This is Marcia Lane, your roving reporter.
It’s the last day of 2019. As the calendar turns over to 2020, remember that government offices, banks and most businesses will be closed on Wednesday. At St. Johns County Pier preparations are underway for the annual City of St. Augustine Beach Blast Off from 4 to 10 p.m. tonight. Fireworks are around 8:30 p.m. at the kid-friendly event, which includes free entertainment. Some 30,000 are expected and free off-site parking and shuttle runs are available. A number of churches throughout the Putnam, St. Johns and Flagler county area are holding watchnight events. On Wednesday you can keep New Year’s promises to be healthier by spending the day at Ravine Gardens State Park. Scheduled hikes, kids events and a photo scavenger hunt are planned.
U.S. Customs and Border Protection agents will be picking up a pair of men involved in a high-speed chase Monday morning in Flagler County. Dwayne Michael Carty, 30, was stopped by deputies after making a left turn into oncoming traffic. He said the two were traveling from West Palm Beach to St. Augustine, but deputies realized they didn’t have luggage and the vehicle was registered to a woman not related to either of the men. When Carey gave deputies permission to search the vehicle they found a vacuum-sealed bag of what turned out to be 323 grams of marijuana in the trunk. Carty sped off north onto I-95. Deputies used stop sticks to deflate the car’s tires but Carty kept going until he crashed into a cable box near the rear of the post office on Pine Cone Drive. He fled the car and was found under a building at the post office. His passenger, Sharef Brendon Mpuang, 21, stayed in the car. His U.S. Visa was found to have been illegally altered after it expired and he was arrested for unauthorized possession of an identification card. Carty faces a variety of charges.
Putnam County Sheriff’s Office is investigating the shooting death of a Hawthorne man on Sunday. Deputies were called to the residence of Barrington Scott Carey, 48, on State Road 20 early Sunday morning. A woman at the home said there was a knock on the door before 3 a.m. and Carey headed to the front of the house, opening the door. Two shots were heard and she ran to the door and found Carey on the ground. He died at the scene. Detectives say the shooting was an isolated incident. They are seeking the public’s help.
St. Johns County Sheriff’s deputies are seeking information on a pair wanted for questioning after they used a credit card in a fraudulent manner at various St. Augustine Outlet Mall stores as well as businesses in Jacksonville. The spending spree on Christmas Eve totaled more than $13,000. Video is on the Sheriff’s Office Facebook page. If you have information, call 904-824-8304.
If you’re new to the South, you may not realize fireworks are part of the traditions. Expect to hear and see independent pyrotechnical displays tonight. It’s a good time to keep pets, especially dogs, inside and away from the noise. And don’t forget to have some black-eyed peas, greens and rice on New Year’s. That’s another Southern tradition – one that’s considered to bring luck and good fortune for the New Year.