Were you out of town last week or too busy to follow all the local news? Here is a look back at the week that was in Southwest Florida:
PLANE CRASHES NEAR EVERGLADES AIRPARK
Four people are lucky to be alive after their small airplane crashed into the water beside the Everglades Airpark runway last Sunday afternoon.
Rob Boyatt, 52, of Clermont, Fla., was attempting to land his Piper airplane just before 2 p.m., but instead crash landed into about 6 feet of water about 200 yards from the runway. Boyatt, along with his wife, brother and his brother’s wife, all escaped and called 911.
“We’re on the wing in the water,” the female caller told a 911 dispatcher. “Please send help.”
Two men on a small jon boat arrived and helped the victims into their boat, authorities said. The victims, who complained of back and neck pain, were transported to NCH Downtown Naples Hospital.
The Federal Aviation Administration and the National Transportation Safety Board are investigating.
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HAMMAN NAMED LEE COMMISSIONER
Brian Hamman’s desire to create jobs in Lee County is the reason Gov. Rick Scott said he appointed the Southwest Florida native to fill an open seat on the Lee County Commission.
Scott appointed Hamman, 32, of Cape Coral, to the seat on Tuesday. He will serve under appointment until Nov. 25, 2014. Hamman, a manager of market development for CenturyLink, who has no previous county government experience, said his daughter inspired him to apply for the job.
“I don’t want her to grow up to be a plane flight or a day’s drive away because she has to go somewhere else to find a new job,” he said. “I want to make sure we make Lee County the best it can be for her.”
The open District 4 seat was vacated by former Commissioner Tammy Hall, who resigned in September on the same day federal prosecutors announced she had signed a plea agreement on a wire fraud charge. Hamman is one of six candidates who have filed to run for the seat in the 2014 general election.
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BARKER NAMED DAILY NEWS PUBLISHER
Bill Barker, the publisher of the Tampa Tribune, is heading a couple of hours south on Interstate 75 for his next gig.
Barker, 50, was named this week the regional publisher and chief revenue officer at the Naples Daily News. Barker will join the Daily News on Nov. 11. He replaces Dave Neill, who left in August to become publisher of the Asheville (N.C.) Citizen-Times and a regional president for Gannett’s U.S. Community Publishing Group.
Barker has spent nearly a decade overseeing newspaper publications and media operations in the Tampa Bay Area.
“Naples better get ready,” he said. “We’re going to have some fun.”
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TWO SHOT, TWO ARRESTED AFTER HOME INVASION
Drugs and money.
That is what one suspect said was the motivation for an early morning Golden Gate home invasion that left two men hospitalized with gunshot wounds Thursday.
When deputies arrived at the Mer Soleil apartment after the 1:30 a.m. shooting, they reported finding the unit covered in blood. The two victims had gunshot wounds to the back of the head, thigh, cheek, toe and buttocks. They told investigators they were shot by a man named Kyle.
Deputies later arrested Kyle Smith, 21, who they found walking nearby. He denied involvement.
They also found the driver’s license of Smith’s
girlfriend, Michelle Postaski, 25, at the scene. She told investigators she and Smith had hatched the plan to burglarize the apartment to steal money and drugs, according to a search warrant.
A Collier judge set Smith’s bond at $775,000 and Postaski’s at $225,000. They remained behind bars on Saturday.
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IMMOKALEE TEENS KILLED IN HALLOWEEN WRECK
A drive home from a Halloween walk in Immokalee turned deadly Thursday night.
Three Immokalee 17-year-olds — Joseph “JoJo” Daguerre Jr., Jacob Garibay and Gerardo “Jerry” Ruiz — were killed when the gray Ford Mustang Garibay was driving struck a culvert and overturned. The fourth passenger in the Mustang, Lamorris Hall, 16, survived the wreck and was transported to Lee Memorial Hospital where he was upgraded to good condition on Saturday.
The deaths were announced at
Immokalee High School during the principal’s Friday morning announcement. Students described a hushed and tearful environment the rest of the day. The Immokalee football team played its homecoming game on Friday in memory of their deceased classmates. The Indians beat Lely for the Class 5A-District 15 crown.
Garibay’s mother, Soyla Gutierrez, said she knew something was wrong when her son didn’t return home by his 10:30 p.m. curfew. She later learned of the overturned car on Immokalee Road and went to the scene.
“My son was pinned into his car the whole two hours I was standing out there,” Gutierrez said. “I just came home.”