Issued by the Media Relations Office,
Public Information Officer Deputy Becky Herrin
Click here to read press releases on other Sheriff's Office events and occurrences
October 30, 2009
Marathon man arrested for exposing himself at the beach
Marathon - A Marathon man was arrested Thursday after exposing himself at Coco Plum Beach, then getting into a fight with a couple who witnessed his behavior.
A Marathon couple, two young girls and a single man witnessed 54 year old Jose Torna fondle himself through his shorts, then lift his shorts up and expose himself at about 4:30 p.m. When the couple confronted him, a fight started. The Sheriff's Office was notified of the incident and deputies responded. As they arrived in the area, they found Torna walking away from the beach.
When they took him into custody, he fought with them, pulling away as they tried to put handcuffs on him. He was arrested and charged with two counts of battery, indecent exposure, lewd and lascivious acts by an adult in the presence of a child under 12 and resisting arrest. He was booked into jail.
Highway Interdiction Operation in the Upper Keys
On Thursday, Detectives from the Sheriff’s Office Special Operations Division conducted a highway interdiction operation in the upper keys from mm 106 to mm 93. In addition to detectives from that Division, the operation included 2 members of the Florida Highway Patrol K-9 Unit, 3 Florida Highway Patrol Troopers, Traffic Deputies from the Sheriff’s Office and the Secret Service.
While conducting the interdiction detectives located Key Largo resident, 27 year old Dennis Earl Cooper who had an active warrant for battery. During Cooper’s arrest detectives located 2 baggies of powder cocaine in his front right pocket. He was further charged with possession of cocaine.
During the interdiction officers stopped 59 vehicles, issued 36 citations, 4 criminal citations and 40 warnings; 10 K-9 searches were performed. One arrest was made for possession of cocaine, and three notices to appear in court were issued that were drug related. One gram of cocaine and five grams of marijuana were seized during the interdiction.
October 29, 2009
Woman hits utility pole; not injured in accident
Big Coppitt Key – A Big Coppitt Key woman walked away from an accident which knocked a utility pole over and caused a power outage to some residents on Old Boca Chica Road Wednesday night.
42 year old Michelle Monique Sampson told Deputy Caridad Bellon she swerved to avoid a car parked in the road and instead hit the utility pole head on. Keys Energy Services responded to the scene and restored power to the area. Sampson refused medical treatment at the scene and was not cited in the accident.
October 28, 2009
Dead woman identified by fingerprints
Key Largo - Sheriff's detectives say they have identified a woman found dead and wrapped in plastic offshore of Key Largo Tuesday.
Fingerprints have identified the woman as a 48 year old woman from Palm Beach County. Her identification is being withheld pending notification of next of kin.
More information about dead woman wrapped in plastic
Key Largo - An autopsy has been done on the body of a woman found wrapped in plastic in the mangroves in Jewfish Creek Tuesday.
According to Medical Examiner E. Hunt Scheuerman, so far the autopsy has not revealed a cause or manner of death. Further testing will be done as the investigation continues.
The woman is described as white, five foot seven inches tall, 110 pounds with light brown collar length hair with blonde highlights. She has brown eyes, a single piercing in each ear, no scars, marks or tattoos. She had extensive dental work done with almost all of her teeth being replaced with dental implants. She also had breast implants.
A bulletin has been sent out to other police agencies with her description in the hopes she will turn up in missing persons files somewhere. She does not fit the description of anyone reported missing in Monroe County. In the meantime, detectives are running her fingerprints through various databases in an attempt to identify her.
Anyone with information about this case should contact the Sheriff's Office or contact Crime Stoppers of the Florida Keys. Tipsters may remain anonymous and may receive a reward if their information leads to an arrest. Tips can be submitted on line at www.tipsubmit.com or called in to the Crime Stoppers hot line at 1-800-346-TIPS.
Man charged with sexual battery
Islamorada - An Islamorada man is under arrest for sexual battery. He is accused of raping a woman as she slept at a residence on Lower Matecumbe Key early today.
34 year old Patrick Maki allegedly entered the 28 year old victim's bedroom and began having sexual relations with her as she slept. She woke up at about 1:20 a.m. and initially thought it was her boyfriend. When she realized it wasn't, she began screaming and pushed him off of her. As he fled out the front door, the victim said she saw her attacker illuminated by the front porch light. She recognized him as a local bartender later identified by detectives as Maki.
The victim said she was also missing cash, credit cards and her check book from her purse, which was beside the bed.
