Motorcycle Fatality, Port Richey Mayor Arrested And More

Motorcyclist falls from overpass

A 51-year old Largo man fell to his death when he was ejected from his motorcycle and launched from an Interstate-275 overpass.

The Florida Highway Patrol identified Verlon John McDonald as the motorcyclist. McDonald was driving southbound on the interstate just before 3 a.m. when he lost control of the motorcycle. He was propelled onto the street below, Lois Avenue, after hitting the guardrail.

Troopers do not know why McDonald lost control and said that alcohol was not a factor in the accident.

Port Richey Mayor arrested

Courtesy Pasco County Sheriff’s Office (August 2018)

Port Richey Mayor Dale Massad was arrested after shooting at deputies, according to the Pasco County Sheriff’s Office.

Around 4:40 a.m., SWAT members attempted to serve a search warrant and were met with gunfire from inside the home. Massad fired two shots at deputies, who did not return fire.

Investigators had received a tip that Massad was practicing medicine, although his medical license was relinquished in 1992.

Pasco County Sheriff Chris Nocco described the mayor as a “known drug user” and “drug dealer” in the press conference.

According to Nocco, Massad faces multiple counts of attempted homicide against law enforcement agents and charges for practicing medicine without a license.

He had been previously arrested for domestic battery in August 2018.

Tampa Mayor Bob Buckhorn’s Twitter hacked

Tampa police are investigating a series of threats made after Mayor Bob Buckhorn’s Twitter account was hacked.

The hacker posted an array offensive tweets, including a bomb threat against Tampa International Airport. The airport responded in a tweet that the threats were not credible.

Other tweets attacked the City of Tampa staff and the Tampa VA office.

The posts have since been removed from the mayor’s account. Law enforcement and the mayor’s office are working together to investigate the attack.

DeSantis proposes importation of Canadian prescription drugs

Governor Ron DeSantis proposed importing Canadian prescription drugs into Florida in order to lower drug costs.

The program, according to DeSantis, would cut health care costs in the state. DeSantis said that he received approval from the Trump administration and that a provision in the 2003 Medicare Modernization Act allows for the program’s development.

In 2018, Vermont became the first state in the U.S. to create a prescription-drug importation law.

Commissioners move forward with Bay-to-Bay Boulevard improvements

Hillsborough County Commissioners voted Tuesday to move forward with a plan to repave Bay-to-Bay Boulevard.

In a study conducted on the road’s condition, multiple recommendations were made, including reducing the four lanes to three lanes to allow for the addition of bicycle lanes on both sides.

Sketch of proposed three-lane option for the section between Lois Avenue and Dale Mabry Highway by DKS Associates, Inc.

The area has seen at least 17 crashes in the last year.

The parents group “Sidewalk Stompers” has put pressure on commissioners to make the road safer for students walking to school.

City officials have approved the repaving project but have not come to a conclusion on how many lanes it should be.

While no definite plans have been made, city officials said they are working on adding features to the area that will improve the safety of pedestrians, bicyclists and drivers. Contractors may be in the area as early as next week, with the repaving process beginning after that.

 

Anchor: Aldo Puccini
Producer: Lou Maldonado
Director: Megan Ghillyer
Technical Director: Hikari Nitta
Graphics: Patrick Bluck
Audio: Ingrid Gerard
Prompter: Jamil King
Floor Manager: Marquetta Wilson
Camera Operator: Hannah Estes
Teaching Assistant: Tatyana Bazard
Graduate Assistant: Kelsey Baker
Faculty Advisor: Cathy Gugerty