<![CDATA[NBC 6 South Florida - Top Stories]]> Copyright 2015 http://www.nbcmiami.com/news/top-stories http://media.nbcbayarea.com/designimages/NBC+6+LOGO+GOOGLE.png NBC 6 South Florida http://www.nbcmiami.com en-us Mon, 30 Mar 2015 22:09:48 -0400 Mon, 30 Mar 2015 22:09:48 -0400 NBC Owned Television Stations <![CDATA[8 Killed, 10 Hurt in SW Florida Crash]]> Mon, 30 Mar 2015 18:31:23 -0400 http://media.nbcmiami.com/images/213*120/swflavancrash.jpg

Eight people were killed and 10 injured when the van they were in crashed into a canal early Monday in southwest Florida, NBC affiliate WBBH reports.

The Florida Highway Patrol said a preliminary investigation showed that a vehicle carrying 18 people and heading eastbound on SR-78 passed through a stop sign in the town of Moore Haven after midnight.

The van then traveled across all lanes of US-27 and crashed into a steep, partially-filled water canal.

The van is said to be from a church out of the Fort Pierce area, which is north of West Palm Beach, and was headed back after a weekend convention in Fort Meyers, according to the Florida Highway Patrol.

According to NBC 6 South Florida teams on the scene, a smashed van was loaded onto the back of a flatbed truck at the crash site. That van belongs to the Independent Haitian Assembly of God, with a listed address of 1914 Orange Ave in Fort Pierce

The driver of the van and seven passengers died. Ten other passengers were transported to local hospitals.

The ten passengers were taken to four area hospitals, according to FHP.  One patient, a 4-year-old child, was in stable condition at a Fort Meyers hospital. At least two patients were classified as trauma alerts. The other passengers conditions range from serious to stable. The injury status of the other patients it not immediately known.


One of the five patients taken to Lee Memorial Hospital in Fort Meyers has been released, according to the hospital's administrative supervisor. Two patients there were in critical condition and two others were in stable condition Monday morning, he said.

FHP says it was not foggy in the area of the crash scene in Glades County, west of Lake Okeechobee. The T-intersection is said to be surrounded by farmland.

Photo Credit: Julia Bagg/NBC 6 South Florida]]>
<![CDATA[Brag About Your School: Chaminade-Madonna College Prep]]> Mon, 30 Mar 2015 20:45:18 -0400 http://media.nbcmiami.com/images/213*120/033015+brag+about+chaminade-madonna.jpg

Size matters, so the saying goes, and sometimes, smaller is better. Chaminade-Madonna College Preparatory High School is proud of its 13 to 1 student-teacher ratio. When your school has only about 500 students, everyone knows everyone.

“In our small setting, we are able to offer such a holistic program, for the heart, the mind, the body and the soul,” said Teresita Wardlow, principal of this Catholic school nestled into a Hollywood neighborhood.

The Lions have a lot of pride in their athletic teams and in their innovative academic programs.

“We teach like a boutique-style of education,” said Richard Pulido, the school’s Director of Advancement.

Chaminade offers a full range of AP classes, dual enrollment classes, and arts and music at various levels. Geometry teacher Jose Rivera has been particularly creative, having his students build geodesic domes to get a handle on geometric concepts in three dimensions, and he came up with an interest sing way for his students to remember the quadratic formula and slope formulas: rap them.

“I don't consider myself too much of a rapper,” said Rivera, as we watched his students rapping the formulas and obviously having a blast at the same time.

Rivera knows recall is easier if you can put a tune on something.

“I have students constantly rapping when they have to do a slope, they’re rapping on a quiz just to remember it,” Rivera says.

Chaminade-Madonna is also home to 34 students from China, immersing themselves in American culture.

“It's been great, like, kind of like beyond my expectation of it,” said Unico Li, one of the Chinese students, who is president of the school’s Multi-Cultural Club.

The learning goes both ways.

“We hear the international students telling us, what exciting opportunities they’re learning about America and we certainly hear from our American students what exciting things they’re learning about China,” said Pulido.

The school is almost paperless. Every student is given an iPad to use in class and at home. The principal’s mantra is technology is great, but nothing takes the place of personal contact.

“So at graduation, I'm very proud to say that when each student comes up I know them all, I know every single one of them and they know me,” said Principal Wardlow.

For her, it’s personal. She’s an alumnus of the school, and now has the pleasure of leading an entirely new generation with new concepts in education.

<![CDATA[A Horrible Fall, a $10M Judgment, and a Family’s Search for Justice]]> Mon, 30 Mar 2015 19:38:14 -0400 http://media.nbcmiami.com/images/213*120/033015+miguel+colareta.jpg

Miguel Colareta did not let a slowly progressing neurological disorder keep him down, even if it did force him to start using a wheelchair.

For 10 years, he would rise early nearly every work day, wait for a paratransit company to take him to work, at Goodwill Industries on Commercial Boulevard, and then wait in the late afternoon for the van to give him a ride home.

“I liked the job and I felt useful because I was able to help people, able to help disabled people,” Colareta said. “Before I could do things on my own. I could go out, walk the dog and I was independent.”

Before April 16, 2012, that is – when Colareta backed his wheelchair onto the lift on an Allied Medical Transport paratransit van after it stopped outside the Goodwill offices at 6:28 that morning.

What he did not know was the device designed to prevent wheelchairs from rolling off the lift had been recalled weeks earlier for being defective, according to filings its manufacturer made with federal regulators.

The lift malfunctioned and he went crashing backward to the ground, causing traumatic brain injury and broken vertebrae, his lawsuit would allege.

Now, Colareta, 64, is quadriplegic, confined to the bed of a nursing home in Wilton Manors, his formerly productive life a distant memory.

“It changed everything,” said his wife of 37 years, Aida.

“He had no idea these wheelchair lifts weren’t being maintained properly, that nobody’s overseeing the maintenance,” said his attorney, Justin Leto. “He is just an unfortunate victim of a system that doesn’t have checks and balances.”

That system provides more than 440,000 trips a year in Broward County, which pays transportation companies about $14 million a year to do that job.

The family could not afford their own paratransit van, Aida Colareta said, so Broward County’s program was “the only choice we had.”