Maki was located and questioned about the incident. This afternoon, he was placed under arrest and charged with sexual battery. He was booked into jail.
October 27, 2009
Detectives investigate "suspicious" death
Key Largo - A body was recovered from the waters of Jewfish Creek today and Sheriff's Office homicide detectives say the death appears to be suspicious in nature.
Two fishermen called the Sheriff's Office to report finding the body washed up in some mangroves in Jewfish Creek. They said they went out fishing Monday and noticed something wrapped in plastic in the mangroves but didn't stop to check it out. When they went out fishing today, however, and saw it still in the same location they decided to get a little closer.
"When they got closer, they could see the distinct shape of what appeared to be a human body," said Homicide Detective Terry Smith. "They got close enough to determine it wasn't a Halloween prank. At that point, they could tell it was really a human body so they called the Sheriff's Office immediately," Smith said.
Florida Fish and Wildlife Officers and the United States Coast Guard responded along with the Sheriff's Office and the Medical Examiner, Dr. E. Hunt Shuerman. The Coast Guard took Detective Smith and Dr. Shuerman to the body's location. With the help of the Coast Guard, the body was recovered and was taken to the Medical Examiner's Office to be examined more closely.
At this point, although detectives can say the death appears to be suspicious in nature, they can say very little else. Until they are done removing it from the plastic and examining it, they do not know if it is a male or female; they don't know how long the person has been dead or what the nature of the death may have been. Investigations are continuing.
Key Largo man charged with knife threats, battery and auto burglary
Key Largo - Deputies arrested a Key Largo man after he forced his way into his ex-girlfriend's car, beat her and threatened her and her sister with a knife.
The incident took place Sunday night in the parking lot of a Key Largo grocery store. The victim said her ex-boyfriend, 18 year old Darius Kittle, was following her. She stopped in the parking lot and he allegedly forced his way into her car, pulling her out and throwing her to the ground. According to her sister, who also in the car, Kittle began hitting her. When the sister tried to intervene, she said Kittle pulled out a pocket knife, indicating he was going to stab her. She said at one point, Kittle also picked up a piece of wood as if to hit them with it.
The two victims waited until Monday to call the Sheriff's Office and report the incident. The ex-girlfriend had numerous injuries she said she suffered during the attack. Her sister was not injured.
Deputy Robert Dosh met with Kittle on Monday and placed him under arrest. Kittle was charged with two counts each of battery and assault and with burglary to a vehicle. He was booked into jail.
New York man arrested for fake credit cards and ID
Key Largo - A man who says he is from New York was arrested Monday afternoon after trying to buy a laptop using a fake drivers license and fake credit cards.
Employees of Office Depot in Key Largo took notice when two of the the man's credit cards had no imprint on the back and were declined. He'd entered the store shortly before 5 p.m., attempting to buy a Hewlett Packard Pavilion laptop which he told the clerk he was going to send to the Dominican Republic. Along with the credit cards, he also handed over a Pennsylvania driver's license with the name Raul Mulet on it. After the cards were declined, he snatched them and the license back from the clerk and left in a hurry. She said he first met with a man in a white van outside the store, then scurried across the street where she lost sight of him.
Armed with a detailed description of the suspect, Deputy Tony Conde began canvassing area businesses. The deputy was in a nearby Starbucks when the man walked in. He appeared extremely nervous as he spoke with deputies; he denied being in Office Depot and said he was visiting the Florida Keys with a friend. At that point, employees of Office Depot showed up and positively identified him as the man with the Pennsylvania ID and the fake credit cards.
A Puerto Rican identification card showed the man to be Luis Raul Acevedo. A search of the area turned up the Pennsylvania ID and the fake credit cards, discarded nearby. The credit cards - two Mastercards - were in the name of Raul Mulet.
The man was booked into the Monroe County jail under the name Acevedo. He was charged with fraud, theft, possession of counterfeited credit cards and tampering with evidence.
Later that evening, Deputy Conde was notified by the Detention Center that Acevedo's fingerprints had revealed that he wasn't really Acevedo. His fingerprints showed him to be 37 year old Isidro Aleman. Detention deputies found two outstanding warrants for his arrest under that name: one from Missouri for violation of probation ref. drug charges; the second from New Jersey for failure to appear in court for theft and unlawful use of a credit card.
October 26, 2009
Homeless man says he was robbed
Marathon - A homeless man told Sheriff's deputies he was beaten and robbed sometime before midnight Sunday night.
