Corporal Brian LaVigne, a 31-year veteran of the Hillsborough County Sheriff’s Office died Monday when his car was intentionally hit while responding to a call involving 28-year-old Travis Garrett. Neighbors of Garrett’s in Brandon had called the HCSO when he started acting erratically and violently. Garrett got away from deputies and got into a car, heading down Lumsden Road. Corporal LaVigne was responding to the call when Garrett intentionally crossed two lanes of traffic and hit the Corporal’s marked vehicle on the passengers side. LaVigne died at Tampa General Hospital. He was married with two children, one of whom is a deputy with the HCSO and was set to retire after just one more shift. Garrett has been Baker Acted and will face charges.
Social workers from Gulf Coast Jewish Family and Community Services will soon be with St Petersburg Police officers on nonviolent, non-criminal 911 calls. The pilot program had unanimous approval from City Council last week and is scheduled to run through fall.
There’s a $5,000 reward offered from the Center for Biological Diversity for information leading to the arrest of the person who scratched the word “Trump” onto the skin of a manatee in Homosassa Springs over the weekend. Harming or harassing a manatee is a federal offense with a fine of up to $50,000 and a possible federal prison sentence. If you have any information call the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission at 1-888-404-FWCC. Tips will be forwarded to federal investigators.
The Tampa Bay Lightning open their season Wednesday night against the Chicago Blackhawks at Amalie Arena with no fans in the stands. The decision was made by the Vinik Sports Group, LLC, the parent company of the Tampa Bay Lightning who said due it was due to the rise in COVID-19 cases, Amalie Arena will be closed to fans through at least February 5th, which will also impact the Toronto Raptor’s basketball games.
Another 11,576 coronavirus cases were added Monday in Florida, bringing the state total to 1,488,586. 23,071 Florida residents have now died from the virus, If you have questions on who is eligible to receive the vaccination and where to sign up check with the Florida Department of Health here. The COVID-19 Call Center is available 24/7 by calling 1-866-779-6121. You can also reach them by email at firstname.lastname@example.org. BayCare is offering rapid result tests at nine Urgent Care Centers for asymptomatic individuals. This is one you’ll have to pay for up front at $150 and can make an online appointment for on the BayCare web site.
The Bucs now head to the Divisional Playoffs after a Saturday night win over Washington 31-23 in the wild-card game. Their next opponent will be the New Orleans Saints Sunday at 6:40 pm, the third time the two teams will meet this season.