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Belligerent, inebriated off-duty officer kicked off flight, deputies say

An off-duty police officer was arrested on suspicion of engaging in intoxicated and belligerent behavior that included refusing to get off a plane, pushing a flight attendant and grabbing his son by the neck in a threatening way, investigators said. 

>> Read more trending news 

With bloodshot eyes and reeking of alcohol, Derrick Gilbert tried to find his seat among the 133 other passengers aboard an Allegiant Airlines flight to Greensboro, North Carolina, from St. Petersburg-Clearwater Airport around 6:30 p.m. Friday, according to Pinellas County sheriff’s deputies. 

Flight attendants said Gilbert looked confused and was unable to find his seat. He slurred his words and had glassy eyes, they said. 

The flight attendants assessed that Gilbert was too inebriated to fly and asked him to get off the plane, investigators said. 

At first he refused, but flight attendants eventually were able to get Gilbert off the plane. 

As he was getting off the plane Gilbert pushed flight attendant Kelby Oats, 25, investigators said witnesses told them. Gilbert also violently pushed and grabbed the neck of Tai Gilbert, his 18-year-old son, in a threatening way when he tried to convince him to get off the plane, investigators said.

Once off, he refused to leave the airport. He said deputies could not arrest him because he worked with the Sarasota Police Department, investigators said. 

Deputies then took Gilbert, who Sarasota police confirmed worked with its department, into custody without further incident.

Gilbert was arrested and charged with trespassing on property other than structure or conveyance, battery and domestic battery, investigators said.

Oats and Tai Gilbert were not injured.

Former Trump official, Omarosa Newman's ballot thrown out in Florida election

One of the many provisional ballots that were not counted Thursday in Duval County belonged to none other than Omarosa Newman. Yes, that Omarosa: the former Trump White House official who was fired by chief of staff John Kelly back in December.

>> Read more trending news 

She was once one of President Donald Trump’s loyal allies and served as his communications director for the Office of Public Liaison.

Newman relocated to Jacksonville after marrying a local pastor, John Newman. 

During Thursday’s review of provisional ballots in Duval County, a member of the canvassing board said, “Omarosa Newman, registered late” and then moved onto the next ballot.

Her vote did not count.

Late registration was one of the most common reasons given during the review of the ballots.

Action News Jax reached out to Omarosa Newman, who said she’s now fighting for her vote to count. 

She claims to have registered to vote on Oct. 9, which was the last day of voter registration. She’s now working with a local attorney.

She tweeted a reminder Oct. 9 to register to vote.

Florida Highway Patrol cruiser catches fire after 142 mph chase

A Florida Highway Patrol car caught on fire after a trooper reached speeds of 142 mph while pursuing a speeding driver.

>> Read more trending news 

The video released Tuesday is from April 29, and shows the trooper make a U-turn through a highway median to chase a Toyota RAV4 speeding in the opposite direction.

In it, the trooper, who has not been identified, can be seen weaving through traffic at well over 110 mph, using the shoulder to get around other drivers and eventually catching up to the RAV4, which pulls over in the grassy median.

“I don’t recommend doing that -- what I just did,” the trooper can be heard saying in the video. “But I don’t do it that so often, so.”

He then smells smoke and reverses the cruiser as flames begin to appear atop the dry grass.

“I think my car is trying to catch on fire,” the trooper says.

The trooper gets out with a fire extinguisher before calling for help.

“My car’s catching on fire,” he says.

As plumes of smoke begin to billow he tells the driver he pulled over to leave.

“Go, go, go,” he says.

The driver had been pulled over for going an estimated 90 mph, according to Jalopnik.

The Florida Highway Patrol did not comment to Fox News about the incident.

This is not the first video showing a lead-footed trooper.

A trooper was fired in July after a video surfaced in February that showed him racing a Lamborghini on the highway, WBBH reported.

Ride at Florida fair fails inspection because of missing $2.50 part

A ride at the Jacksonville Fair failed inspection and is closed because of a $2.50 piece of steel.

>> Read more trending news 

State inspectors found the Tornado ride has bearing bolt damage.

“The tornado is missing one of 36 fasteners. It is perfectly safe to operate in the condition that it’s in. However, we feel that it is not worth pushing anyone’s luck, if you will,” said Belle City Amusements General Manager Zack Panacek.

