Here in Florida, we love our beach-dwelling turistas. They’re the economic lifeblood in a state where all we’ve got to sell is sunshine. But our law enforcement officials have a grim tradition of using tourists as speed bumps. For the City of Miami Beach, it’s been a costly sport, for beachgoers and taxpayers alike.
In Volusia County, law enforcement officers aren’t the sole culprits, because it’s still legal for the public to drive their vehicles on the beach. Volusia is the home of world famous Daytona Beach. Famous, in part, for being the location of Dale Earnhardt’s racecar crash death at the 2001 Daytona 500.
As the county website says, “Driving on the beaches of the Daytona Beach and New Smyrna Beach areas is a Volusia County tradition dating back to the early days of the automobile.” You know, when cars topped out at about 10 miles per hour.
This week, the county reached a settlement with a woman who was hit by a Volusia Beach Patrol truck in 2010. The patrolman veered his Ford pickup out of the travel lanes and rolled over the lady’s beach chair, breaking her leg and injuring her chest and head.
The county admitted “clear liability” and the woman, whose medical bills are over $64,000, will receive $100,000, while her husband collects $20,000 for “the loss of his wife’s assistance and companionship.”
Since this incident, two others have been hit by Volusia Beach Patrol officers making U-turns: one drove over a Spring Breaker’s arm and another ran over a sunbather’s head.
Now, just in case you think the accountability ends with the taxpayers who pay the officer who hit the woman, the patrolman responsible received a citation for “careless driving” and was suspended from his job. For three days.
Welcome to "This Week in Florida."
- Perhaps I spoke to soon about our lack of industry here. Law enforcement officials say that South Florida is exporting criminals nationwide.
- At the Republican National Convention in Tampa this week, police outnumbered protestors 4-1. Perhaps all those cops came out on their own time to check out the protesters greeting delegates while dressed as giant vaginas with signs that said “Read My Lips.” Either that or the cops were hungry:
Some protesters (literally) baited officers with donuts on fishing poles.
- Or they were concerned about guys like this: one protestor was allegedly arrested with this machete strapped to his leg…
- After all the media build-up over the RNC generating more business for Tampa strip clubs than the Super Bowl, strippers were bitching about the low turnout. Instead of making it rain, they got rained out. I just blew my pun allotment for the week in one bullet. Hehehe…I said “blew” (I’m gonna get docked next week for that one)
- During some of the convention speeches, it was easy to get confused as to whether “We Built This” or “Jesus Built This” (I know several carpenters named Jesus, so I suppose anything is possible). One thing Jesus did do, according to a Florida pastor, is respond to prayers to push Tropical Storm Isaac away from Tampa. She neglected to mention whether or not those prayers included requests to push the storm directly towards Louisiana exactly seven years to the day that Katrina struck.
- Among the 89 arrested in an RNC-related Lakeland prostitution crackdown was Polk County high school principal Cecil McClellan Jr. He’s allegedly seen on surveillance video in a motel room meeting an undercover officer posing as a hooker while he’s wearing a polo shirt with his school’s logo on it.
- A man at the Orlando airport attempted to smuggle 27 snakes on a plane to Brazil by wrapping the serpents in stockings and hiding them inside old stereo speakers. They showed up on the x-ray machine. When asked to comment, Samuel L. Jackson had this to say (sorry, couldn’t resist).
- Storage Wars meets Silence of the Lambs as parts from over 100 bodies were discovered in a unit at Uncle Bob’s Storage in Pensacola after an auction. The unit was originally rented by a doctor who spent six years working in the Pensacola medical examiner’s office before being fired for what I’ve no doubt were good fucking reasons.
Here’s a pair of stories Matt Drudge would label "Les Misérables":
- A hungry guy in Brooksville entered a Publix supermarket, got an “Ultimate Sub” from the deli, walked into the restroom and then exited nine minutes later. With the sandwich in his belly. He was charged with retail theft and trespassing.
- A homeless man in Ocala was not only hungry, but unfortunately also on probation. That means his $2 heist of a Twix and Snickers bar will cost him 180 days in jail. And cost taxpayers tens of thousands of dollars. I’ll volunteer to pay the victim’s two bucks in restitution if it’ll get him released any sooner.
- I dare you to not start singing “I Ran (So Far Away)” after you read this: A plane was forced to return to St. Pete-Clearwater Airport after hitting a flock of seagulls on takeoff. I walked along the avenue…
- The Miami Dolphins team plane crashed into another jet on the tarmac at the Dallas airport after they lost their fourth and final preseason game to the Cowboys. Everybody’s okay and ready to lose again next week.
- You read it here months ago, but no worries, the federal government still spent our money to finance a study to tell us what we all already know: “No area of the U.S. cheats Medicare more than South Florida.” Miami-Dade commissioners are considering making that the county slogan.
- A victim of the notorious Miami Gardens Fix-A-Flat doctor is speaking out – to promote a transgender telenovela he/she is co-starring in. Just as the “doctor” him/her/itself is released on bond.
- The Miami Marlins have a half-billion dollar publicly financed stadium and tickets selling for as little as 75 cents.
- Looking for your missing teen? They’re probably in Florida with a registered sex offender like the 17-year-old runaway boy just found at a Clermont gas station with a 31-year-old man who previously served 8 years for raping a child under 12.
- Florida State University Seminoles head football coach Jimbo Fisher, in an effort to explain his social media ban for the team, awkwardly compares twitter to a “loaded gun.” All the odder since one of the incidents that led to the embargo involved a player tweeting hip-hop lyrics about killing cops.