Deputy Nicholas Whiteman was waved down by the 55 year old victim who had a cut on his forehead and was holding his side, complaining of pain in his ribs. The victim said about an hour before he was jumped, beaten and robbed. At first, he said two men attacked him. Later, he said it was one man. The suspect took his wallet and identification after knocking him down and kicking him in the side.
The victim was treated at Fishermen's Hospital where it was determined he did have a broken rib. Detectives will be investigating.
Caretaker of vacant home reports appliances missing
Key Largo - All the appliances were taken from a vacant home on Oldsmar Lane in Key Largo.
According to the caretaker, who is a friend of the owner, he last checked the home about a month ago. When he checked it Sunday morning, he found sometime during the month, someone had removed the refrigerator, stove, dishwasher and microwave. It appears the suspects entered by prying open a rear sliding glass door on the second level.
Neighbors were questioned, but did not notice any suspicious activity.
Man charged with gun threats
Tavernier - A Tavernier man was arrested Sunday afternoon after threatening his girlfriend with a gun during an argument at their home on Florida Avenue.
The victim told Deputy William Davis she argued with 25 year old Tavares Rosell about a phone number she found on his cell phone. She said she took her 17 month old child outside after the argument, but he came after her and dragged her back inside by the hair. She said they continued to argue and he pointed a gun at her head, threatening to kill her. He then ejected a bullet from the gun and told her to "keep it to remember this."
She said she went to the kitchen and was preparing baby bottles when Rosell continued the fight, throwing her onto the floor. Several hours after the argument began she was able to escape the residence with her child and go to a neighbor's house, where she called 911 for help.
When deputies arrived, they looked for the suspect, but he wasn't home; the home was in disarray, with a large television knocked over, broken plates and broken glass all over the floor. The gun was found in the living room with a loaded magazine nearby. The suspect's seven year old son was alone in the house. Rosell returned home while the deputies were still there. He said he was out driving around, looking for the victim. Rosell was charged with aggravated assault with a deadly weapon, intimidating a witness, battery
October 23, 2009
Search warrant in Key Largo results in drug arrest
Key Largo - The Sheriff's Special Investigations Division served a search warrant this morning, arresting one person after finding Ecstasy, Cocaine, Marijuana and drug paraphernalia.
The warrant was served at 7:20 a.m. at 525 Michelle Drive in Key Largo. The search turned up four plastic bags containing large pieces of crack cocaine, 7 gram baggies of cocaine that were pre packaged for sale, 59 Ecstasy pills and 14 grams of marijuana. The resident, 34 year old Henry Dewayne Clark (AKA Renegade), was placed under arrest. Clark was charged with trafficking in MDMA (Ecstasy), possession of cocaine with intent to distribute, possession of marijuana, and possession of drug paraphernalia.
Assisting with service of the search warrant was a Metro Dade K-9 team, Sheriff's detectives, and District 7 Road Patrol.
October 22, 2009
Marathon boy charged with needle attacks
Marathon - An 11 year old Marathon boy has been charged with stabbing two 9 year olds with a hypodermic needle and threatening a third one.
The suspect and victims were reportedly standing in a cafeteria line Thursday. The suspect, who cannot be identified because he is a juvenile, allegedly had a hypodermic needle which he used to stab the two victims in the buttocks. He then chased a third boy, who ran away and hid. The two victims told a teacher, who found the needle hidden in the suspect's book. She took the boys and the needle to the Principal's Office.
After an investigation into the incident by the Sheriff's Office, the boy was charged Wednesday afternoon with two counts of battery and one count of assault. He was booked at the Marathon Detention Center and turned over to the Department of Juvenile Justice.
Woman charged with impaired driving with child in the car
Marathon - A Key Largo woman driving recklessly as she swallowed Methadone pills with a two year old in the car was arrested Wednesday.
30 year old Tabitha Williams told detectives who stopped her she is a recovering drug addict and was taking the Methadone because she was feeling bad. She was reportedly visibly impaired, and did not have a driver's license. A two year old child was in the back seat of the car.
Dispatchers first received a call from Williams mother who said her daughter was chasing her in her car and had tried to ram her. She said she'd received a call earlier from her daughter asking if she had a bottle of her prescription medication. The mother agreed to meet with her and hand the medication over. They met at a Chevron Station in Marathon.
