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.

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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.

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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.

Suspicious package found in Jacksonville Beach neighborhood


Update: The suspicious package situation has been resolved.

"I was told there was not a device of any kind but I don't have any other information at this time," according to Sgt. Thomas Crumley with the Jacksonville Beach Police Department.

JACKSONVILLE BEACH, Fla. -- Police in Jacksonville Beach responded to reports of a suspicious package near a popular park Monday evening.

The suspicious package was reportedly found the in the 1400 block of Osceola Avenue and caused the closure of Osceola Avenue between South Beach Parkway and America Avenue while the Jacksonville Beach Police Department investigated an area near South Beach Park and Sunshine Playground.

The Jacksonville Sheriff's Office bomb squad also responded to the incident.


Neptune Beach Police increase patrol on America's Birthday


NEPTUNE BEACH, Fla. --- Thousands are celebrating America's birthday and this year, the Neptune Beach Department says they are taking security to the next level. According to officials, 10,000 people are expected on First Street this 4th of July.

Neptune Beach native, Janice, says the extra patrol is necessary.

"I think it's necessary," said Janice.

Janice has been living on Neptune Beach for 16 years and she says these days, it's busier than ever.

"Of course, you can see it's so crowded now. We used to have barely any people on the beach, hardly," said Janice.