AMT was one of the companies used by Broward, but it recently lost its share of the work after it was underbid by a larger rival.

Now, the family is suing Broward County, claiming it did not properly oversee the contract with AMT, failing to regularly inspect the wheelchair lifts, as required by the manufacturer, their lawsuit claims.

“Broward County is ultimately responsible to ensure the paratransit system works properly,” Leto said. “The fact this vehicle failed and inspections were never done, that we believe is the responsibility of Broward County. They chose to privatize this industry.”

In its response to the lawsuit, the county argues it cannot be held responsible for AMT’s actions and it is seeking this week to add the company as a defendant. But in a recent court hearing, an assistant county attorney conceded that if the county is found to be liable, it would readily pay the family $300,000 – the limits of the county’s liability, unless the state legislature appropriates a larger payment specifically for this claim.

The Colaretas previously sued Braun Corporation, the manufacturer of the wheelchair lift, which had been recalled because of the defective safety barrier in March 2012, four weeks before the incident. “The defect manifests itself when the roll stop latches are no longer capable of restraining the roll stop to prevent wheelchair passengers from defeating or riding over the roll stop,” the company reported to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration. Braun reached a confidential settlement with the Colaretas and was dropped from the suit in May 2013.

The family also sued AMT, which had received the recall notice and begun replacing the parts in some vehicles two days before Colareta’s incident, according to records filed with the lawsuit. But AMT had not yet fixed the lift Colareta would use on April 16.

Asked what the incident says about the safety of paratransit clients in Broward, Wayne Rowe, AMT’s owner, told NBC 6 Investigators, “An accident is an accident and it will happen. However, it is how you proceed after an accident, and what you learn from an accident, what precautions you take before an accident, that makes you avoid having an accident.”

Unfortunately for Colareta, those precautions did not prevent what happened to him in April 2012.

AMT’s insurer was willing to pay the Colaretas $500,000 – the maximum allowed under the auto liability portion of AMT’s policy – and did so in April 2013.

But Leto sought more for the family.

In April 2014, a circuit judge signed a $10 million judgment against AMT, allowing the Colareta’s to seek more than the $500,000 insurance payment.

So the Colaretas are suing AMT’s insurance company in federal court, trying to prove it is entitled to money beyond the policy limits because, they claim, the company dealt with them in bad faith.

The company denies that, noting it made its $500,000 settlement offer less than two months after the claim was filed and that a judge has already ruled the claim falls under the business auto policy, which has a maximum limit of $500,000.

Still, the Colaretas continue to fight for more compensation, not to enrich themselves, they say, but to get the funds needed to move Miguel Colareta from the nursing home back to their house.

“We can’t be together like we used to be,” Aida Colareta said. “We want Miguel to be home with us and it’s very expensive to have him at home and he needs 24 hours care.”

Photo Credit: NBC6.com]]>
<![CDATA[Missing Student Killed by Car]]> Mon, 30 Mar 2015 21:34:28 -0400 http://media.nbcmiami.com/images/213*120/knbc-eloi-vasquez.jpg

Friends and teammates were grieving Monday after learning that a beloved UC Berkeley student athlete who went missing in Los Angeles over the weekend was fatally struck by a car as he ran across freeway lanes.

Eloi Vasquez, 19, was hit on the eastbound 10 Freeway east of Vermont Avenue about an hour after friends said they last saw him leaving a party near the USC campus, officials with the Los Angeles Police Department said.

It was unclear why Vasquez was on the freeway. The 45-year-old driver of the Chevrolet Impala stopped and told California Highway Patrol officers the man was running across lanes and she could not avoid him.

Vasquez was declared dead at the scene. The driver was not arrested.

"We're heartbroken, we're devastated," said Wesley Mallette, a Cal associate athletics director.

Vasquez's family did not immediately comment on his death. Police said the family was "very distraught" and asked for privacy.

Vasquez didn't have ID or money on him when he left the fraternity house party in the 600 block of West 28th Street about 1:30 a.m. Saturday.

However, he did have a cellphone and had told friends over the phone that he was "going to the beach."

He was also on the phone with a friend in Northern California about 2:18 a.m. He told her he was "screwed," scared and lost.

CHP officials said Vasquez was struck by the car about 2:25 a.m. The coroner's office confirmed that the victim was Vasquez.

Vasquez was a freshman midfielder on the UC Berkeley soccer team. Friends said they made the trip to Los Angeles for spring break.

"Eloi was a wonderful teammate, he was very close to all of his players and our guys are grieving pretty hard" said Cal soccer coach Kevin Grimes. "I really loved Eloi and I know our teammates did, too."

The news of his death came as family members announced a $100,000 reward for his safe return and also said they hired a private investigator to help locate the teen from Novato.

The Cal Athletics website described Vasquez as "a wonderful young man who has excelled both academically and athletically here at Cal."

"Eloi always had a way of making you laugh and he brought energy to the room," said Vasquez's teammate, Alex Mangels, as he fought back tears.

NBC4's Irene Moore contributed to this report.

Photo Credit: Facebook]]>
<![CDATA[Group Claims Barry U. Approved Pro-ISIS Club]]> Mon, 30 Mar 2015 20:26:39 -0400 http://media.nbcmiami.com/images/213*120/033015+barry+university.jpg

A South Florida university may have unknowingly approved an on-campus club that will allegedly raise money for ISIS, according to a new video from a well-known activist and filmmaker.

An honors student at Barry University in Miami Shores said she wanted to start the club to help promote education in the Islamic state. The University's leaders are livid that anyone would portray them as supporting ISIS and they said nothing could be further from the truth.

The group making the allegation, Project Veritas, said they didn't notify the university or the people being recorded that they were being recorded. Florida law requires a person must be notified if they are going to be recorded.

Senior Laura Loomer went undercover with Project Veritas and allegedly captured on camera university worker Derek Bley unfazed when she came to him to begin the process of forming an on-campus organization that would support the group ISIS.

"It's some pretty shocking material," said James O'Keefe, the founder of Project Veritas.

O'Keefe has made headlines for his videos targeting ACORN, Planned Parenthood and Medicaid. He said his organization investigates misconduct and alleges it found the university basically sanctioned the formation of a pro-ISIS student club.

