Two people die after crash in Jacksonville Beach

JACKSONVILLE BEACH, Fla. --- The Jacksonville Beach Police Department is investigating a double traffic fatality. According to Police, the crash happened at 12:30 AM at 11th Avenue, South and A1A.

Police say a Honda Accord driven John Groves, 31, was northbound on AIA at a high rate of speed and witnesses reported he was driving recklessly. At 11th Ave., South, the Honda crossed the median into the southbound lane. The Honda struck a VW Golf, driven by Bloneva Palmer, 27, who was headed southbound in the inside lane. Palmer was killed instantly.

The fire department had to extract and cut the driver of the Honda out of the car. He was life-flighted to UF Shands where he died a short time later.

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U.S. Coast Guard ends official search for missing boater

ATLANTIC BEACH, Fla. -- The official search for a missing boater from Atlantic Beach has been suspended.

RELATED: Beach community rallies in search of missing boater

The United States Coast Guard issued the following statement overnight Thursday in reference to its attempt to find Peter Rodrigues:

"Despite the exceptional efforts of our many different partner agencies and volunteers from across the region, we made the difficult decision to suspend our search. Our thoughts and prayers are with the Rodrigues family during this very difficult time. Tragically, this case highlights the dangers of venturing out on the water alone."

Alleged hit & run drunk driver to appear in court

ID=13861143ATLANTIC BEACH, Fla. -- One man is facing several charges after police said he drove drunk and crashed into a clothing store.

According to jail records, the charges against Lareese Japell Fields, 42, include leaving the scene of an accident, reckless driving and DUI with property damage.

On Sunday at approximately 1 a.m., police were called to the 300 block of Atlantic Boulevard at State Road A1A for a vehicle that struck a business.

Human Rights Ordinance clears hurdle in Atlantic Beach

ATLANTIC BEACH, Fla. -- An ordinance prohibiting discrimination for members of the LGBT community in Atlantic Beach cleared its first hurdle Monday.

"It makes a statement that leaders are willing to go on record saying these are important protections," said Judy Sheklin with the Jacksonville Coalition for Equality.

In a 3-2 vote, commissioners voted for the ordinance which protects LGBT residents and tourists against discrimination when it comes to housing, jobs and services.

The ordinance goes up for a second vote in August.

To read the ordinance, click here.


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Police locate sexual battery suspect

JACKSONVILLE, Fla. -- The Jacksonville Beach Police Department located a man sought in connection with a possible sexual battery.

Police were searching for a man who allegedly sexually assaulted a woman around 3 a.m. Tuesday morning near 6th Avenue North. The victim claimed to have sustained several injuries during the assault.

The man accused in the alleged assault was located and interviewed by the Jacksonville Beach Police Department. No charges have been filed and the investigation is ongoing.

Viral video inspires beachgoers to protect their property

JACKSONVILLE BEACH, Fla. -- A viral video shows the owner of a tent confronting two women accused of trying to steal it. Here at home, beach-goers say that video, combined with the summer beach crowds, makes them think twice about leaving personal belongings unattended.

"It's unfortunate because if you want to go in the water, you don't want to feel like you're stuff is going to get stolen," said Brandie Todd.

While First Coast News was at the beach, we found lots of personal possessions with no owner in sight. Jacksonville Beach Ocean Rescue says they're no stranger to theft complaints. Also, the Jacksonville Beach Police Department says thieves typically wait for people to get deep in the water before moving in and taking a bag or purse.

That's why Todd, and many others we spoke with said they never are far from their belongings.

Memorial service held for hit and run victim

JACKSONVILLE BEACH, Fla. -- A memorial service will be held at 11 a.m. Tuesday for 25-year-old Daniel Stein at Hardage-Giddens Hendricks Chapel.

Stein died after being hit by a car at Jacksonville Beach Saturday morning at the intersection of State Road A1A and 13th Avenue North.

Police say a black, unknown type of Mercedes struck and killed Stein as he was crossing the road.

Police say the vehicle may have sustained damage to its passenger side mirror as a result of the crash.

"Just absolutely unbelievable. Just…I mean, I still can't believe it to be honest with you. Heartbroken," said Heather Anne Callaway, a friend and former manager of Stein's.