It’s Thursday, November 4th - and NBC 6 has the top stories for the day.
No. 1 - Three people were rushed to the hospital after a driver lost control and struck several people sitting outside a Hollywood restaurant Tuesday night, police said.
The crash happened around 8:45 p.m. as the driver was heading east through the alley between Harrison Street and Hollywood Boulevard at South 20th Avenue, police said. The driver somehow lost control and struck several pedestrians who were sitting outside a restaurant, police said. Video posted on social media showed police officers and first responders at the scene working to help the pedestrians. Police say the driver was also taken to the hospital. Traffic homicide is investigating this case to see if the driver will face charges.
No. 2 - In a state famous for election recounts, just 9 votes separated the leading candidates Wednesday in the Democratic primary in South Florida for the U.S. House seat of the late Alcee Hastings, elections officials said.
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By law, that means there will be a hand recount of ballots that tabulating machines read as having no votes or too many votes to determine if there is evidence of voter intention. The unofficial returns reported by Palm Beach and Broward county elections officials showed Broward County Commissioner Dale Holness ahead of health care company CEO Sheila Cherfilus-McCormick by 12 votes. Broward County Supervisor of Elections Joe Scott said it appears only 9 votes separate the two. While ballots cast by members of the military and other overseas Florida residents can be counted if received within 10 days of the election, that number is expected to be small.
No. 3 - The daughter of congressional candidate Holness pled guilty Wednesday to obtaining hundreds of thousands of dollars in coronavirus relief loans by submitting false tax and payroll information for her consulting business, federal prosecutors said.
Damara Holness, 28, of Fort Lauderdale, pled guilty to a charge of conspiracy to commit wire fraud, according to the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of Florida. Her sentencing is scheduled for January 2022. If convicted, she faces up to 20 years in prison and a fine of up to $250,000. Holness applied for a $300,000 Paycheck Protection Program (PPP) loan in June 2020 on behalf of her Plantation-based consulting business Holness Consulting, Inc., prosecutors said. On the loan application, Holness claimed the company employed 18 people and spent an average of $120,000 each month on payroll, prosecutors said. The company has zero employees and no payroll expenses.
No. 4 - Gov. Ron DeSantis is calling on the Florida's legislature to pass more election reforms, including a creating a state office to investigate and prosecute election crimes.
DeSantis announced the proposed measures at a news conference in West Palm Beach Wednesday morning. The governor said the office would investigate issues like ballot harvesting, which he wants the legislature to make a third-degree felony. It's currently a misdemeanor. DeSantis said he also wants to impose time frames for county supervisors of elections to clean voter rolls. In May, DeSantis signed a Republican-backed elections bill that places restrictions on voting by mail and ballot drop boxes.
No. 5 - It's not just bars and clubs on Ocean Drive that will be affected if Miami Beach implements an alcohol curfew. Though much of the focus has been on the popular strip, businesses elsewhere in the city are worried about the cutback.
On Tuesday, a majority of voters fed up with nighttime violence chose “Yes” to rolling back the 5 a.m. closing time for alcohol sales to 2 a.m. Behrouz Nazari owns the bar, located on Washington Avenue, with his wife Megan. The roll back has him worried about his business, revenue and staff. The voter referendum was held Tuesday in response to increasingly raucous crowds and public drinking in the South Beach entertainment district, where tension has been bubbling for years as party crowds grew from a few weekends into a year-round presence. To hear why some business owners agree, click here for the story from NBC 6 reporter Jamie Guirola.
No. 6 - Da'Realis Dennard is finally back home and feeling like himself again, but the 17-year-old almost died of heart failure, spending over three months in a South Florida hospital.
Dennard has a rare genetic condition called Kearns-Sayre syndrome, which can cause muscular issues, especially affecting the eyes and heart. Basically, his heart was too weak to work on its own and he was having severe heart failure. After he was transferred from another hospital, Dr. Svetlana Shugh - a pediatric heart failure and transplant cardiologist at Joe DiMaggio Children's Hospital - stepped in and helped Dennard find a life-saving solution. To hear how the teen became the first patient in Florida to receive the treatment, click here for the story from NBC 6 reporter Amanda Plasencia.