According to the mother, and another witness, Williams was angry when she showed up and was yelling and swearing at them. They handed over the medication to her and began to drove away northbound. Williams pursued them aggressively, almost rear-ending them. That is when the mother called to report her daughter's behavior to the Sheriff's Office. She said she was concerned for the child she knew was in the car. A notice to be on the lookout for Williams was issued. Her gray Ford Focus was spotted by detectives who were southbound at the 58 mile marker.
Williams almost hit the detectives head on as she passed them. They turned around and attempted to catch up with her. After she almost caused several more accidents, they were able to pull her over at the 59 mile marker. As they pulled her over, they saw her put a pill in her mouth from a bottle between her legs.
After Williams was arrested, the car she was driving was turned over to her mother who was the registered owner; the Department of Juvenile Justice was contacted about the two year old in her car, who was unharmed. Williams was booked on charges of driving under the influence, driving without a license and cruelty toward a child.
October 21, 2009
St. Augustine man dies while diving Tuesday
Key Largo - A St. Augustine man died while diving offshore of Key Largo Tuesday afternoon.
Deputies and detectives responded to the Port Largo subdivision to a report of a dead diver. Shortly after officers arrived, paramedics pronounced 67 year old Larry Reeves of Maryville, Tennessee dead. According to witness reports, he drifted away from the boat he was diving from, the commercial dive vessel Amoray Diver. He was found floating face down and pulled from the water by another dive vessel. Army Rangers on board that vessel recovered him from the water and performed CPR for an extended period of time. Despite the life saving efforts, they were unable to revive him.
Special Investigations detective Terry Smith has been assigned to investigate the case. An autopsy will be performed to determine the cause of his death.
October 19, 2009
Boy stabs two others with needle
Marathon - An 11 year old boy stabbed two other boys with what appears to be a used hypodermic needle Thursday at Stanley Switlik Elementary School.
School Resource Sgt. Glenn Test was called to the school Friday morning to investigate the incident. According to the victims and witnesses, the boys were in the cafeteria standing in line. The 11 year old allegedly stabbed two other boys in the buttocks with the needle. He then tried to stab a third boy, who ran away.
The victims reported it to a teacher who confronted the 11 year old. He denied having a needle, but one of the victims showed her where the needle was - hidden in one of the suspect's books.
The teacher took the needle and all of those involved to the office and informed Principal Barbara Wright. She, in turn, notified all the parents of the kids involved.
The case has been assigned to Sheriff's Detective Harry Boyden and charges are expected to be filed against the suspect. It is unclear where the suspect got the needle.
Miami man caught stealing commercial ice machines
Plantation Key - A Miami man was arrested Saturday after witnesses saw him taking a commercial ice machine from Treasure Harbor Marina.
A witness saw a man with a white box truck loading up an ice machine belonging to Reddyice Company. There was no identification on the outside of the truck except a DOT number, which he wrote down. He then called the owner of the marina to tell her about the suspicious activity. She called the Sheriff's Office.
Greenwood, and Deputies Robert Dosh and Ryan Cowart. There were three men inside. The driver, who was wearing a Reddyice shirt claimed he worked for them and was asked to pick up ice machines in the Keys.
The company said the driver had been dismissed from the company for suspected theft. There were three machines in the truck taken from Treasure Harbor Marina, The Shellman at the 92 mile marker and the Key Largo Glass Bottom Boat in Key Largo.
The driver, 35 year old Ernesto Lorenzo, and one of the other men, 26 year old Alberto Auduray, were arrested and charged with three counts of theft. They were both booked into jail.
October 15, 2009
Man dies while diving in Boca Chica Channel
Boca Chica Channel – A Key West man died while diving in Boca Chica Channel today.
44 year old Edward Brown of Key West was diving with his friend, 42 year old Francis Wright of Sugarloaf Key. According to Wright, they had anchored their boat north of the Boca Chica Bridge and were diving when they became tired and were swept underneath the bridge by the current. Both men clung to pilings under the bridge until they were able to attract the attention of a passing boater who called 911 for help at about 11 a.m.
Wright said he was holding on to one piling and his friend was a couple of pilings away; he said Brown was an inexperienced diver and was panicking as he became fatigued. According to Wright, they both dropped their dive backpacks and other gear; he said neither of them was equipped with personal flotation devices. Wright yelled at Brown to drop his weight belt, but Wright reportedly didn’t follow his advice.
By the time rescuers arrived, Brown had lost his grip on the piling. He was found on the bottom of the channel and, despite efforts to revive him, he was pronounced dead at Lower Keys Hospital.