Panacek said he ordered a new bolt and hopes to have the ride back open Saturday.

“No one’s life is worth any shortcut,” Panacek said.

He said it’s the first time since the company took over the Jacksonville Fair in 2009 that it’s been unable to open a ride by the time the gates opened.

By Action News Jax’s count, state inspectors discovered problems on 37 out of 61 rides earlier this week.

Those deficiencies included a cable clamp that was installed backwards, a missing safety sign, sharp edges and cracked fiberglass.

Only the Tornado failed inspection.

It’s not the first time rides at the Jacksonville Fair have had issues.

In 2014, an 11-year-old boy was stuck with a sewing needle on the Ali-Baba ride.

Florida cops eat donuts after finding stolen Krispy Kreme truck

Only in Florida

This theft story has a wonderful ending -- the theft of a Krispy Kreme doughnut truck in Columbia County ended with free food being offered to homeless people from the police officers who found the truck. 

>> Read more trending news 

The truck was making deliveries in Lake City when it was stolen, police said

The Krispy Kreme delivery van was stolen Tuesday in Lake City and recovered nearly 200 miles away in Clearwater. There were still dozens of doughnuts aboard the stolen vehicle, so the store manager turned the treats over to the police officers. 

The cops ate a few of them but mainly saved them for the homeless to eat later that day. 

Plywood from truck bed slices through woman's windshield on Florida freeway

A woman suffered minor injuries last week when a piece of plywood struck the front of her windshield as she was driving on I-95 in Brevard County, the Florida Highway Patrol said.

>> See photos from the scene here

>> Read more trending news 

FHP said Rebecca Burgman, 35, was driving north on I-95 behind Jaime Riveira’s pickup truck when the piece of plywood, which had been secured in the bed of the truck, became loose and hit Burgman’s windshield.

>> On WFTV.com: Palm Bay officer injured in crash, police say

Riveira, 51, of Haines City, was ticketed for faulty equipment and failing to secure the load, FHP said.

Woman sets underwear rack on fire at Florida Macy's, police say

Police in Ocala, Florida, say they are looking for a woman who allegedly committed arson inside a Macy’s Tuesday morning.

>> Watch the news report here

Officers said the woman entered the department store at the Paddock Mall shortly after 10 a.m. and walked around the store for approximately 45 minutes.

Police said at some point the woman set fire to a rack of underwear.

“It was a bunch of smoke rolling out and people were walking – running outside,” said Kortnee Eubanks, who was in the store at the time. 

“The [Macy’s] staff believe that they smelled gas, so we’re not sure if she tried to set the fire to other area and this was just the only area where she was successful. She was in the store for some time,” said Ocala Police spokesperson Meghan Shay.

>> Read more trending news 

No one was hurt by the flames. 

A message on Paddock Mall’s website Tuesday afternoon said Macy’s will be closed for the remainder of the day.

“The safety of our shoppers, retailers and employees is our top priority. We are working closely with the Ocala Police Department as they investigate this incident further,” said the mall’s website.

Surveillance video from police shows a vehicle in which they believe the woman left. It appears to be a dark gray four-door sedan.

Ocala police ask anyone with information to contact them at 352-369-7000.

>> Watch the surveillance video here

'Emotional support' squirrel gets woman kicked off Frontier flight

A Frontier Airlines passenger at Florida's Orlando International Airport was removed from her flight by police Tuesday after she tried to bring her "emotional support" squirrel on board

The woman refused to get off the Cleveland-bound plane, so the crew called police. 

>> No dogs in shopping carts: Publix enforcing service pet policies

Frontier Airlines officials said the woman noted in her reservation that she was bringing an emotional support animal but did not indicate it was a squirrel. 

Rodents, including squirrels, are not allowed on Frontier flights, officials said. 

The crew asked the woman to get off the plane, but she allegedly refused. Orlando police were called and asked everyone to deplane so they could deal with the woman. 

Officers eventually escorted the passenger off the plane and brought her to the main terminal. 

Video shows crowds cheering as she was taken off the plane. 

>> See the video here

The incident is one of many recent cases involving emotional support animals on planes. 

In another case, a woman tried to get an emotional support peacock through security at Newark. 

In the last year, all the major airlines have changed their policies for bringing animals into the cabin. 

