thursday, Jan. 11, 2018, in West Palm Beach, Fla. The Brightline train will begin introductory service on Saturday, with round-trip fares starting at $20 between its Fort Lauderdale and West Palm Beach stations. (AP Photo/Wilfredo Lee)
Wilfredo Lee/AP
A group of boys trespass along railroad tracks next to a Brightline train station, Thursday, Jan. 11, 2018, in West Palm Beach, Fla. The Brightline train will begin introductory service on Saturday, with round-trip fares starting at $20 between its Fort Lauderdale and West Palm Beach stations. (AP Photo/Wilfredo Lee)(Wilfredo Lee/AP)

For the third time in the week since the Brightline train started its service from West Palm Beach to Fort Lauderdale, a person has been hit by the passenger train, according to Fort Lauderdale police.

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Detective Tracy Figone, public information officer for the police department, said a pedestrian attempted to cross the train tracks at Northeast Third Avenue and North Flagler Drive when the gates were down. The person’s injuries are not life-threatening, according to Figone.

Four people have been hit and killed by Brightline trains since it started testing service. 

Friday night, a Brightline spokesperson reiterated the message from a press conference earlier that day: Safety.

“Today, we joined with partners in South Florida to stress our top priority - safety. Incidents like these can be avoided and train warnings need to be treated exactly like red lights, stop signs and crosswalks,” the spokesperson said.

On Friday, Brightline officials announced newly planned safety and public education initiatives in the wake of two fatal accidents in the last week.

On Wednesday, 51-year-old Jeffrey King was hit and killed by a northbound Brightline train when he pedaled his bicycle around the gates near the Florida East Coast Railway crossing about 4:30 p.m. on Ocean Avenue. Last Friday, 32-year-old Melissa Lavell was hit and killed near the intersection of Northeast Sixth Avenue in Boynton Beach. Witnesses told police she attempted to beat the train when the gates were down.

An 18-year-old who jumped in front of the train while it was making  a test run in July was ruled a suicide, officials said. The November death of a woman on the tracks was ruled an accident.

During the press conference, Brightline’s President and Chief Operating Officer Patrick Goddard said they plan to implement electronic signs as well as put employees at busy intersections as extra warnings of passing trains.

“We offer our deepest sympathy to those affected by the recent incidents,” Goddard said at a news conference to announce the new safety measures. “The fact that these incidents are completely avoidable is what makes them so tragic.”

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

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Subtropical Storm Alberto strengthens bringing gusty winds, heavy rains, storm surge to Gulf region

Published: Sunday, May 27, 2018 @ 10:31 AM
Updated: Sunday, May 27, 2018 @ 11:33 PM

What are Tropical Storms?

Tropical storm warnings are up across Florida and along parts of the Gulf Coast as Subtropical Storm Alberto lumbers across the Gulf of Mexico ruining Memorial Day holiday plans for thousands of vacationers.

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Update May 27, 2018 11:30 p.m. EDT: Subtropical Storm Alberto is about 95 miles from Apalachicola, Florida and continues to move north at 9 mph. 

The Tropical Storm Warning from the Anclote to the Suwanee River has ended, according  to the National Hurricane Center

Update May 27, 2018 5:05 p.m. EDT: Subtropical Storm Alberto continues to move north, north west with no change in strength. 

The Tropical Storm Warning along the west coast of Florida south of the Anclote River has ended, according to the National Hurricane Center

The Storm Surge Warning for the northern Gulf Coast of west of Navarre, Florida has ended. 

Update May 27, 2018 11 a.m. EDT: Subtropical Storm Alberto is strengthening with wind speeds clocked at 50 mph, according to the National Hurricane Center, or NHC. The storm is moving north at 14 mph and it’s located about 130 miles southwest of Tampa.

Isolated tornadoes are possible as Alberto closes in on the region. Forecasters are predicting Alberto will make landfall sometime late Sunday or Monday, bringing gusty winds, heavy rain, flash flooding and storm surge to parts of the Gulf Coast.

>> Related: Alberto: PBC saw up to 3 inches of rain last night; expect more Sunday

“Alberto is expected to produce heavy rainfall with a risk of flooding and flash flooding over western Cuba, the Florida Keys and south Florida today. The risk for heavy rainfall and flooding will then spread over much of the southeast U.S. tonight and Monday,” according to the NHC.

The NHC is warning of “dangerous surf and rip current conditions” along parts of the eastern and northern Gulf Coast through Monday.

 

>> Related: Alberto starts to bring rain to Central Florida as storm moves north

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A tropical storm warning has been issued for parts of the Florida Gulf Coast including from Bonita Beach to the Anclote River as well as north near the Aucilla River to the Mississippi/Alabama border, according to the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration

A tropical storm warning means tropical storm conditions are expected somewhere within the warning area.

Heavy rainfall is expected as the storm, with sustained winds of 40 mph, continues to move at 13 mph through the Dry Tortugas. 

Five day forecast map. (Photo: National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration)

A storm surge watch has also been issued for parts of Florida and the Mississippi/Alabama border, officials said

The latest forecast ends the tropical storm and storm surge watch for parts of Louisiana. 

