Florida governor declares state of emergency as Erika nears

TALLAHASSEE, Fla. -- Governor Rick Scott has declared a state of emergency in Florida as Tropical Storm Erika nears. Scott issued Executive Order 15-173 declaring a state of emergency in every county within the state in preparation for Erika.  To view Executive Order 15-713, click here.   

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Tropical Storm Erika's track continues close to the First Coast

Tropical Storm Erika's track continues close to the First Coast

Tropical Storm Erika's projected path continues to bring the center of the storm perilously close to the First Coast.

As of the 8 a.m. update on Friday, the National Hurricane Center says Erika was located near latitude 17.7 North, longitude 68.5 West. Erika is moving toward the west-northwest near 17 mph and this general motion is expected to continue for the next 48 hours.

Maximum sustained winds are near 50 mph with higher gusts. Some weakening is forecast Friday as Erika moves over land, followed by little change in strength through Saturday. Tropical storm force winds extend outward up to 150 miles to the north and east of the center.

First Coast New meteorologist Lindsey Boetsch says the latest track shows Erika shift to the west with the First Coast still in the cone of concern. It is still unsure which path Erika will take and the next 24 hours will be very telling.

St. Augustine double murder suspect in custody

St. Augustine double murder suspect in custody

ST. AUGUSTINE, Fla. -- Hours before his wife and a family friend were shot to death inside a South Bellagio Drive home Thursday, a St. Augustine man suspected in their killing had been in court pleading no contest to violating an injunction for protection against domestic violence ordered by a judge last month, court records show.

Suspect in double murder of wife and friend in court hours before shooting

Suspect in double murder of wife and friend in court hours before shooting

ST. AUGUSTINE, Fla. -- Hours before his wife and a family friend were shot to death inside a South Bellagio Drive home Thursday, a St. Augustine man suspected in their killing had been in court pleading no contest to violating an injunction for protection against domestic violence ordered by a judge last month, court records show.

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Ebron charged in plot to escape from jail

Ebron charged in plot to escape from jail

JACKSONVILLE, Fla. – The chief suspect in the disappearance of 21-month-old Lonzie Barton faces new charges following his arrest for an alleged plot to escape from the Duval County Pretrial Detention Facility.

William “Ruben” Ebron, 32, is accused of concocting a plot to stash keys in his sock and mouth and then use them to slip out of his handcuffs, jump out of a jail van and escape in a getaway car, according to a Jacksonville Sheriff’s Office arrest report.

Investigators found out about the plan Monday when another inmate came forward with multiple recorded conversations detailing how Ebron allegedly planned to escape from custody. “Ebron directed the inmate to have the getaway car placed east of the jail,” the report said.

Ebron was arrested Thursday on charges of attempted escape from a jail, criminal conspiracy, unlawful possession of a concealed handcuff key, and smuggling contraband into a detention facility, all felonies, jail records show.

City unveils $37 million plan to repair collapsed Liberty Street


JACKSONVILLE, Fla.- A $37 million project that would permanently repair downtown's collapsed Liberty Street and expand the area's riverfront got early approval from the City Council on Wednesday.

Council President Greg Anderson, along with top officials from Mayor Lenny Curry's administration, unveiled the plan to a council panel reviewing next year's budget, calling it a crucial investment to fix two failing downtown bridges that have become a "dangerous and ugly reminder" of the city's neglected infrastructure.

"We could transform a showcase for blight into a showpiece for our city," Anderson said.

The council panel unanimously approved including the project in next year's budget. If the full council approves the plan, the city would begin work immediately and complete it within 30 months.

JSO: False bomb threat reported near Hemming Park


JACKSONVILLE, Fla. — Reports of a bomb on the 100 block W. Monroe Street downtown near Hemming Park turned out to be false, according to Jacksonville Sheriff's Office.

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The suspicious package was found on the corner of Laura Street and W. Monroe Street.

Police said they got a call about a bomb threat Thursday night. After searching the area, they determined the threat wasn't credible.

The area has since reopened.