>> Read more trending news 

Most airlines require a note from a doctor, advanced notification and the animal’s vaccine records. 

Most airlines have also restricted which types of support animals are allowed on board. 

Delta, for example, has banned goats, hedgehogs and any animals with horns.

Florida man charged with practicing unlicensed dentistry for making grills

A 26-year-old Florida man was arrested Friday on charges of practicing dentistry without a license, the Leesburg Police Department said.

>> Watch the news report here

Investigators said Allen Turner had been making custom molds for dental grills at his home.

Turner told WFTV on Monday that he was unaware that what he was doing was illegal and that he considers himself more of a jeweler.

He said a Florida Department of Health investigator and a police officer visited his home to order him to stop doing the work and he obeyed them.

>> On WFTV.com: Overdoses lead Ocala police to alleged drug house that had drive-thru window, authorities say

"I see a lot of people doing it," Turner said. "(I) never figured you need a license for it."

Police said they discovered multiple drills, cutting tools and other equipment at his home.

"I think people make assumptions when things are just cosmetic in nature – that it doesn't necessarily require licensing," Leesburg police Lt. Joe Iozzi said.

>> Read more trending news 

Turner said he was fined $1,000 and was arrested several weeks later, once the state attorney's office chose to file charges against him.

He said business had been good thanks to Facebook.

"This is big in the hip-hop industry," Turner said.

He said he would charge customers several hundred dollars apiece, but he has chosen to call it quits.

"I don't want to do it no more, man," Turner said. "I don't want no parts of it. None at all. None at all, man."

Turner was released from the Lake County Jail after paying bail. He has a court hearing scheduled for Oct. 22.

Snake washes up on Florida beach, surprising visitors

A 3-foot snake washed ashore Tuesday on a Florida beach, surprising beachgoers.

>> Read more trending news 

Animal control came and rescued the snake, the Pensacola News Journal reported

“We walked over and couldn’t believe it," Rhonda Saunders, who was at the beach with her daughters, told the News Journal. "(The snake) was exhausted trying to keep its head above the water. Too tired to get onto the sand."

Saunders believes it was a diamondback rattlesnake. However, Florida Fish and Wildlife officials were unable to identify it through Saunders’ photos, the News Journal reported.

Missing kangaroo found safe in Florida neighborhood

An escaped kangaroo was found Thursday morning in a Florida neighborhood after several days of searching.

>> Read more trending news 

Storm, a 4-foot marsupial, escaped from the home of Eric Westergard, where he lived with six other kangaroos.

Westergard, who is permitted to own exotic animals, has raised the 5-year-old kangaroo since he was an infant.

More than a dozen Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission officers, state troopers and local law enforcement officials, as well as drones and a K-9, were used in the search for Storm.

More details about Storm’s capture were not immediately available.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

Florida inmate walks away from work crew, buys sweet tea, officials say

A Florida Department of Corrections inmate walked away from a work crew Monday morning to get some sweet tea, officials say.

Deputies said Taylor Fender, 23, of Okaloosa County, was serving a five-year prison sentence at the Putnam Corrections Institute before this incident.

According to the Putnam County Sheriff's Office, the crew was working at State Road 20 and County Road 315 when Fender strolled away and into a nearby Family Dollar, where he bought some clothes.

According to officials, an "observant resident" saw Fender walk into the store and dialed 911.

>> On ActionNewsJax.com: Florida man accused of breaking into home, going through refrigerator

Fender allegedly then walked down the road and into Poppi's Restaurant. At the same time, officials said a deputy just so happened to be pulling into the restaurant's parking lot for lunch.

As the deputy entered the restaurant, a warning to be on the lookout for a suspect with Fender's description was released by dispatchers, deputies said.

>> Read more trending news 

The Sheriff's Office tweeted that, after ordering and paying for a cup of sweet tea, Fender was arrested and taken into custody.

The sweet tea was reportedly left on the counter of the restaurant.

'I'm a Kardashian,' Florida woman claims before pushing neighbor, deputies say

A Florida woman who claimed she was a “Kardashian” was arrested on a battery charge after a confrontation with a neighbor, the Marion County Sheriff’s Office said.