"The individual who signed the documentation to start the ISIS club I believe is also her thesis advisor," O'Keefe said. "This student came to me and had the courage and we decided to partner with her and work with her but it's not limited to Barry."

Barry officials are seething over any allegation that it would ever support a terrorist group.

"It is reprehensible to think that any organization would acquire video and edit it in such way as to denigrate the reputation of Barry University or its staff," said Barry University President Sister Linda Bevilacqua.

Barry officials said any paperwork submitted by the student contained no mention of ISIS and the review process of her submission hadn't reached the next level where it would have been immediately rejected.

O'Keefe said he never contacted the university after the video was taken.

"It says to me that he is not really interested in Veritas, which is truth," Bevilacqua said. "If he was really interested in the truth about Barry University he would take the time to get to know who we are, what we represent."

O'Keefe said his group took the videos and did the investigation over the last six weeks.

The university has been flooded with calls after the video appeared online. Barry said it has damaged a reputation the school and its graduates have spent years building.

Photo Credit: NBC6.com]]>
<![CDATA[Charges Dropped Against Bus Driver Accused of Molesting Girl]]> Mon, 30 Mar 2015 18:40:33 -0400 http://media.nbcmiami.com/images/213*120/bookingschoolbusassault.jpg

Charges have been dropped against a school bus driver who was arrested in late February of allegedly sexually assaulting a young girl inside a school bus on multiple occasions, according to police.

Prosecutors dropped all charges against 44-year-old Enrique Napoles who was accused of repeatedly attacked a 7-year-old girl on the bus at least ten times.

Napoles was released from jail around 1 p.m. Monday. His defense attorney said there was insufficient evidence to proceed with the charges.

"The witnesses and the evidence that were presented to the state, leads me to believe that the correct choice was made of no action with the charges," attorney Rey Dorta said.

"My husband is innocent, I knew it, that he is innocent," wife Amy Diaz said. "It was an ugly reality that we faced but we survived."

Napoles was employed privately by J&A Bus Service and did not work for Miami-Dade schools as an employee nor as a contractor.

Police say he transported children for several area schools, including but not limited to:

  • American Senior High
  • Palm Springs North
  • Spanish Trace Lake Elementary School
  • Mater Academy
  • Lawton Chiles Middle School
  • Country Club Middle School

NBC 6 contacted the owner of J&A to see if Napoles would get his job back but she had no comment.

Photo Credit: Miami-Dade Police Department]]>
<![CDATA[331 Chinchillas Found at Wisc. Home]]> Mon, 30 Mar 2015 17:54:07 -0400 http://media.nbcmiami.com/images/213*120/chinchilla+home.jpg

A Wisconsin home was deemed uninhabitable after police say more than 330 chinchillas were found living inside. 

Police responded to the home in the 2200 block of Melody Lane in Waukesha Sunday morning for a well-being check when they said they saw “obvious living condition issues” at the residence.

Officers called the home a “hoarder home” and said it was filled with stacks of clothing and various belongings.

Police said 331 living chinchillas were housed in the living room and dining room of the rental property and 25 deceased chinchillas were found in the garage and a chest freezer in the basement.

Three children-- a 7-year-old, a 9-year-old and a 17-year-old – also lived in the home, according to authorities.

“The smell of ammonia was so overwhelming that officers contacted the Fire Department, who were able to test the environment with specialized equipment,” a release from the Waukesha Police Department said. “They deemed the air unsafe to breath and the residence uninhabitable.”

The Humane Animal Welfare Society plans to take custody of the chinchillas and evaluate their health but will conduct "further examinations" before doing so as the owners refused to surrender custody of the animals.

The Department of Health and Human Services also responded to the scene and said child neglect charges will be referred for each parent. Officials also planned to explore charges for poor treatment of animals, but it was not immediately clear what those charges would be. 

Police did not release the identities of the animals' owners. 

Photo Credit: Waukesha Police Department]]>
<![CDATA[Plaskon to Use Insanity Defense]]> Mon, 30 Mar 2015 18:57:01 -0400 http://media.nbcmiami.com/images/213*120/MilfordStabbingCourtPIC00000000.jpg

A former Milford, Connecticut, student accused of stabbing and killing a classmate in a high school stairwell last spring is pleading not guilty by reason of insanity, according to his attorney.

Christopher Plaskon, 17, has been charged with murder in the stabbing death of Maren Sanchez at Jonathan Law High School hours before the school prom last April.

Although authorities have been tight lipped about a potential motive, classmates speculated that Plaskon might have been angry that Sanchez turned down his invitation to go to prom together.

Plaskon, who is being tried as an adult, pleaded not guilty last June despite allegedly telling police, "I did it. Just arrest me." He underwent a psychological evaluation that wrapped up in January.

According to documents released by defense attorney Richard Meehan, Plaskon will "rely on the affirmative defense that at the time of the alleged commission of the offense, he was suffering from a mental disease or defect and/or extreme emotional disturbance."

Plaskon waived a trial by jury and will instead go before a three-judge panel.

A motion filed in court ahead of Tuesday's status proceedings says the defense team plans to "introduce expert testimony relating to the affirmative defense of mental disease or defect and/or extreme emotional disturbance and/or another condition bearing on the issue of whether he had the requisite mental state for the offense charged."

Plaskon is being held at the Manson Youth Institute in Cheshire, a correctional facility for boys and young men ages 12 to 19.

Photo Credit: NBCConnecticut.com]]>
<![CDATA[Matzo Factory to Leave Historic Jewish Neighborhood]]> Mon, 30 Mar 2015 16:49:14 -0400 http://media.nbcmiami.com/images/213*120/MatzoThumb.jpg After almost a century on Manhattan's Lower East Side, Streit's Matzo is moving its factory out of Manhattan after Passover.]]> <![CDATA[Motorcyclist Killed in Fiery Hit-and-Run Crash in Hollywood]]> Mon, 30 Mar 2015 20:12:24 -0400 http://media.nbcmiami.com/images/213*120/033015+hollywood+hit+and+run+motorcycle.jpg

Police are looking for a hit-and-run driver who killed a motorcyclist in a fiery crash in Hollywood, police said.

