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Latest from Tim Tompkins

    Severe weather during the early morning commute caused damage to an on-ramp connected to the First Coast Expressway’s North project. Emergency construction began immediately and is expected to last a week, with the ramp reopening on Monday April 10.  A detour has been issued during the ramp closure. Westbound traffic on Normandy will not be able to exit onto SR-23, instead drivers will need to exit off Normandy onto New World Avenue south and continue that to 103rd St.  The $45 million First Coast Expressway project from I-10 to Beaver St will connect access to I-10 from the distribution centers of Publix and Winn-Dixie. 
  •   More headaches for Southside drivers planned this evening for continued work on the I-95 / JTB Interchange Improvement project. Lane closures on I-95 NB at Butler will last from 8pm through 11pm, and then at 11, motorists will be detoured off of I-95 onto Butler Blvd. Drivers can turn around at Belfort to get back on I-95 NB. Overnight construction planned on I-95 NB at Butler, this evening from 8pm through 5am tomorrow #WokvTraffic pic.twitter.com/zdWeNclkZW — Tim Tompkins (@RadioTimNBA) January 10, 2017 Construction is expected to end by 5am just in time for morning drive. The $67 Million Dollar construction project is scheduled to wrap up in late May, schedule permitting of course.
  • The Florida Department of Transportation hopes 2017 will become known as the 'Year of the Express Lanes' to Jacksonville residents. Started in 2014, an $89 million dollar project began adding express lanes to the I-295 West Beltway between the Buckman Bridge and I-95. Originally, the project was slated for completion in late 2016. However, FDOT Public Information Officer Ray Hampton says this portion of the project will not wrap up until fall of 2017. Express lanes give drivers the option of either using the tolled lanes or the free ones they are already using. When we asked the reason for the delay, Ray cited unexpected weather and scheduling conditions for the contractor. FDOT is informing drivers of the new timetable via blue signage through the Mandarin area. The express lanes of the I-295 W Beltway between I-95 and the @BuckmanBridge are scheduled for completion in 2017. #WokvTraffic @WOKVNews pic.twitter.com/OJAQqhUHuS — Tim Tompkins (@RadioTimNBA) December 12, 2016 “FDOT is rolling out a campaign to educate the public on how to use the express lanes and why they will benefit the community,” Ray says. A poll of drivers in Miami released by the FDOT gave a 71% satisfaction rating on the recently installed express lanes in their area. Ray cites that many drivers enjoy express lanes because they give a predictable commute while simultaneously easing the congestion on the normal lanes. FDOT is hopeful the express lanes will ease congestion for Orange Park and Mandarin drivers on the I-295 West Beltway. FDOT Express Lanes Drivers will need to purchase a Sun Pass in order to use the express lanes and the price of the tolls will automatically be deducted from their accounts. The second phase of the express lanes - on the I-295 East Beltway between SR-9B and Butler Boulevard - remain on schedule for completion in 2019. That is a $139.9 million dollar contract.
  • Improvements for the Main Street Bridge Downtown are scheduled tonight. This will close the Main Street Bridge to all vehicles and pedestrians, as well as boaters who will be unable to pass through the channel underneath. The work is part of a larger improvement project scheduled to wrap up next spring.  Improvements to the Main Street Bridge include new heating and air conditioning units, sanitary sewer lines, closed-circuit television cameras for live traffic viewing, and replacement of the entire electrical system, among others. The Main Street Bridge closes tonight at 6:30pm and will reopen Thursday morning at 6am. Commuters can use the Acosta Bridge, into and out of Downtown, as their alternate.
  • Headaches for Southside drivers scheduled overnight on Wednesday through 11pm and 5am on Thursday morning, weather permitting.  The welcome news for drivers is the I-95/Butler interchange project is in it’s final stage. I-95 NB traffic will be detoured onto Butler Blvd EB where drivers will turn around at Belfort and merge back on to I-95 NB at Butler. The lane closures are for crews installing bridge beam connections to the Butler Blvd two-lane 1,400ft flyover bridge in the hopes of easing traffic exiting off I-95 SB onto Butler Blvd EB. The $67 million dollar project began December 2014 and is scheduled for completion in early 2017. The entire project includes resurfacing of Butler Blvd between Philips and Belfort, reconstructing the I-95 NB off ramp to Butler allowing traffic to exit both east and west, a new I-95 NB off-ramp from Butler, a new flyover from I-95 SB onto Butler Blvd EB and replacing the traffic signals on Butler Blvd at Philips Hwy. The goal is to ease traffic on Butler from Belfort to I-95 and I-95 SB exiting off onto Butler Blvd.
  • Revitalizing and restoring Downtown while preserving the original structure, the Newnan St/Hubbard Street Bridge in the historic Springfield District of Downtown reopened this week. The initial structure was built over 80 years ago, in 1929, by Henry J. Klutho. Construction crews were able to preserve the original structure of the bridge by removing parts at the start of construction and reapplying them when construction was coming to completion. The bridge has notable significance to Jacksonville as it’s eligible for listing on the National Register of Historic places. A bridge that runs parallel to the newly reconstructed bridge is a remarkable display of before and after. Seen below, the newly constructed bridge looked much like this one. During the project- crews rebuilt roadway approaches, a new bridge deck and reconditioned existing bike pathways. The bridge connects downtown to the Confederate Park which features basketball courts, a dog park and a playground The total cost of the reconstruction was $1.5 million and took nearly 7 months to complete.
  • FDOT continues to make safety improvements on the southside, and those improvements lead to overnight road closures this week. Monday and Wednesday from 11pm to 6:30am, the Butler Blvd eastbound ramp to northbound Southside Blvd is closed. Drivers will need to make a U-turn on eastbound Butler at Gate Pkwy and use the Butler WB ramp to northbound Southside Blvd. On Tuesday and Thursday from 11pm to 6:30am, westbound Butler Blvd to southbound Southside Blvd will detour to northbound Southside Blvd where drivers will need to make a U-turn at Gate Pkwy back onto southbound Southside Blvd.
  • A major shift has happened to I-95 NB drivers through the Southside. During reconstruction of the new I-95 northbound bridge, all northbound lanes of I-95 have shifted to the left at Butler Blvd. This is where the old I-95 SB lanes used to be. FDOT reminds motorists to pay attnetion in construction zones and that speeding fines are doubled whenever workers are present in a workzone.  
  • Tim Tompkins