>> See the Facebook post here

Last week, Crystal Kohler, 35, approached her neighbor and said, “I’m a Kardashian. I’m going to (expletive) you up,” and then pushed the victim with both hands, deputies said

When deputies asked Kohler why she did it, she said the neighbor was too “nosy,” according to an incident report.

>> Read more trending news 

The victim said she has ongoing issues with Kohler, who randomly yells at her for no reason.

Kohler remains in the Marion County Jail on a charge of simple battery.

Pot keeps washing on Florida beaches; deputies say man tried to grab some

A man tried to take 11 pounds of marijuana that washed up on a Flagler County beach, but didn’t report it to law enforcement officials, Flagler County sheriff’s deputies said

>> Read more trending news 

“This guy tried to take advantage of a situation and it completely backfired on him,” said Flagler County Sheriff Rick Staly.

According to deputies, witnesses saw Robert Kelley pick up the soaked packages Thursday morning as they washed up on the shore near Jungle Hut Park in Palm Coast. 

The person who called 911 told dispatchers Kelley and others were trying to open and take the bags.

Deputies said when they got to the scene, Kelley did not attempt to tell them he found the drugs. When deputies asked him about it, he pointed at his car and said he was holding it for them, investigators said.

When asked why he didn’t call deputies, Kelley said he didn’t alert the Sheriff’s Office because he wasn’t sure if they would come, deputies said.

>> Read: 30 lbs of marijuana found on Florida beach

Deputies said they found a “brick” of marijuana wrapped in plastic in Kelley’s trunk, totaling 11 pounds of marijuana. 

Kelley tried to conceal the package by wrapping it in a brown beach towel, deputies said.

Kelley was arrested on possession of marijuana and was held on $2,500 bond.

This was not the first time this week that packages of marijuana washed up on Florida’s shores. Flagler County deputies said a total of 100 pounds of marijuana turned up on the beach in just two days. In Volusia County, deputies said 23 bales of marijuana washed up on the beach Wednesday in Ormond-by-the-Sea.

Florida woman accused of pouring hot sauce in husband’s eyes during fight

A Florida woman’s argument with her husband became more heated than usual Monday when she poured hot sauce into his eyes, according to police. 

Esmeralda Martinez Lopez, 41, of Lacoochee, is charged with domestic battery, according to Pasco County jail records. She was released Tuesday on bail of $500. 

Fox13 in Tampa reported that deputies were called to the couple’s home Monday morning after they began arguing. An arrest affidavit obtained by the news station said that Lopez struck her husband in the face before dousing his eyes with the peppery condiment.

>> Read more trending news

The husband was taken to a hospital for treatment, the news station reported.

Lopez admitted to deputies that she argued with her husband, but denied injuring him, Fox13 said

Naked, drunken Florida man starts fire while baking cookies on George Foreman Grill

A house caught fire after a naked man baked cookies on a George Foreman Grill and left them unattended, according to the Niceville Police Department.

When firefighters arrived at the smoke-filled home on Date Palm Drive, the man answered the door, naked, and said “I’m sorry,” then closed the door, according to an incident report.

When police arrived, the man answered the door and left it open, then walked deeper into the home that had several items on fire, the report said.  

Read: Oh, Florida! Crazy animal stories piling up

Since he showed no signs of caring for his safety, officers removed the man from the house, police said. 

>> Read more trending news 

“He would have been seriously injured or could have possibly died,” the report stated.

The man admitted to drinking two liters of vodka and smoking marijuana, police said.  

Police said he tried to put dry towels on top of the fiery grill, but the towels also caught fire. 

The man was not injured.

Florida man steals ambulance after being released from hospital, deputies say

A man who needed a ride after being discharged from a Florida hospital on Sunday decided to solve his problem by stealing an ambulance, according to multiple reports.

>> Read more trending news

The man, identified as 25-year-old Michael Paul, took the empty Broward Sheriff’s Office Fire Rescue ambulance around 6:30 p.m. from Broward Health North, according to WFOR-TV. Deputies told the news station the ambulance had been left running, something rescue workers do regularly to ensure ambulances are cool and ready for patients who might need them.

As firefighters wheeled a patient into the hospital, Paul took off with rescue vehicle 102, the Miami Herald and WFOR-TV reported

>> Read more Floridoh! stories 

The ambulance was equipped with a GPS tracking device, according to The Associated Press. Paul and the ambulance were found about 30 minutes later in Deerfield Beach, the AP reported.