The crash happened Sunday night around 8:15 in the area of Washington Street and S. 56th Avenue.

According to police, a woman who was driving a truck with a child passenger collided with the motorcycle, which was driven by 30-year-old Jason Swanson.

The woman got out of her truck and looked at the victim on the ground then got back in her vehicle and fled the scene, police said.

When officers arrived they found Swanson on fire in the middle of the street. The officers tried to extinguish the flames but Swanson was pronounced dead at the scene, police said.

Police said the woman was driving a dark colored 1987-2010 Ford Explorer Sport Trac that likely has damage on the driver's side and or passenger's side. The child in the car with her was between 8-12 years old.

A reward of up to $3,000 is being offered for information leading to an arrest. Anyone with info is asked to call Broward Crime Stoppers at 954-493-TIPS.

Photo Credit: Hollywood Police]]>
<![CDATA[Multiple People Shot in Miami: Police]]> Mon, 30 Mar 2015 18:29:36 -0400 http://media.nbcmiami.com/images/213*120/033015+miami+shooting.jpg

Police responded after multiple people were shot in Miami Monday, officials said.

The shooting was reported in the 3600 block of Southwest 17th Terrace, Miami Police officials said.

Witnesses reported seeing three people shot.

"We were out here working and we heard like six straight shots, came out here, heard another four," witness Alex Hernandez said. "Saw some guy come out with a gun, some other guy behind him stumbling. He fell down and some chick came out screaming."

The gunshots were heard around the block around 2 p.m.

"Like firecrackers, like shots, like a shooting, but I was joking and then police came," Maria Uribe said.

Some victims were taken to Jackson Memorial Hospital, but their conditions were unknown.

Miami Police's crime scene truck was at the scene Monday afternoon. Officials didn't give many details.

"It's a puzzle we're putting together," Miami Police Sgt. Freddie Cruz said. "I can confirm multiple people were shot, we don't know the motive, it could be drug related, jealousy, domestic violence, we don't know at this moment."

Police were also at a second scene at a nearby gas station that may be connected to the shooting.

No other information was immediately known.

Check back with NBC 6 South Florida for updates.

Photo Credit: NBC6.com]]>
<![CDATA[Zoo Miami Welcomes New Clouded Leopards]]> Mon, 30 Mar 2015 13:38:43 -0400 http://media.nbcmiami.com/images/180*120/babycloudedleopards1.jpg

Zoo Miami has two adorable new residents.

Two female clouded leopard kittens made their debut on March 9th and have been secluded in a den with their mother until now.

Zoo officials decided to keep the girls in a den with their mother to allow mom and babies to properly bond and to avoid any external stress during the bonding process.

The babies are the second successful litter for mom, "Serai," and dad, "Rajasi." Serai is said to be an excellent and attentive mother who is nursing her babies on a regular basis.

Serai and the babies won't be on exhibit for the next few weeks until zoo staff decide they are stable enough to face the public.

The highly endangered clouded leopard is described as a very secretive cat found in forests within Southern China, Taiwan, and Malaysia.

Adults weigh between 30 to 50 pounds and they like to dine on a variety of birds and mammals including monkeys, deer, and porcupines.

Clouded leopards are highly endangered and subject to hunting as their attractive pelts have ceremonial value in a variety of cultures.

<![CDATA[$100K Reward for Missing College Student in LA: Family]]> Mon, 30 Mar 2015 12:53:33 -0400 http://media.nbcmiami.com/images/214*120/3-29-15+Missing+UC+Berkeley+student.JPG

A $100,000 reward was being offered for the safe return of a UC Berkeley student who went missing after leaving a party near the University of Southern California campus early Saturday morning, family members said.

Eloi Vasquez, a 19-year-old freshman who plays on the school's soccer team, walked out of a fraternity house in the 600 block of West 28th Street about 1:30 a.m. with only his cellphone in hand.

His friends tried to get him to come back to the party, but he told them over the phone he "was going to the beach."

Vasquez then called a friend, Aurora Cardena, in Northern California at 2:18 a.m. and told her he was "screwed" and got lost, his mother Wendy Margolin said.

"He pretty much said, 'I need you to come over here, I need help.' I asked him 'Where are you?' and he told me that he was in LA and that he didn’t know where he was at and that he was lost," Aurora Cardenas told NBC Bay Area. "The second time he called it just clicked. I didn’t know if his phone died, or if he hung up."

When Vasquez left the party he didn't have his wallet, money or ID with him. The phone he used to call his friend has since died.

"Everyone knows how responsible he is, how dedicated to school he is and he hasn't contacted anyone since," Margolin said. "Something is going on with him."

Vasquez's parents drove to LA from Northern California on Saturday hoping to find their son. The home where Vasquez was last seen has since been littered with fliers by friends also in hopes of his return.

A $50,000 reward was offered for Vasquez's safe return Sunday. The amount was doubled Monday. 

"All his friends are out scouring for him... looking around for him," Margolin said. They've gone to lifeguard towers in the Santa Monica and Venice area, hoping someone has seen him.

His mother planned to visit candy and doughnut shops that stayed open late night near where the party was.

Vasquez's friends said they had been drinking at the party on spring break.

"It's definitely unlike him and we're very concerned," said Vasquez's friend, Marko Helfrich.

Vasquez is described as 6 feet tall, weighing about 175 pounds with black hair and brown eyes. He was last seen wearing a baseball T-shirt with red sleeves, gray pants and white tennis shoes.

"Eloi is a wonderful young man who has excelled both academically and athletically here at Cal. Our entire Cal Athletics family is very concerned for Eloi’s safety and our first priority is to help in any way we can to locate him," the Berkeley athletics department said in a statement.

Police are asking anyone with information to call 213-486-8582.

<![CDATA[JetBlue Computers Back Online After Outage]]> Mon, 30 Mar 2015 09:01:28 -0400 http://media.nbcmiami.com/images/214*120/Jetblue+System+Down+2.jpg

A computer outage that caused delays for thousands of JetBlue Airways passengers early Monday morning has been resolved, the company said.

JetBlue Airways said it had fixed a systemwide computer problem by 6:15 a.m. Eastern that has caused delays because the airline had to manually check in passengers.

