Car hopper busted in Ponte Vedra

PONTE VEDRA, Fla. – A Duval County teen is facing multiple charges for allegedly burglarizing cars in Ponte Vedra early Wednesday morning.

Deputies with the St. Johns County Sheriff's Office responded to The Fountains Condominiums after a resident reported seeing two men looking into cars in the parking lot and checking for unlocked car doors, according to a release from the St. Johns County Sheriff's Office.

Deputies arrived and noticed two subjects standing near a Jeep, who fled to the rear of the complex on foot when they noticed law enforcement. One of the suspects, identified as 19-year-old Dherick David Lockett, was spotted near The Fountains entrance by a deputy a short time later and was taken into custody without further incident. The second subject has not been located or identified.

According to the SJSO, at least four vehicles had been entered at the complex.

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Services Wednesday for beloved Ponte Vedra principal

PONTE VEDRA BEACH, Fla. -- Services for long-time Ponte Vedra High School principal Craig Speziale were held Wednesday at 3:30 p.m. at San Juan Del Rio Catholic Church.

In lieu of flowers, Speziale's family is asking mourners to please make donations to the Craig Speziale Memorial Scholarship Fund, Ponte Vedra High School, 460 Davis Park Rd, Ponte Vedra, Florida 32081.

Speziale died Saturday morning after a lengthy battle with cancer.

Speziale was 52-years-old.

"He was an inspirational leader for teachers and students. The school has lost someone very special. He embodied the professionalism and dedication to not only open Ponte Vedra High School in 2007, but he encouraged students and staff to believe they could accomplish anything," said Christina Langston, Director of Community Relations for the St. Johns County School District.

World's best golf destinations: Vote for your favorite

Voting ends Monday at noon in USA TODAY's 10Best Readers' Choice contest for 'Best Golf Destination.' The contest coincided with the 2014 Masters at Augusta National. 20 golf destinations, each of which has at least one supreme public course, were chosen by an expert panel. Panel members were USA TODAY golf writer Steve DiMeglio; pro and former PGA champion Rich Beem; golf pro Olle Nordlund; and USA TODAY sports staffer and avid golfer Tyler Kupper.

The public can vote once a day until Monday at noon. To vote or see all the nominees, click here or visit

Here's the full list of nominees:

Bandon, Ore.

Coeur D'Alene, Idaho

Whale washes ashore in Ponte Vedra

PONTE VEDRA BEACH, Fla. -- A humpback whale has washed ashore in Ponte Vedra Beach near Mickler's Landing.

According to Nadia Gordon with the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission (FWC), the humpback whale is 31-feet long and badly decomposed.

A crew from FWC was collecting samples from the body Saturday afternoon, and plans to anchor the whale overnight in order to complete the autopsy Sunday.

Gordon said humpback whales wash ashore in northeast Florida about once every 1-2 years, so it is somewhat rare.

Friday in Jacksonville beach a dead dolphin washed ashore in Jacksonville Beach.

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Breaking ground for assisted living in Ponte Vedra

PONTE VEDRA, Fla. -- A new assisted living facility and nursing home will be built at 405 Solana Road on a 4.5 acre lot in Ponte Vedra.

Friday, there was a ground breaking for the facility that will be called the Palms at Ponte Vedra.

It's located between TPC Sawgrass and the Ponte Vedra Inn and Club.

The new facility is expected to create 150 construction jobs and 100 permanent jobs when it is at capacity with senior residents.

Steve Sell is the Managing Partner with Solana Capital Ventures, the project's developer. He said he hopes the facility will fill a need in Ponte Vedra for quality senior care.

The $14.8 million project will include an
84,000 square foot building that will have two stories with 24 memory beds and 70 assisted living beds.

Mother says her child witnessed her classmate's accident at bus stop

UPDATE 3/27/14: Eight-year-old Grace Barmad was released from the hospital late Wednesday and diagnosed with a concussion. Her parents say she is very sore and has significant bruising all over her body.

Her mother and stepfather say she is in good spirits overall and feel fortunate because things could have been a lot worse.

Grace's stepfather, Ty Votaw, said this is a lesson to us all to be more mindful of school buses. Grace's mother said Grace is concerned about the 17-year-old who put her in the hospital as he was probably just as scared as she was.

Original story below:

8-year-old hit by car going around school bus

PONTE VEDRA BEACH, Fla. -- An 8-year-old Ocean Palms Elementary School student was hit by a car after getting off the school bus on Tuesday afternoon.

A 17-year-old driver is facing charges after he allegedly failed to stop as children were exiting a school bus in the 100 block of North Roscoe Boulevard at 3:20 p.m., according to a report from the Florida Highway Patrol.

The teen struck the 8-year-old girl and sent her to Wolfson Children's Hospital in serious condition, according to the FHP report and Jeremy Robshaw with St. Johns County Fire Rescue. First Coast News has reached out to Wolfson for a condition update on the child.