Wright was saved from the piling he was still clinging to when rescuers arrived.
Assisting in rescue efforts was the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission, U.S. Coast Guard, Key West Fire and Ambulance personnel and the Sheriff’s Office.
October 14, 2009
Big Coppitt man arrested for battering girlfriend, fighting with deputies
Big Coppitt Key - Deputies responding to a domestic battery call Tuesday got a second call about a reckless driver who turned out to be the same suspect.
When Deputy Peter Garcia arrived in the area of El Monte Lane at 6:45 p.m., he was flagged down by a neighbor who told him the suspect - 21 year old Zachary Maiden - was speeding around the neighborhood in a grey Ford Crown Victoria. A second witness saw Maiden run over a stop sign at the corner of Puerta Drive and Barcelona Drive.
Deputy Garcia spotted the vehicle and tried to stop it but Maiden refused to stop. He finally stopped in front of his residence at 10 El Monte Lane. Once stopped, he refused to get out of the car; he finally got out after repeated orders to do so . When Deputy Garcia tried to handcuff him, he struggled, hitting and kicking the deputy. The struggle continued until back-up officers arrived and assisted with subduing him.
Further investigation revealed prior to getting into his car, Maiden began screaming at his girlfriend, who was holding her one year old son at the time. She told deputy Garcia Maiden threw things at she and her son, then grabbed her by the throat. She was able to get away from him and hide at a next door neighbor's house until deputies arrived.
Maiden was charged with hit and run, fleeing and eluding police, battery on a law enforcement officer, two counts of domestic battery and resisting arrest. He was booked into jail.
Altercation at bus stop leads to arrest
Marathon - A Miami man went to jail Tuesday afternoon after fighting with another man at a bus stop in Marathon and throwing rocks at the bus, breaking a window.
Four deputies responded to the bus stop on 55th Street at 3 p.m. They found the suspect 49 year old Hector Acay-Salazar, the 50 year old victim from Marathon and numerous witnesses. Witnesses said Acay-Salazar hit the victim in the face and began punching the windows of the JGT bus, which was stopped there. When the suspect tried to get on the bus, the driver tried to stop him; the suspect then grabbed the driver by a chain around his neck and pulled him off the bus. The suspect then began throwing rocks at the bus, breaking one of the windows.
The victim was taken to the hospital with an injury to his forehead where the suspect hit him. The suspect was taken to jail, charged with aggravated battery, throwing a missile into an occupied vehicle and criminal mischief. Once at the jail, he had to be subdued using pepper spray because he struggled with Corrections Officers who were trying to process him.
Deputies respond to fight between dancers; bartender injured
Islamorada - A bartender at Woody's Sports bar was injured as she tried to intervene in a fight between two dancers at the bar Tuesday night.
According to witnesses and the injured victim, one dancer was with a customer at about 11:30 p.m. when another one - 26 year old Yira Acevedo of Homestead - walked up and said something rude to the customer. The two got into a fight and Acevedo allegedly punched, hit and kicked the other dancer. A bouncer and the female bartender then tried to stop the fight. At some point, Acevedo took off her high heeled boot and threw it at the other dancer, hitting the bartender in the head instead.
The bartender / victim was treated for her injuries by paramedics; Acevedo was arrested and charged with aggravated battery and she was booked into jail.
October 13, 2009
Bars, conveniece stores checked for underaged sale of alcohol
Monroe County - The Sheriff's Special Investigations Division and the State division of Alcoholic Beverages and Tobacco (ABT) conducted checks of businesses that sell alcohol from Key Largo to Islamorada on Saturday.Out of 21 businesses checked, seven served alcohol to minors.
Of the seven violations, six people were issued notices to appear in court; one was arrested because she admitted to being in the country illegally and gave a false address. Those caught selling alcohol to minors were:
The violations issued to sales clerks can include a penalty of up to 60 days in jail, a $500 fine, $235 in court cost, $75 in cost of prosecution, and $40 in cost of investigation.
The Licensee Violations are:
1st offense $1000 fine and 7 day suspension
2nd offense $3000 fine and 30 day suspension
3rd offense Revocation of license.
The remaining 14 businesses checked, were in compliance with the law. This operation was conducted in cooperation with the Monroe County Coalition for a Safe and Drug Free Community.
October 8, 2009
Hialeah man charged with stealing boat
Stock Island - A Key West man said a man from Hialeah stole his boat after the boat and the suspect were found adrift by the Coast Guard.