NBC News reported that the airline had to issue handwritten boarding passes to passengers at many airports.


The company said in an email that passengers might experience delays throughout the day. It did not specify how long it would take to work through delays and get operations back to normal.

The airline did not immediately respond to inquiries on how many flights were affected, but passengers at airports in Boston; Orlando, Fla., and Washington, D.C., took to social media to report long lines and delays. 

Photo Credit: Charlie Field
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<![CDATA[Dog Attacks Child, Mother Near Fort Lauderdale]]> Sun, 29 Mar 2015 14:00:06 -0400 http://media.nbcmiami.com/images/214*120/dog+attack+32915.PNG

A mother and son were hospitalized after being attacked by a dog near Fort Lauderdale Saturday afternoon.

The 9-year-old boy was riding a bicycle in the 1800 block of SW 43rd Avenue in unincorporated Broward County around 3 p.m. That's when neighbors said the dog came running and attacked.

Family members and neighbors tried to stop the dog from biting the boy, using a broom and even a skateboard to keep the dog at bay.

Broward Sheriff's Office Fire Rescue spokesman Mike Jachles said the mother and boy were transported to Broward Health Medical Center with non-life-threatening injuries. According to Jachles, the mother sustained more serious injuries than the child.

The dog was confiscated by Animal Control. It is unclear if the dog's owner will face charges.

<![CDATA[Weather: Mild, Sunny Monday]]> Mon, 30 Mar 2015 06:30:32 -0400 http://media.nbcmiami.com/images/213*120/WTVJ_000000017523840_1200x675_420004419768.jpg You'll need a light sweater out the door this morning, but temperatures later will be in mild in the upper 70's. Erika Delgado says we can anticipate a very high UV index later today, so be sure to pack the sunscreen.]]> <![CDATA[Invasive Pythons Blamed for Everglades Mammal Decline]]> Mon, 30 Mar 2015 08:57:49 -0400 http://media.nbcmiami.com/images/213*120/AP129504875745.jpg

Researchers have linked invasive Burmese pythons to the severe drop in the population of small mammals in the Florida Everglades.

A University of Florida research team outfitted 30 marsh rabbits with radio collars and set them free. When they later tracked the signals they found mostly pythons.

U.S. Geological Survey herpetologist Bob Reed says the study is the first hard evidence of invader pythons causing mammal declines in Everglades National Park.

Scientists believe the pythons in the Everglades are related to discarded or escaped pets introduced about 30 years ago.

The Gainesville Sun reports that trappers and scientists have also found bobcats and deer inside snakes.

The UF biologist who led the experiment says he hopes the findings reinvigorate efforts to solve the python problem.

Photo Credit: AP]]>
<![CDATA[Man Found Dead in Miami Was Scottish Soldier]]> Mon, 30 Mar 2015 17:36:17 -0400 http://media.nbcmiami.com/images/213*120/033015+shaun+cole.jpg

Police are investigating after a man was found dead near a busy Miami intersection early Sunday morning.

Oscar Aguilera first found the man's body on a sidewalk at Biscayne Boulevard and 81st Street around 7 a.m.

"I saw him not moving and puddle of blood," Aguilera said. "I went and checked and saw when his eyes were wide open."

The victim was later identified as 22-year-old Shaun Cole, a Scottish soldier who was in town with friends for the Ultra Music Festival.

Cole served in the 1st Battalion, The Royal Regiment of Scotland (1SCOTS) and had served in Afghanistan and had recently returned from Sierra Leone where soldiers have been involved in the Ebola aid effort.

"The men and women of 1SCOTS are shocked and deeply saddened to hear of the death of Private Shaun Cole," Commanding Officer Lt. Colonel Matt Munro said in a statement. "Our heartfelt thoughts and prayers are with Shaun's family at this desperately difficult time."

Police cordoned off two blocks on Biscayne for six hours as they investigated. Detectives consider the death unclassified, but have not yet said what happened to the victim.

A nearby gym turned over surveillance footage to police, and a red light camera may have also captured the incident.

Anyone with information is urged to contact Miami-Dade Crime Stoppers at (305) 471-TIPS (8477).

<![CDATA[Police Investigate Shooting in NE Miami-Dade]]> Sat, 28 Mar 2015 18:27:18 -0400 http://media.nbcmiami.com/images/180*120/1033485323.jpg

Police are investigating a shooting that happened in a northeast Miami-Dade neighborhood early Saturday morning.

Neighbors reported hearing several shots fired in the area of a mobile home park, near NE 113th Street and Biscayne Blvd.

"I heard three or four shots when I was sleeping," said area resident Samuel Archilla.

Multiple units responded to the scene, and at least one person was injured. The victim hurt in the shooting has not yet been identified.

Another resident said this kind of violence so close to home has her concerned for her safety.

"I think it's really horrible," said Greisha Canales. "It's really bad, everything is coming to an end. We need protection from the police."

A description of the shooter or shooters has not been released.

Anyone with information is urged to contact Miami-Dade Crime Stoppers at (305) 471-TIPS (8477).

Photo Credit: Getty Images]]>
<![CDATA[Pair Left Teen Shooting Victim at Hospital: Police]]> Fri, 27 Mar 2015 19:08:31 -0400 http://media.nbcmiami.com/images/213*120/032715+richard+hallman+hospital.jpg

Miami Police are asking for the public's help in identifying two people seen dropping off a 16-year-old boy at the hospital shortly before he died of gunshot wounds.

New video was released by police Friday showing two young black males dropping Richard Hallman off at Jackson Memorial Hospital.

Hallman, a football player at Booker T. Washington, was shot Tuesday night in the 2000 block of Northwest 18th Terrace in Allapattah, police said. He later died of his injuries.

Police said they're looking to identify the two men who were caught on camera dropping Hallman off at the hospital.

"The two men, we don't know if they were involved in the shooting, that's why we need to question them, we need to find out who they are and question them as to why they were actually bringing the victim into the hospital, so that's what we need them for," Miami Police Officer Frederica Burden said.

The shooting happened within hours of the fatal shooting of 10-year-old Marlon Eason outside his Overtown home.

Community leaders held a "Walk for Justice" for Eason in Overtown Thursday night. A similar walk is being held Friday night in Allapattah for Hallman.