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Man, 79, pleads no contest to raping girl, 5, sentenced to 90 days house arrest

Published: Sunday, May 27, 2018 @ 11:24 PM

File photo. (Photo: Pixabay)
File photo. (Photo: Pixabay)

A California businessman pleaded no contest to statutory rape of a 5-year-old girl Wednesday, and, as part of a negotiated deal with the San Joaquin County Superior Court, was sentenced to 90 days house arrest and will not have to register as a sex offender.

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Lyle Burgess, 79, of Stockton, sexually assaulted the girl, who is now 7, after her family was invited to his Calaveras County cabin in 2016, the family’s attorney told KTXL.

“They trusted this man, he was a family friend, and he took advantage of them,” family attorney Ken Meleyco told KTXL

Burgess, who founded an automotive parts manufacturing and distributing company, maintains his innocence, his attorney told the Stockton Record.

“I believe the allegations are motivated by greed. They are using this instance to try to gain financially,” Burgess’ attorney Gregory Davenport told the Stockton Record.

The parents have filed a civil suit against Burgess seeking unspecified damages, according to the Stockton Record.
"The girl is not doing good," Meleyco told KTXL. "She's showing all the symptoms of somebody who's been molested. She's in counseling, and she's gonna be in counseling all her life."

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Former President George H.W. Bush back in the hospital in Maine with low blood pressure

Published: Sunday, May 27, 2018 @ 2:28 PM

Biography of George H.W. Bush

Former President George H.W. Bush is back in the hospital, according to a family spokesman.

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Bush was taken to Southern Maine Health Care Sunday “after experiencing low blood pressure and fatigue,” his spokesman Jim McGrath said on Twitter.

The former president is described as “awake and alert” and will probably remain hospitalized for a few days for observation, McGrath said.


Bush was most recently hospitalized in Houston on April 22, one day after the funeral and burial of his wife of 73 years, Barbara Bush.

During that hospital stay, he was diagnosed with an infection that had spread to his blood, doctors said at the time, but he recovered and eventually went home.

>> Related: George H.W. Bush remains hospitalized; doctors 'very pleased' with progress, spokesman says

At the time he said he was looking forward to visiting the family’s compound in Kennebunkport, Maine.

Bush was out and about Saturday, marking the Memorial Day holiday, joining a group of veterans at American Legion Post 159 for a pancake breakfast in Kennebunkport.

“Delighted to join the veterans, including my dear friend Gen. Brent Scowcroft,” Bush tweeted.

>> Related: George H.W. Bush: 9 things to know about the 41st president of the United States

Scowcroft was National Security Adviser during the presidencies of both Bush and Gerald Ford.

“This weekend we remember, and thank, all who have given their lives for our great country,” he said Saturday.

George Bush has a form of Parkinson's disease and uses a motorized scooter or wheelchair to get around. 

He was the youngest naval aviator when he enlisted in the U.S. Naval Reserve in 1943, spurred by the attack on Pearl Harbor.

He flew 58 combat missions during World War II and was awarded the Distinguished Flying Cross for his bravery.

>> Related: PHOTOS: George H. W. Bush through the years

He had six children with Barbara Bush, and in 1989, he became the first sitting vice president to secure the presidency since 1837.

Former United States President George H. W. Bush prepares to throw out the ceremonial first pitch before game five of the 2017 World Series between the Houston Astros and the Los Angeles Dodgers at Minute Maid Park on October 29, 2017 in Houston, Texas.(Pool/Getty Images)

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Reports: 1,500 immigrant children missing, feds say they’re not responsible

Published: Sunday, May 27, 2018 @ 1:20 PM

Feds Say 1,500 Immigrant Children Missing, They’re Not Responsible

The federal government has admitted that it does not know the whereabouts of almost 1,500 immigrant children in its custody, according to news reports.

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The Office of Refugee Resettlement took in some 40,000 immigrant children in 2017 and when the agency reached out to check on more than 7,000 of them between October and December of 2017, 1,475 were unaccounted for at the end of the year, CNN reported.

The news came as the Trump administration cracks down on undocumented immigrants, threatening to separate more children from their families if the families are caught entering the United States illegally, in a new policy move.

In testimony before Congress earlier this month, Department of Homeland Security Secretary Kirstjen Neilsen said the children of illegal immigrants are transferred to the Department of Health and Human Services within 48 hours after they are taken into custody, and DHHS officials then find sponsored homes for them, USA Today reported.

Nielsen said separations like this happen in the U.S. every day.

Top DHHS official Steven Wagner testified before a Congressional subcommittee last month during a hearing on the Office of Refugee Resettlement that the ORR was “was unable to determine with certainty the whereabouts of 1,475 children,” and that 28 more had run away, CNN reported.

“I understand that it has been HHS’ long-standing interpretation of the law that ORR is not legally responsible for the children after they are released from ORR care,” Wagner said. 

>> Related: Woman arrested for stealing a salad now facing deportation

Wagner also said DHHS is “taking a fresh look at that question,” according to CNN, but he also said ORR would need a lot more money if the office is expected to be legally responsible for unaccompanied immigrant children.

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