News

Teen orphaned after fatal accident

JACKSONVILLE, Fla. -- Rabbi Yaakove Fisch said he was the one who had tell teenager Orly that her mom, Esther Ohayon, 57, died at the scene of an accident Friday night.

The condition of the 16-year-old girl hit at San Jose and Haley is improving, and her Rabbi is working to create change at the crosswalk where she was struck, but breaking the news was tough for Fisch. 

"It was obviously one of the hardest things I've ever done, probably the hardest thing," said Rabbi Fisch. 

Orly was in critical condition at UF Health up until Sunday when her status became stable. Even though she's recovering from the accident and dealing with the loss of her mother, Rabbi Fisch says she is staying strong.  

San Jose solutions on the table for discussion

JACKSONVILLE, Fla. -- A Mandarin community is a step closer making changes at the crosswalk on San Jose Boulevard and Haley Road where a woman was killed Friday.

Several options for the crosswalk were discussed between Rabbi Yaakove Fisch and the Department of Transportation Tuesday, although no decisions have been made, Fisch says there is hope.

About 60 families with young children cross the San Jose Boulevard and Haley Road crosswalk for temple every week at the Etz Chaim Synagogue, according to Rabbi Fisch. 

"Many of these families have young children, so keep in mind as long as it takes for a pedestrian to walk across the street. with young children it's that much longer," said Fisch. 

Man who struck, killed 6-year old also struck pair in Mandarin

JACKSONVILLE, Fla. -- A local family is reliving the horror of a 2009 pedestrian accident that claimed the life of their 6-year-old daughter.

Dena and Tony Grossie learned that four years after 66-year-old Michael Fortunato struck and killed Kaitlyn Springer, he allegedly struck two other pedestrians less than a mile from where their daughter was hit.

"It makes me sick to my stomach that somebody else has lost their life by the same person," said Dena Grossie.

Four Christmases have come and gone since 6-year-old Kaitlyn was killed. 

"I'm still trying to cope with it. My daughter would have been 10 and just to think what she would have been like and those years that I've missed, that I could have had with her, just by somebody being impatient and not paying attention," said Grossie.

It was December 19, 2009.

City proposes plan for St. Johns River cleanup

JACKSONVILLE, Fla. -- Cleanup will soon begin on the St. Johns River thanks to a plan proposed by the city. It comes two years after it was supposed to be released.

Earlier this month tests showed toxins were below the harmful level for recreational exposure but about the threshold for drinking water.

According to the Florida Times Union, it's still unclear how the city will fund the work.  There are construction projects that will cost at least $300 million dollars.

Public Works Director Jim Robinson wrote a letter to the Florida Department of Environmental Protection in September. He said the city is committed to making improvements to the health of the St. Johns river and its tributaries and will meet state-imposed water pollution reduction goals for 2015 and 2023.

Save Our Sons turns attention to absentee fathers

JACKSONVILLE, Fla. -- Ronald Clark, 31, is a barber and the proud father of four children. But Clark is concerned about his relationship with one of the children from a previous relationship.

"I feel there's a void because I have three in the house with me," said Clark, "and one not in the house with me and therefore, there's a lot of time lost."

Clark grew up in a single parent household and knows what it means to have a father MIA, missing in action.

"I only had my Mom and she was terrific," he said, "There were times I wish I had my father."

Clark is now lending his voice to the Save Our Sons' newest initiative: absentee fathers.

"I feel a father is needed in the household, a father is needed in his son's life," her said.

Buckman Bridge gaining popularity on Twitter

In a city of seven bridges, only one has a twitter!

The Henry H. Buckman Bridge or if you follow twitter @BuckmanBridge, call it "Bucky" for short.

"It is kinda of like celebrity status from a bridge, it is pretty cool," says the man behind the twitter account. 

With over 250 followers and growing, the creator is keeping his anonymity.

"I was at a restaurant about a week ago and somebody was talking about the Buckman Bridge re-tweeting one of their tweets and I couldn't help but sit there and smile," he says with a laugh.

Even he admits, he is surprised by how popular the account is becoming.

"Bucky" tries to tweet back at people, often taking them by surprise!

On Your Side: Checking an Officer's identification

CLAY COUNTY, Fla. -- First Coast News got an email from Joyce who said someone disguised as a police officer came to her door, demanding $6,000. She was afraid and eventually gave it to the man.

Captain Joe Bucci, with the Clay County Sheriff's Office, gave tangible information on how you can confirm whether or not someone that comes to your door is an Official Law Enforcement Officer.

According to Bucci:

1) Ask to see a badge and department identification. It'll have a photo with it.

2) Call the dispatch center when the person gives you a badge number to confirm who they are.

3) Ask for a supervisor with dispatch to triple check.

4) When in doubt, if you're not sure, take their information and confirm it inside your home while they wait outside.