    Lead Traffic Anchor

    Tim Tompkins has been with WOKV since 2014. He is the lead Traffic Anchor on Jacksonville’s Morning News and weekend expert show host on Saturdays between 12pm-3pm for the Consumer Law Hour, Q&A With JEA and Ask the Doctor. Outside of the WOKV studio, you can find Tim collecting vinyl, watching basketball or playing with his dog Sophie.

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The Latest News Headlines

  • ***UPDATE: JSO says the suspect has been identified and is in custody. WOKV is working to learn more details.*** Jacksonville police are asking for your help finding a man accused of exposing himself to a child.  The Sheriff’s Office says an incident occurred around 8:30AM on May 18th, where a man pulled up near the victim around the intersection of Cedar Hills Boulevard and Blanding Boulevard. The suspect reportedly provided a picture of a cat and asked if the victim had seen the cat. We’re told the suspect had his pants down and was fondling himself.   The suspect is described as a white man in his 40s, balding with dark hair around the sides and back. His vehicle is described as a silver or gray 2000-2005 Ford Focus station wagon.  Police say it’s possible there have been other incidents involving this suspect, although none have been reported at this time.  If you have any information on the suspect or his vehicle, you’re asked to contact JSO at 904-630-0500 or JSOCrimeTips@jaxsheriff.org. You can also submit an anonymous tip and be eligible for a possible reward by calling Crime Stoppers at 1-866-845-TIPS.
  • It marks Florida Governor Rick Scott's first veto of the year.   Scott has vetoed a bill, commonly called 'Whiskey and Wheaties', that would have allowed grocery stores, retailers, and certain gas stations to sell liquors alongside other products.   Instead, with this veto, there will be no changes. That means the 'liquor wall' requiring spirits to be sold in a location with a separate entrance will stay in place.   In a letter to the Florida Secretary of State, Kenneth Detzner, Scott says both sides of the bill had good points, but that ultimately he had to side with small businesses.   Scott says small business owners told him they were concerned about this bill's impact on their families and their ability to create jobs.
  • Dog bites man. Man sues dog. Dog wins. The dog was Draco, a prized member of the Gwinnett County Police Department’s K-9 unit. But on July 6, 2013, Draco bit the arm of burglary suspect Randall Kevin Jones, who later claimed the dog clamped down for what “seemed like a lifetime.” >> Read more trending news Jones was taken to Gwinnett Medical Center and given stitches for the dog bite before being jailed and charged with burglary and obstruction. Two years later, he filed a highly unusual lawsuit, in that he not only sued the officers involved but also “Officer K-9 Draco of the Gwinnett County Police Department in his individual capacity.” The lawsuit, alleging excessive use of force, said Draco “viciously mauled” Jones, “tearing his flesh and permanently injuring and disfiguring him, while … officers stood by and failed to intervene.” When a federal judge rejected Gwinnett’s initial attempt to dismiss the lawsuit, the county appealed. On Friday, the 11th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals in Atlanta threw out the case against Draco. >> Related: Dog saves family with 9 children from house fire “We hold that a dog may not be sued individually for negligence since a dog is not a ‘person,’” Judge Robin Rosenbaum wrote for a unanimous three-judge panel. Georgia law, she noted, does not allow such claims to be litigated against dogs. The mere notion of allowing a lawsuit against a dog raises abundant practical issues, Rosenbaum added. How would you formally serve the lawsuit on a dog? What about the dog’s retention of legal representation? How can a dog be expected to pay damages? >> Related: Why is there a dog on the roof in a Texas neighborhood? Draco, a Belgian Malinois, retired from the K-9 unit in mid-2014 after seven years on the force, helping officers track down suspects and find stashes of illegal drugs. Read more here.
  • A Texas teenager and cancer survivor is thanking a new friend for giving him a college scholarship. Chase Bradley, 17, of Hyde Park High School in Austin knows what a cancer battle is like. His older sister was diagnosed with cancer five years ago and beat it. >> Read more trending news The experience made him an advocate for cancer research. “I remember being in her hospital room, trying to keep a straight face and not cry in front of her. It was a very heartbreaking setting. I gave my sister a hug and it was very overwhelming.' Bradley told ABC News. Bradley and earned a scholarship after raising $57,000 for cancer research. But instead of keeping the $2,500 prize for himself, he gave it to Sergio Garcia, a senior at nearby Anderson High School, who beat leukemia. 'It was something really nice that he did for me and I didn't even know him,' Garcia said in an interview with ABC News. 'We've became really good friends after that. [I plan] to pay some of my tuition for college.' >> Related: 11-year-old cancer survivor commits suicide after relentless bullying, family says Garcia, now cancer-free, says he’s grateful for friends like Bradley. He plans on attending Austin Community College before transferring to a larger school.