Photo Credit: Miami Police]]>
<![CDATA[NAACP Wants Justice Dept. to Probe FLPD]]> Fri, 27 Mar 2015 19:55:40 -0400 http://media.nbcmiami.com/images/213*120/121311+fort+lauderdale+police+generic.jpg

The NAACP is asking the U.S. Justice Department to investigate the Fort Lauderdale Police Department after the scandal that saw four officers lose their jobs over a racist video and text messages.

At a news conference Friday, NAACP leaders and attorneys also asked the public to come forward with complaints of racially biased policing.

"When people are in Victoria Park and they are white, they are treated a lot different than if they are black and in the northwest section," Broward public defender Howard Finkelstein said. "Enough is enough, this is not the deep south anymore."

The public defender's office made maps showing how police overwhelmingly target black areas of town when stopping people for biking without registration stickers, or walking on streets instead of sidewalks. The NAACP said one of the big problems is that when people try to complain about mistreatment, the FLPD gives them the runaround.

In a statement, the FLPD said they stand behind their internal affairs investigation, and added that the firing of the officers was appropriate.

"We are completely transparent and welcome any outside agency to conduct an independent review," the statement said. "We also welcome anyone who feels they were subjected to unfair or improper treatment by any of our employees to come forward and give us the opportunity to address their complaint."

Fort Lauderdale Mayor Jack Seiler also released a statement saying he appreciates the efforts of the NAACP.

"Should the Department of Justice decide to become involved in a review of this matter, they will have our full support and cooperation," Seiler said. "We remain committed to working every day to restore the community’s faith and trust in our law enforcement officers, and repairing any damage to the strong bonds that exist between our neighbors and our Police Department."

At Friday's news conference, two mothers who claim their sons were targeted by Fort Lauderdale officers spoke.

"They had beat him, they kicked him in his head," Michelle Davis said of her son. "Face swollen, eyes swollen, he had knots in his head."

Mother Cassandra Jordan said officers looking for her son forced their way into her home.

"Using the N word, breaking in my house, without a search warrant or anything," she said.

"When you see the blue lights, when you hear the sirens, you should not be afraid but if you are in the northwest section, folks are very, very afraid," the NAACP's Marsha Ellison said.

Photo Credit: NBCMiami.com]]>
<![CDATA[Missing Student's Sorority Search]]> Mon, 30 Mar 2015 12:31:30 -0400 http://media.nbcmiami.com/images/213*120/u+of+minnesota.jpg

The investigation into the disappearance of a Minnesota university student changed from a search for a missing person to a "water recovery effort" on Monday, police in Minneapolis said. 

Jennifer Houle, 22, was last seen around 1 a.m. Friday at the Blarney Bar in Dinkytown, a neighborhood in Minneapolis, police told NBC News. Houle’s purse was found two hours later about three blocks away from the bar.

Police on Monday said they'd obtained video which showed Houle entering the Mississippi River from the 10th Avenue Bridge. No foul play was suspected, they said.

"We extend our deepest condolences to the Houle family and all of Jennifer's many friends," the department said in a statement.

Houle was a member of the Pi Beta Phi sorority at the University of Minnesota. Her sorority sisters posted a message on Facebook asking for the public to join the search. "We need all the help we can get to find this warm-hearted, beautiful person." The message has been shared more than 8,000 times. 

Our sister, Jen Houle is still missing. She was last seen in this outfit at 1am Friday March 27th in Dinkytown. We need...

Posted by Pi Beta Phi UMN on Saturday, March 28, 2015

Friends and family hosted a prayer vigil Sunday night at Stillwater Area High School. Houle graduated from Stillwater in 2011, according to Minnesota Public Radio News.

Photo Credit: Getty Images]]>
<![CDATA[Boston Police Officer in Surgery]]> Sun, 29 Mar 2015 19:12:14 -0400 http://media.nbcmiami.com/images/213*120/John+Moynihan.jpg

A Boston police officer honored for his role in the aftermath of the Boston Marathon bombings is in stable and improving condition after undergoing successful surgery.

Officer John T. Moynihan, 34, was critically injured Friday night during a shootout in the city's Roxbury neighborhood. He had been in a medically induced coma at Boston Medical Center since the shooting.

Boston Police Commissioner William Evans met with doctors Sunday, who told him the bullet was removed from his neck after several hours of surgery.

Moynihan is expected to get out of intensive care in the days ahead.

"I'm thankful to the doctors and medical team at Boston Medical Center for taking such good care of my officer," said Evans in a statement. "I was happy to hear that he made it through surgery without any complications, it shows you what a strong kid he is and what a great medical team they have here."

A healing service was held for Moynihan Sunday morning at St. Patrick's Church in Roxbury to coincide with the scheduled surgery. Many law enforcement officers were present to support their brother in blue.

The shootout took place after police say they tried to make a traffic stop on Humboldt Avenue around 6:40 p.m. Friday. According to authorities, the suspect, later identified as 41-year-old Angelo West, exited his vehicle and opened fire at police.

Moynihan was shot below his right eye. Police returned fire and West, who had a history with violence towards law enforcement, was killed in the shooting. A middle-aged woman was also caught in the crossfire as she drove by, suffering a flesh wound to her right arm. Evans said Friday that she was fine and in good spirits.

A decorated Iraq war veteran, Moynihan has been with the Boston Police Department since 2008, currently serving on the department's Youth Violence Strike Force. MBTA Officer Dic Donohue, who was injured in the manhunt after the Boston Marathon bombings, confirmed to necn that Moynihan helped rescue him in 2013. The following year, Moynihan received the Nation's Top Cops Award from President Barack Obama, followed by the Boston Police Medal of Honor.

Saturday, Donohue expressed his gratitude to Moynihan and sent his best wishes.

"John played a part in saving my life, and that's something I will never forget," he said in a statement to necn. "His record of service speaks for itself. Everyone is wishing him well and we know he has the strength to pull through."

Police said Friday that two suspects besides West were in custody "on unrelated matters." No further information has been available about them.