In a police report obtained by the Herald, investigators said Paul told detectives he “stole a red ambulance because he needed a car.”

He was arrested and charged with grand theft auto, driving with a suspended or revoked license and violating a learner’s permit, jail records show.

Crane topples onto Orlando home, slicing roof

A crane toppled onto a home that was undergoing roof repairs in Orlando’s Baldwin Park development.

Video recorded by WFTV’s Skywitness 9 showed that the large crane, which was hauling shingles, had fallen and split the roof of a home on Lower Park Road.

The incident happened around 11:30 a.m. Tuesday.

“I’m thinking, I’m glad it’s not my house,” said Eric Sorrensen, who lives in the neighborhood. “I hope they get some tarps up there before the rain comes in – it’s only going to get worse for them.”

No one was home at the time of the incident.

"It just fell," witness Greg Fogleman said. "The cut went through that roof like a hot knife through butter."

The roofing company said a shingle supplier hired the crane to load the new shingles onto the roof, but the supports that secure the crane were not adequately set and one sank into the ground.

The last of four pallets of shingles were being unloaded when the crane toppled, narrowly missing one of the roofers.

>> Read more trending news 

"In this neighborhood, there are no driveways," said Trevor Switzer, of Gold Key Roofing. "There's an alleyway in the back, which isn't big enough for a conveyor truck or any other machinery. So the only way to get (the shingles) onto the roof is by crane or handload, which is dangerous."

The homeowner, who has lived at the home for three years, told WFTV that she made arrangements to stay elsewhere. It's unknown how long it will take to repair the home.

It took hours for two additional cranes to remove the fallen crane from the large home.

Firefighters said no one was injured. They said they contacted code enforcement officials.

A structural engineer is expected to evaluate the home Wednesday.

Florida man accused of giving girlfriend 'wet willy' arrested

A Florida man is facing charges after he was accused of becoming belligerently drunk earlier this month and giving his 53-year-old girlfriend a “wet willy,” according to court records and reports.

>> Read more trending news

Authorities in St. Lucie County, Florida, arrested Joseph Sireci, 47, after the Aug. 15 incident, court records show. His girlfriend said in a victim statement filed in court that she knew Sireci was drunk when he called her at work to demand that she order him a pizza. When she got home, she found him drunk on her living room floor, she said.

>> Read more Floridoh! stories 

In a police report obtained by the Miami Herald, authorities said that later, when the victim and her daughter decided to leave the home for another, Sireci tagged along. In a victim statement, she said he refused to get out of her vehicle and that he became more drunk while at the house.

She and Sireci argued over the radio volume on their way back to their shared home, the victim said. During the ride, Sireci wet his finger and stuck it in the victim’s ear, giving her a “wet willy,” the Herald reported.

Jail records show Sireci was booked into jail on the night of Aug. 15 on one count of second-degree battery domestic violence.

Florida man says 150-pound lizard visitor stalks his home

A man in Florida has an unexpected visitor that will not leave him alone. 

Zachary Liberman, of Davie, Florida, said that a monitor lizard has been avoiding capture for four days, The Sun Sentinel reported

This isn’t one of those small lizards that Floridians are used to coexisting with. This one is about 7 feet long and weighs about 150 pounds.

Liberman said he’s worried about his kids - a 2-year-old son and 4-year-old daughter, despite the fact that monitors don’t usually attack people.

“On Sunday it was right at my back [patio door] window kind of scratching to get inside the house,” Liberman told The Sun Sentinel

He’s called in trappers, hunting dogs and wildlife officers to catch the lizard, but each has come up empty. 

>> Read more trending news 

They’ve tried to use bait like dead rodents and chicken hanging from a tree. 

It almost was captured when it came to the edge of the garage but then it ran away.

“I had a baseball bat with me that I was tapping on the ground,” Liberman told the newspaper. “He seemed to be following the tapping sound, but then all of the sudden he turned and made for the woods.”

There are no natural predators for the monitor lizards in Florida and are not native to the Sunshine State, according to the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission.

If captured, the lizard will either be given to a licensed wildlife facility or killed, the FWC said. 

Liberman said he wants the lizard to go away so he and his family can get back to normal, The Sun Sentinel reported.

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