  • A Baltimore defense attorney was arrested Tuesday after he was recorded telling an alleged rape victim the Trump administration would deport her if she testified against his client, court documents said.  Christos Vasiliades, 38, was arrested Tuesday at the courthouse as his client’s rape trial was set to start, according to the Baltimore Sun. He is charged with multiple counts that include witness intimidation and obstruction of justice.  Vasiliades’ interpreter, Edgar Ivan Rodriguez, was also arrested, the Sun reported. A 12-court indictment in the case alleges that Vasiliades was recorded trying to dissuade the woman who accused his client of rape from testifying at trial. He and Rodriguez are also accused of trying to bribe her with $3,000. The recording allegedly captured the lawyer talking about the “current environment” for immigrants in the United States since President Trump’s inauguration.  “You know how things are with Trump’s laws now,” he told the woman’s husband in the recorded conversation. “Someone goes to court, and boom, they get taken away.” According to court documents, Vasiliades also offered an alternative solution that he said would go over well in his native Greece: beat the defendant up. “He’s an (expletive). I think you should find him and kick his (expletive), personally,” Vasiliades said, according to court documents obtained by the Sun. Maryland Attorney General Brian Frosh, who obtained the indictment against Vasiliades and Rodriguez, commented on the indictment on Facebook.  'Threatening a victim of crime with deportation could have a chilling effect on our criminal justice system,' Frosh said.  >> Read more trending news The indictment, which was filed Tuesday, stated that the case against Vasiliades and Rodriguez began on April 11, when the men called the woman and her husband and asked to meet them, stating that her case had become “more complicated.” The meeting took place at a Baltimore restaurant.  During the meeting, they pointed out that U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) agents would be in the courtroom for their client, Mario Aguilar-Delossantos, the indictment said. They told the couple that due to new federal laws and policies enacted by the Trump administration, there was a high risk that they would be deported if they showed up in court.   Vasiliades and Rodriguez are accused of telling the couple that Aguilar-Delossantos was “very sorry and could offer compensation if they did not come to court and testify against him,” the indictment said. The men claimed that the money could help ensure that the couple remained in the country. Instead of taking the lawyer up on his offer, the couple went to law enforcement. Police investigators had them call Vasiliades on May 15, but that call was closely monitored and recorded.  Over the span of a couple of days, and multiple phone calls with Vasiliades, a face-to-face meeting was set up for May 18. When everyone arrived at the meeting place, an office space in Baltimore, Vasiliades made everyone leave their cellphones in the lobby.  Unknown to him or Rodriguez, however, the couple still had a recording device with them. The device recorded the lawyer reiterating the risk of deportation for the victim if she testified, the indictment said. “Because she’s there (in court), you know, my guy’s going to be, like, ‘I’m here, but she is, too,’” Vasiliades told them, according to the document. Rodriguez told the woman ICE officials would ask for her immigration documents. At that point, Vasiliades allegedly said, “Then everybody’s (expletive).”  Read the entire indictment here.  It was during the May 18 meeting that Vasiliades and Rodriguez told the victim she and her husband would receive $3,000 if they failed to show up and the case got thrown out of court, the indictment said. The court document detailed the plan the men came up with.  “On the upcoming trial date, (the couple) should not show up to court and should instead wait outside the courthouse with Rodriguez, who would be holding the cash, while Vasiliades would appear in court,” the indictment said. “If the case was then ‘thrown out’ due to the fact that (the couple) did not show up, Vasiliades would come out of the courthouse, give a ‘thumbs up’ to Rodriguez and Rodriguez would hand (the couple) the cash.” After pointing out that, in Greece, the punishment for an alleged rapist would be a beating, Vasiliades told the couple that all he wanted was for them to not show up at the trial, court documents said.  “I did my job, I did very good, and I can go home and go to sleep OK,” Vasiliades said, according to the indictment. “And then you get something, and then you find him outside, brother, and you (expletive) him up, that’s it.” The Sun reported that Aguilar-Delossantos’s trial was pushed back to August because of his lawyer’s arrest. Aguilar-Delossantos is charged with second-degree rape and second-degree assault, as well as third- and fourth-degree sexual offenses. 

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