Photo Credit: Boston Police
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<![CDATA[Coney Island Coaster Gets Stuck]]> Mon, 30 Mar 2015 06:25:39 -0400 http://media.nbcmiami.com/images/213*120/032915coney.jpg

The legendary Coney Island Cyclone gave passengers a scare Sunday when it got stuck on its first public run of the season, forcing a number of riders to climb down the wooden structure on foot.

All the passengers - attending what were to have been leisurely festivities to mark the reopening of Luna Park for the season - appeared to have escaped the roller coaster unharmed. But some said the slow climb from high up on the open structure left them feeling shaken.

"It was terrifying, because I was up there and everything was spinning," Gabriella Centeno said after she reached solid ground. "I didn't know what to do."

Anna Dartany said the park staffers' assistance made climbing down possible.

"I'm scared of heights," she said, "but with their help I made it down. ... This was insane."

Angie Morris, brand manager at Luna Park, said the historic roller coaster had undergone tests over the past month ahead of Sunday's season opening. Such a problem hadn't occurred for a very long time, she said, although she declined to specify how long.

She said the Cyclone would be back up and running within a matter of hours.

Despite the less-than-summery temperatures, longtime fans had flocked to the roller coaster Sunday morning to celebrate the amusement park's reopening and to take advantage of free tickets being offered to the first 100 people who showed up to ride the wooden icon.

<![CDATA[Hit & Run Driver Who Struck Tourist Arrested: Cops]]> Mon, 30 Mar 2015 22:04:41 -0400 http://media.nbcmiami.com/images/213*120/033015+olivia+bennett.jpg

Police have arrested a hit-and-run driver who critically injured a man visiting Miami for Ultra Music Fest early Sunday morning.

Alexander Sanghwan, 22, was in town from Ontario, Canada, for the Ultra Music Festival. Miami-Dade Police said he and his friends had just left a northeast Miami-Dade club around 5:30 a.m. The group was looking for a cab near the intersection of NE 5th Avenue and 180th Street when police said a driver struck Sanghwan and fled the scene without rendering aid.

Olivia Bennett, 26, was arrested and charged with leaving the scene of a crash causing serious bodily injury and reckless driving, police said Monday.

Bennett, who is listed as a dancer on an arrest affidavit,  was being held on $12,500 bond Monday, jail records showed. It was unknown if she has an attorney.

Sanghwan's parents Robbie and Patty Sanghwan were at the hospital Monday morning. They told NBC 6 South Florida they expect to learn today whether their son will need brain surgery.

"He was hit from behind," Sanghwan's mother Patty said. "Didn't have any opportunity, no chance to move out of the way, to defend himself."

Sanghwan was transported to Jackson Memorial Hospital's Ryder Trauma Center with multiple injuries. He was listed in critical condition.

"He came here to have fun and this kind of thing happens," his father Robbie said. "It's unreal."

Police said it is a reminder that leaving the scene of an accident is always a more serious crime.

"Now this driver could be charged with a felony for leaving the scene of an accident," Detective George Wilhelm said, adding that it was a hard enough impact that the driver should have known a crash occurred. "So now they're looking at time in jail when it could have been a simple ticket if they had remained on scene."

Investigators recovered car parts at the scene and believe the driver was behind the wheel of a 2011 navy blue BMW 335i with heavy front-end damage.

The car was later found abandoned in the parking lot of Tootsies Cabaret, police said. Bennett's attorney contacted police saying she wanted to turn herself in, police said.

Bennett doesn't have a Florida driver's license and she was unable to provide proof of a driver's license issued in another state, police said.

Anyone with information is urged to contact Miami-Dade Crime Stoppers at (305) 471-TIPS (8477).

Photo Credit: Miami-Dade Corrections]]>
<![CDATA[Train Derailment Wreckage Cleared]]> Sun, 29 Mar 2015 12:05:09 -0400 http://media.nbcmiami.com/images/213*120/150328-6pm-metro-train-crash_1200x675_419651651872.jpg

The wreckage from the crash in Southern California between a metro train and a car, which left one person in grave condition Saturday, has been cleared.

The collision occurred when the train hit a car that turned in front of it in Exposition Park.

In addition to the person who was reportedly near death, 20 other people were also injured.

The train operator was hospitalized in serious condition, said Shawn Lenske of the Los Angeles City Fire Department.

He was later released and was recuperating at home, according to Metro spokesman Jose Ubaldo. He identified the operator as Kenneth Goss, a 29-year Metro veteran who is in his mid-50s.

Nineteen other people, all train passengers, suffered minor injuries in the 10:50 a.m. crash and eight of them were taken to hospitals, Lenske said.

The train hit the Hyundai at a traffic signal between USC and the Museum of Natural History.

Ubaldo told City News Service the car and the train both were heading east, when the car made a left turn toward the USC gate and was hit by the electric light rail vehicle.

Witnesses said after the Hyundai made an improper turn, it became wedged between a pole and the train, which derailed, according to the Sgt. Mike Verlich of Los Angeles County Sheriff's Department.

Left turns such as that are regulated by a left turn arrow, and there are flashing alarms for approaching trains, which get stop signals if cars are turning across the grade crossing.

After the wreck, a picture shot from a USC office building across the street, and posted on the Internet, showed a crushed car on the westbound tracks at the Watt Drive signal, and a stopped train on the tracks usually used by trains heading from Culver City to downtown Los Angeles.

The crash was next to the Exposition Park Rose Garden, about halfway between the tunnel under Figueroa Street, and Vermont Street.

Expo Line service in both directions was cut, and firefighters were warned a half hour after the crash that the train line's overhead power supply could not be immediately cut off. The train's electric arms had been retracted but firefighters were warned that low voltage batteries might still be a hazard, firefighters were told.

Buses were being used as a ``bridge'' to ferry passengers around the wreck.

Regular service on the Expo line wasn't expected to be restored until about 4:30 a.m. Sunday, Ubaldo said.

Crews will have to de-energize both tracks to replaced a damaged traffic signal pole and officials wanted to wait until spectators, many of whom relied on mass transit, left a sold out Mexico-Ecuador soccer game that was played tonight at the Los Angeles Memorial Coliseum, Ubaldo said.

The game ended about 8:30 p.m.

Crews would be working through the night to complete repairs and reopen
the line, Ubaldo said.

