This is Marcia Lane, your roving reporter.
A chain reaction crash on Interstate 95 near International Golf Parkway Monday night injured seven, four seriously, according to the Florida Highway Patrol. The accident happened after a tractor-trailer in the inside lane of I-95 attempted to make a U-turn. The first of four vehicles in the center lane hit the right rear tire of the semi and a chain reaction crash followed. The first vehicle, driven by a 26-year-old traveling with a 75-year-old passenger, was rear-ended by a van behind it. The van, with two people, 82 and 81, went into the center lane and wasn’t struck again but the first vehicle has hit again by a SUV behind the van. The fourth vehicle’s driver, 27, hit the SUV, spinning it clockwise. Passengers in the first and second vehicles were seriously injured, according to FHP. The accident rerouted traffic for several hours.
Good economic news in Flagler County. Brunswick Corp. is returning to the county with plans to open a boat building operation that will bring 300 to 400 jobs within 24 months, according to Palm Coast Mayor Milissa Holland. Almost three years ago Brunswick’s Sea Ray operation was closed. The plant off Colbert Lane is being reopened for the Boston Whaler brand, boat builders owned by Brunswick. First boat is expected to come off the assembly line in the second half of the year.
A Satsuma couple has been arrested and charged following a raid on their house after the Putnam County Sheriff’s Office received anonymous tips about a drug operation at the site. Deputies say Eran Herrera, 32, and Zachary Mori, 34, were running a marijuana grow house inside the trailer and face drug and child neglect charges. Seized at the site were eight marijuana plans, 200 grams of sealed marijuana in jars, $3,400 in cash, drug paraphernalia and two guns. Because of the condition of the residence, including seeping sewage, the residence was declared uninhabitable by code enforcement. A 12-year-old child living with the couple is now in custody of a family friend and Department of Children and Families is investigating, according to the Sheriff’s Office.
Following a review, Florida Department of Health in Putnam County has determined the death of a 67-year-old man announced Monday is not coronavirus related. That drops the death count to 97 since counting began last March. The department reported 13 new cases with two transfers into county and that puts the total at 5,264. Flagler County reported 30 new cases, which brings their total to 5,020. Florida Department of Health in St. Johns County reported one new coronavirus related death bringing their count to 155. In addition, 80 new cases were reported for a total of 17,573.
The Players Championship in Ponte Vedra Beach will tee off March 11, according to tournament officials. Plans call for tickets to be limited to 20 percent of the maximum capacity as officials seek ways to put on a safe tournament. While fewer fans can be on the course, tournament officials say they’re working on plans including socially distanced watch parties at restaurants and watch-at-home kits through marketing partners. The tournament is a big economic driver for northern St. Johns County business and was one of the first major tournaments to be hit last year when the pandemic began.
In Putnam County word is the 2021 Palatka Azalea Pickleball Tournament is a go. Set for March 6 and 7, the tournament will be at the Palatka High School tennis tournaments. Last year the first time tournament drew hundreds. It’s part of the Azalea Festival that has been cancelled for this year.
Two Putnam County Sheriff’s Office deputies injured in an auto accident while responding to an emergency call last Tuesday night are recovering. John Gogan and Christian Maysonet are both still hospitalized and face more surgeries and months of rehab. The two deputies are best friends. They got to talk face-to-face several days after the accident and it turned out both had worried the other was killed in the wreck and no one was telling them. “They are very appreciative of the support from people. Prayers are still definitely appreciated,” said Sheriff’s Office spokeswoman Allison Waters-Merritt. If you want to send a card or message to the deputies, post them to the Sheriff’s Office and they’ll be delivered.
A cat named George is really missed. The long-haired, white, male Persian went missing around 4 p.m. Saturday in the Anastasia Mini Golf area on Anastasia Island. Owners are offering $1,000 for the safe return of their “wonderful cat,” says SAFE animal rescue founder Robin Kantner-Nordan. If you can help, call 904-377-8006.