Most years see a litany of salacious stories across South Florida and 2014 was no different. From Justin Bieber being put in the pokey to controversy surrounding President Barack Obama’s decision to swap prisoners for Alan Gross, 2014 had a little bit of everything.
Here are the most clicked stories of 2014 on NBCMiami.com.
- “Justin Bieber Arrested for Drag Racing, DUI in Miami Beach” – after a relatively quiet start to the year, the news and entertainment industry was kicked into overdrive when international pop star Justin Bieber was arrested for drag racing and DUI in late January. The arrest set off a barrage of social media snark, questions about whether he should be deported, and culminated with the “Biebs” smiling while wearing an orange jail jumpsuit.
- “Deputy Shoots Man After Couple Caught Having Sex in Pool” – in March, a deputy who lived in Boca Raton caught a couple having sex in his pool. After telling the couple to leave, they returned and the man was shot after allegedly hovering over the deputy in a threatening manner.
- “Man Falls into Wood Chipper, Dies” – a tragic story in June made headlines when a landscaping worker fell into a wood chipper in Davie. The man, 42-year-old Hernan Gutierrez, had his whole body pulled through the wood chipper.
- “Slap in Face: Pilot’s Families Balk at Cuban Prisoner Swap” – in mid-December, President Barack Obama made a deal to send members of the “Cuban Five” back to Cuba in a prisoner swap that helped free imprisoned American Alan Gross. The families of the pilots that were shot down by Cuban MiGs decried the deal as did Republican Congresswoman Ileana Ros-Lehtinen.
- “Woman Found Living on Boat in Key West After 18 Years on the Run: Deputies” – in late March, Michelle Singleton, 66, of Kansas City, was discovered living on a houseboat in Key West. She had been living for almost two decades in Key West after failing to appear in federal court for sentencing on charges of payroll check fraud in March 1996.
- "Florida Teen’s Facebook Post Costs Father $80,000” – speech may be free, but what you post on Facebook may cost you and your family quite a bit. A Florida teen learned that the hard way after she violated terms of a settlement by posting on Facebook that the losing side, Gulliver Prep, “is now officially paying for my vacation to Europe this summer. SUCK IT!” The post invalidated the settlement and the family never received the money.
- "Florida Man Burned After His Dog Catches Fire: BSO” – in February, a Broward County man suffered second degree burns after he tried to save his dog, Ruby, after the pooch accidentally caught fire. The dog was being treated with flea and tick spray and as its owner was trying to burn a tick off the floor, the pooch caught fire.
- “Human Foot Found in Shoe at Jupiter Island” – a few weeks before the Bieber brouhaha, the big mystery in South Florida was what led to a shoe containing a human foot being found on a South Florida beach. The foot was later linked to a boater who had gone missing a few weeks before 2014 began.
- “Cops Search for Man Who Urinated on People Near University of Florida Campus” – several victims were really, um, ticked off, after a man urinated on them as they were standing near the campus of the University of Florida. The serial peer struck multiple times around the Gainesville campus.
- “Woman Sets Boyfriend on Fire in Clearwater Police” – an October argument between a couple in Clearwater ended when the woman used nail polish remover as an accelerant and set her boyfriend on fire with either a lighter or cigarette. The man suffered burns on his face, chest, and shoulders.
What will 2015 hold? If it’s like any other year in news in Florida, there’s no telling what is in store as the calendar rolls over at midnight.