In separate incidents Monday two pedestrians were struck and killed on U.S. 17 North, according to the Florida Highway Patrol. A 42-year-old Palatka woman who was chasing her dog ran out onto U.S. 17 north of Palatka around 6:30 p.m. and was struck by a Jeep Commander driven by Ronald Stengrim, 53, of Hawthorne. Stengrim was driving south on U.S. 17, north of Gordon Wilkinson Road and was unable to stop. Name of the victim has not been released by FHP pending notification of family. Nearly three-and-a-half hours later another pedestrian was struck and killed in Clay County near Green Cove Springs. The pedestrian, identified as Oscar Jucum, 30, was running from the east shoulder of U.S. 17 across the highway when he ran into the path of the car. Driver Kingsley Gayle, 41, may face charges as FHP continues the investigation.
Proponents for keeping regulation of short-term vacation rentals local may have gotten a boost from Gov. Ron DeSantis. DeSantis said Monday he is “leaning against” the effort by some state legislators to put the rentals under state regulation rather than allowing local governments to handle their problems. Some see the move by legislators as a continuing effort to chip away at home rule. Flagler and St. Johns counties are among coastal locations fighting the effort by the state.
In Flagler County two homeless individuals have been found dead in separate incidents. The body of a 63-year-old man was found Sunday night when firefighters responded to a small brush fire off Cypress Edge Parkway in Palm Coast. Flagler County Sheriff’s Office labeled the death “suspicious”. Name of the victim has not been released yet. The body of a second homeless man was found Monday morning at the side entrance of the Bunnell branch library off Old Moody Boulevard. Bunnell police said the death did not appear to be a homicide, but the scene was being processed and an investigation is underway. Library staff said the man, who seemed to be in his early 40s, was from New York and came into the library on a regular basis.
St. Johns County parents whose children may be headed to High School HHH when it opens for the 2021-22 school year get to hear details regarding school attendance zones tonight and Thursday. Tonight’s meeting is at 6:30 p.m. at Allen D. Nease High School. Thursday’s meeting is at 6:30 at Bartram Tail High. Zoning changes could also impact the Silverleaf Development.
A 30-year-old Putnam County woman was booked into the county jail Friday on charges tied to a wreck nearly 10 months ago. Florida Highway Patrol says the DUI crash left one man dead and four people injured. Savannah Serrano faces one count of DUI manslaughter, four counts of DUI resulting in serious bodily injury, two counts of DUI resulting in property damage and one count of marijuana possession. FHP said Serrano was drunk when the wreck occurred on April 27, 2019, when she drove her car into a pickup truck near Interlachen High School. Forrest Boram, 75, was in the pickup and was taken to a hospital in critical condition. He died a month later from injuries.
Firefighters including Putnam Fire Rescue, Palatka Fire Department and more than half-a-dozen volunteer fire departments responded Sunday to a house fire in East Palatka. The call went out at 6:14 p.m. and when units arrived they saw flames shooting out of the second story and attic of the Goodwin Street house. No one was injured in the fire but damage to the structure was heavy. Tankers were brought in to provide enough continuous water supply. The State Fire Marshal’s Office is investigating cause of the fire.
Former Flagler County resident Reilly Opelka won his second ATP Tour tennis singles title in Delray Beach Sunday as he defeated two opponents in three—set matches within a couple of hours. Opelka, 22, who is a former Indian Trails Middle School student from Palm Coast, took home a $97,585 first place check. Actually he took it to the plane where he was headed to Acupulco and another tournament.
Don’t forget today is Shrove Tuesday. Pancake dinners are being held at churches around the area as Christians prepare for the beginning of the Lenten season. All Saints Anglican Church on State Road 19 South in Palatka continues its tradition of pancake dinners from 5-7:30 p.m. tonight. Cost is $5 for adults, $2 for children.