By Elliott Jones
PALM CITY — Southwest 84th Avenue reopened Tuesday morning following an early morning brush fire that briefly interrupted power to more than 1,000 Florida Power and Light Co. customers near Martin Highway and Southwest 84th Avenue, according to Martin County Fire Rescue.
An 83-year-old Palm City woman who was reported missing Wednesday has been located unharmed, the Martin County Sheriff’s Office reported tonight.
Agnes Rizek was found at about 5:30 p.m. Thursday by Palm Beach County Sheriff’s deputies and has been reunited with her family. She was reported missing after she failed to show up Wednesday afternoon for a doctor’s appointment.
The Martin County Sheriff’s Office is asking the public for helping in locating an 83-year-old woman who hasn’t returned to her home in Palm City.
Agnes Rizek recently moved to Martin County from Arizona and family members said she can be easily confused. She was last seen 1:30 p.m. Wednesday when she left for a medical appointment to which she didn’t arrive.
I-95 just before it was shut down (photo by Randall Lanier)
By KIMBERLY MILLER and CYNTHIA ROLDAN
Palm Beach Post Staff Writers
Authorities are reporting that Interstate 95 is back to near-normal this morning, following more than six hours of northbound and southbound lanes being closed because of a brush fire west of Palm City.
The fire, which was first reported around 3 p.m. on Monday afternoon, delayed thousands of Memorial Day travelers when Florida Highway Patrol was forced to shut down I-95.
This morning, however, troopers report that I-95 is open for traffic, despite a small brush fire reported on the right shoulder near mile marker 109. The National Weather Service has also warned to be on the look out for smoldering fires that may cause visibility issues during through mid morning.
Fire crews remain on scene to prevent any fires from reigniting or smoldering ones from spreading. Monday’s traffic snarl made its way onto Florida’s Turnpike as drivers forced off the highway by billowing black smoke sought alternative routes, which in turn became jammed. By 6 p.m. tolls were being waived at both the Fort Pierce and Stuart exits in an effort to ease the backups.
Encouraged by east winds gusting as high as 25 miles per hour, the fire had at one point split into four groups of flames, drawing more than a dozen firefighting crews from Martin and St. Lucie counties, the City of Stuart and the Division of Forestry.
Between 140 acres to 180 acres were affected as of 8 p.m., but no homes were in the fire’s path, said Doug Killane, spokesman for Martin County Fire Rescue. Killane said about 85 percent of the brush fire was contained as of 10 p.m. Crews would continue working throughout the night to put out hot spots.
“We can’t give you any kind of containment estimate because of the wind conditions,” Killane said at about 6 p.m., three hours after the highway was shut down. “The winds are maintaining 15 miles per hour to 20 miles per hour. It’s not helping.”
PALM CITY — Detectives are investigating the shooting death of a 13-year-old boy who authorities suspect shot himself Friday afternoon while showing a gun to a friend, a Martin County Sheriff’s Office news release states.
About 4:42 p.m. Friday, deputies responded to a home on 31st Street in Palm City regarding the report of an accidental shooting.
There, Martin County Fire Rescue found Patrick Appleton, 13, dead from a gunshot wound to the neck, the release states.
PALM CITY — Two unemployed men parked in a Ford Thunderbird late Tuesday night were looking for prey to rob at gunpoint, according to sheriff’s reports.
They pulled out along South Murphy Road when a lone state corrections officer passed by on his motorcycle, heading home from Port St. Lucie at 11:21 p.m. Tuesday.
At first, the uniformed officer thought he just heard 10 pops that sounded like a vehicle backfiring, but soon realized the pops were gunfire and the sparks and dirt kicking up around him were from bullets.
He sped up and eluded the car — and injury — and called 911, leading to a high-speed law enforcement chase that ended with the men crashing into a ditch east of High Meadows Avenue and fleeing into a woods.
Deputies caught Pedro Tingling, 21, of West Palm Beach, and Samuel Stephens, 23, of Lantana, after a motorist reported seeing them at 1:46 a.m. Wednesday run across Interstate 95.
During interviews, investigators quoted Tingling as saying, “officer you know the only reason ya’ll caught me was because I saw the dog van, cause (otherwise) I would have run all the way back to Palm Beach.”
Stephens is accused of pulling the trigger on a 9 mm handgun found in the trunk of the red Thunderbird that Tingling acknowledged they were in. Deputies also found a .38-caliber pistol.
Initially Tingling told investigators he spend way from a sheriff’s deputy because he was scared. (more…)
A 19-year-old woman was gathering her things after a break up with her boyfriend when she noticed something missing — a 15 foot “expert dancing pole” valued at $400.
The woman told a Martin County Sheriff’s deputy March 12 she was living with her “now ex-boyfriend” on Southwest 34th Street in Palm City, a recently released sheriff’s report states. She said they broke up that day and she moved out.
But Mark Erdman was not one to slow down, so he didn’t.
The 49-year-old Palm City resident kept working, kept hitting the gym every morning at 5.
Without health insurance, he delayed going to the dentist for as long as he could. Over-the-counter acetaminophen and ibuprofen helped him endure the pain.
Erdman had done well during the boom years as a self-employed gutter and insulation contractor, but his business did not survive the construction bust. Private health insurance was unaffordable for his family of four, even after he landed a new sales job.
“We were making six figures and had money in the bank, insurance and everything — and we just lost it all. Lost it all,” said his wife, Renee Erdman.
PALM CITY — About $21,000 in cell phones were taken overnight from the USA Wireless store in the 1300 block of Southwest Martin Highway, according to a sheriff’s report.
Apparently someone tunneled in through walls on Feb. 25 from an adjoining empty office space and spray painted the windows black to conceal what they were doing.
A USA Wireless employee on Feb. 25 discovered the break-in when going into the store before opening at 10:30 a.m. She noticed a chemical smell. In the supply room she found holes in the wall and a hole in the side of the safe. Cell phones and $200 in cash were missing. (more…)
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