According to reports by Deputy David Fernandez, the U.S. Coast Guard Cutter Tampa reported finding the fishing vessel Tuesday after it ran out of gas about 40 miles from Cuba. The suspect, 36 year old Miguel Guitierrez told the deputy he was planning to return to Cuba permanently when he ran out of gas.
The victim said the boat, which he uses to fish for blue crab, was docked on Stock Island. He said Guitierrez has worked for him for a couple of weeks but did not have permission to take the boat.
Guitierrez was charged with grand theft and he was booked into jail.
October 7, 2009
Key West man charged with stealing boat motor parts
Tavernier - An alert witness called the Sheriff's Office when he saw suspicious activity near a boat storage lot in Tavernier this morning. A Key West man was arrested as a result of that call and the theft of two boat motor cowlings was prevented.
Deputies were dispatched to Unique Marine at the 93.5 mile marker just before 1 a.m. The caller, who lives in the area, reported seeing a white van park near the lot and a man jump over the fence onto the property. When Deputy Edgar Piniero arrived, he saw 27 year old Osvaldo Hidalgo inside the storage lot; he saw Hidalgo carry a cowling - the cover from a boat motor - over to the fence. He climbed over and carried the cowling back to the van. At that point the deputy announced himself and ordered Hidalgo to the ground. Hidalgo was taken into custody.
As he was dealing with Hidalgo, the deputy saw a second man inside the storage lot. That man ran away, fleeing toward the Hammer Point Subdivision on the other side of the lot. Other officers arrived, including assistance from the Florida Highway Patrol. The officers formed a perimeter, searching for the second suspect, but he was not located.
Further investigation revealed the cowlings from two boat motors had been removed. Each one is valued at approximately $1,000.00. The 37 foot vessel they'd been taken from belongs to a man from Boca Raton, Florida. One cowling was sitting by the boat and the other with Hidalgo. Inside the van, deputies found bolt cutters, prying tools and other types of tools that could be used to facilitate burglary. Hidalgo was charged with burglary, possession of burglary tools and theft. He was booked into jail.
October 5, 2009
Miami man charged with burglary, theft
Islamorada - A Miami man was arrested for burglarizing an Islamorada business early today.
Deputy Todd Wyatt was on patrol just after midnight this morning in Islamorada when he saw a car parked on the northbound shoulder; it appeared someone was trying to change a flat tire. As the deputy was turning around to assist, a call came in to Sheriff's Office dispatchers about suspicious activity in that area. The caller reported seeing several people on the property of a closed business in the area.
As Deputy Wyatt drove up, he saw two people walk out from property belonging to the business Tiki and Co. and walk toward the car parked on the shoulder. He saw a screwdriver on top of the car and a blue blanket in the back of the car with items obviously hidden underneath.
Deputies Bernie Sajdak and Kenneth Brand arrived as back up. The deputies began questioning the three people about their activities. One of them - 19 year old Roberto Jerez - admitted to taking a hand carved pelican from the business; it was found under the blanket in the back of the car. He also admitted to taking a carved tiki pole from the business, but said he hadn't put it in the car yet because he'd seen the deputy coming.
Both items had been on the business property, secured with a chain that was strung through an eye-bolt in the rear. Jerez said he used the screwdriver on top of the car to remove the bolt and the chain.
The other two people with Jerez denied knowing anything about the theft. They were released. Jerez was charged with burglary, possession of burglary tools and theft and he was booked into jail.
October 2, 2009
Fire at Circle K, 52 mile marker - one person badly injured
A gas spill and a motorcycle which fell over into it appear to be the possible cause of a fire at the Circle K gas station at the 52 mile marker of the highway in Marathon today. The Florida Highway Patrol will be investigating the case as a vehicle accident.
One person - reportedly the operator of the motorcycle - is being flown to the Ryder Trauma Center in Miami by the County's Trauma Star helicopter. According to preliminary reports from the scene, a group of motorcyclists pulled off the highway to wait for others who'd gotten separated from them. While waiting one man decided to top off his bike with gas. At some point, the bike reportedly tipped over into a small puddle of gasoline and the gasoline ignited. Sheriff's dispatchers were notified of the fire at 3:40 p.m.
The roadway in front of the convenience store and gas station was closed while Marathon Firefighters extinguished the blaze and while Paramedics treated and transported the victim. The road was opened to traffic at 4:15 p.m. Contact FHP for more details.