<![CDATA[Officer Driving Police Cruiser While Intoxicated: Police]]> Sat, 28 Mar 2015 23:54:16 -0400 http://media.nbcmiami.com/images/213*120/WEB+darryl+cathey+police+officer+dui.jpg

A Philadelphia Police officer was charged with driving under the influence after another officer watched him driving a marked police vehicle with flat tires and smelled alcohol on his breath early Saturday, said Lt. John Stanford.

The 12th District officer, identified as 26-year-old Darryl Cathey, pulled up to 6500 block of Woodland Avenue, just after midnight in southwest Philadelphia in a marked police cruiser with three flat tires and bent rims, said Stanford.

A sergeant from the district was at the location and saw the car's damage and smelled alcohol on the man's breath.

Cathey also indicated he did not know his tires were flat and he was driving the police cruiser on the rims, authorities said. He also had bloodshot eyes, police said.

This isn't the first time the 6-year department veteran has faced charges. In November 2011, Cathey was arrested for allegedly assaulting his ex-girlfriend. He was fired that same year, but got his job back in 2013 through arbitration.

Cathey struggled with the sergeant and other officers early Saturday morning while being taken into custody. He was charged with DUI and is being investigated by accident division and internal affairs, according to Stanford. He is expected to be charged with aggravated and simple assault and reckless endangerment in addition to the DUI charge.

"The department takes these type of incidents seriously and behavior that doesn't conform with department policy will not be tolerated," said Lt. Stanford. "The appropriate action will be taken against this officer as soon as all charges are filed."

Philadelphia Police Commissioner Charles Ramsey will suspend Cathey for 30 days with intent to dismiss. 

Bail has been set at $5,000. Cathey is scheduled to appear in court April 13.

<![CDATA[Teen Stabbed Mom to Death: Police]]> Sat, 28 Mar 2015 21:59:12 -0400 http://media.nbcmiami.com/images/213*120/Philadelphia+Ambulance+Generic+Medic+15.JPG

A teen, who neighbors say suffered years of abuse, killed his mother and put his grandmother in the hospital in a stabbing attack in their feces-covered Pennsylvanian home Friday, police said.

Police charged 19-year-old Zachary Pritchett of Bridesburg with murder, criminal homicide, aggravated assault and related offenses.

Neighbors on the 2800 block of Reynolds Street-- many who claim they often heard yelling coming from the home -- heard screams Friday morning and called police.

Pritchett directed responding officers to the second floor where they found 53-year-old Melizza Wiley dead from multiple stab wounds to her face, neck and upper torso, according to officials.

The teen's 73-year-old grandmother, who was in a hospital-type bed in the first floor living room, had also been stabbed in the face, neck and upper torso. Medics rushed her to Aria Torresdale Hospital, where she remains in critical, but stable condition, officials said.

Investigators told NBC10 police have visited the home several times in the past. Several others who live on the block claimed they called police and the Department of Human Services, because they were concerned for the teen's welfare.

"I called DHS many times," said Kelly McGrath, a neighbor. "I know other neighbors who have called. I also called the school board to inquire about his homeschooling."

The home reportedly did not have running water and the gas was shut off.

"He wasn't born with outward signs of problems, physical or mental or developmental," said McGrath, who recalled one instance when Pritchett, as a young boy, was "playing" with another child.

"Zach stood and looked out the front storm door and the other kid would play with his cars. And Zach just watched him and that's how he played," she said. "We all said something bad is going to happen."

Pritchett rarely left the home, according to multiple neighbors.

The teen had lacerations on his hand from the incident and was treated at Aria Torresdale Hospital and released.  When officers first arrived at the home, Pritchett told them three unknown men entered the house and attacked the family, investigators said.

Many in the community have said they hope authorities consider the years of alleged abuse Pritchett suffered in their investigation.

"The ones of us who knew what was happening," McGrath said, "are all in support of him getting some sort of help rather than incarceration."

Photo Credit: NBC10]]>
<![CDATA[10 in Hospital, SoCal Train Crash]]> Sun, 29 Mar 2015 03:37:53 -0400 http://media.nbcmiami.com/images/213*120/03-28-15+Train+Crash+LA+Times+Photo+%284%29.JPG

A University of Southern California film student was hospitalized in "grave" condition after the car he was riding in was crushed by a Metro train near the school’s campus Saturday, officials said. Nine people aboard the commuter train were also taken to hospitals after the crash, including the train operator.

The collision was reported just before 11 a.m. near the intersection of Exposition Boulevard and Vermont Avenue, officials with the Los Angeles Fire Department said.

Investigators say the 31-year-old driver, who has not been identified, may have made an "improper turn" to his left, crossed the tracks and collided  with the train, said Sgt. Michael Verlich of the Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department

The car became wedged between the train and a pole, causing the train to come off the tracks and trapping the driver inside the mangled vehicle.

"It was just like a big, loud crash of metal," said USC freshman Johnny Stevens, who saw the aftermath from his dorm room. "It was huge so we knew it wasn't just a car crash. We figured something big happened, so we looked out our window and we saw half of a car smashed into the rail."

In all, 21 people received medical attention, LAFD Assistant Chief Don Frazeur said. 

The driver, who is also a military veteran, was taken to the hospital in "grave" condition after being rescued from the crumpled Hyundai Sonata.

The train operator, identified as Kenneth Goss, was recovering at home with his family after being treated at the hospital for injuries that were described as "serious." He has worked for Metro for 29 years, said Metro spokesman Jose Ubaldo.

Eight others were taken to the hospital to be treated for minor injuries. Several others were treated at the scene.

LAFD officials initially said two cars had been involved in the crash with the train, but later changed that number to one.

About 100 passengers were on the train at the time of the wreck, Ubaldo said.

The crash interrupted additional Metro train service for a crowd of 80,000 at the Mexico versus Ecuador soccer match at the Los Angeles Memorial Coliseum.

Metro officials warned commuters to expect major delays on the Expo Line. Bus shuttles were requested between Jefferson Boulevard and Vermont Avenue. The line was expected to reopen by midnight, said Metro spokesman Jose Ubaldo.

NBC4's Irene Moore contributed to this report.

Photo Credit: Irfan Khan / Los Angeles Times]]>