Battery Turns Into Smuggling

The Sheriff’s blotter shows deputies arrested Ms. Dara Zemo (41) on Sunday on a misdemeanor battery charge, and also for a felony for allegedly smuggling contraband into the jail.
Originally from the Danbury area of Connecticut, Ms. Zemo’s reported address is on Marina Blvd (aka SW 18th) just east of 441 in Sandalfoot Cove. The home was foreclosed in July and she may be renting from the bank.
Ms. Zemo has a substantial criminal history in Florida. In Palm Beach County court records show 15 cases (including traffic and some duplicates) starting in 2009. The worst of her cases here were a fraudulent use of a credit card charge in 2011 and a 2010 DUI case both of which involved some jail time. She’s also had a domestic battery in 2012 that was dropped by prosecutors, and a few cases of driving with a suspended license.
Moving to Broward we see one felony case involving drugs and prostitution from 2013. We also see a drug case in Lake County (near Orlando) from February of this year which the Sheriff’s record shows led to a month in jail.
Ms. Zemo was a licensed real estate agent in Florida until 2010, based in Jupiter. She may have also resided in Kissimmee at some point in the past.
Of course, all arrestees are innocent at this stage of the process.

Accident at Marina and US-441: Video & Photos

It seems like all we have to do to get a story is stay near 441. Yesterday we saw something on 441 at the north end of Mission Bay Plaza. Earlier today we were on our way into Parkland and we saw an accident scene at Marina (SW 18th) and 441. This was shortly before 1 pm.
We had time to do a short video at the scene:

What was reported to us was that the driver of the white Lexus SUV admitted to being distracted by his cell phone. Allegedly he ran a red light coming out from gas station, causing a collision with the smaller white Mitsubishi Outlander that was traveling southbound on 441.
The panorama shot below came out a little odd.
Fortunately it appears there were no injuries. Unfortunately most drivers disregarded Florida’s “Move Over” law, as can be seen in the video above. We often criticize unnecessary laws and police misconduct, but this is an important law that protects our first responders when they’re in a difficult and dangerous situation. When you see the flashing lights, please move over and give them space.

US-441 Improvements Coming?

The Florida Department of Transportation (FDOT) is working on plans to improve US-441 (State Road 7). They’re looking specifically at the stretch from Glades Road in West Boca down to Sample Road in Broward County. FDOT is making a presentation to the Palm Beach County Metropolitan Planning Organization on Thursday at 9 am, which is considering whether to endorse the plan:

The plan recommends (in bureaucratic language of course):

Context Sensitive Alternative with multimodal solutions
– Bicycle and pedestrian facilities
– Transit stop infrastructure and access improvements
– Intersection improvements to improve traffic flow
Transportation systems management and operations (TSM&O) initiatives
– Traffic signal system operations
– Traveler information and incident management
– Transit service and operations

A lot of the discussion deals with “transit” which is another word for buses. Palm Tran and BCT (Broward County Transit) are mentioned by name in the document we reviewed.

The biggest change we see in pictures like the one above are the “Premium Bus Stop.” While much of the focus is on transit, there are some minor intersection improvements in the conversation, and most are in West Boca. This may be a smaller part of the document but it looks like a much bigger chunk of money.

The plans would add or expand turn lanes at Marina (SW 18th), Sandalfoot, Judge Winikoff, Palmetto Park, Boca Woods, and Glades Road. Some of these make little sense to us. For example, the plan says to “add a westbound right-turn lane” at Palmetto Park Road. There is already a long right-turn lane there and we’ve never seen it back up.

The proposal to add a “westbound left-turn lane” at Boca Woods Lane makes even less sense. Boca Woods Lane, by that name, sits entirely west of 441. The east side, where a westbound left-turn lane would be, is named N Central Park Blvd. That’s the loop that serves West Boca Medical Center. It already has a left-turn lane.

Adding a westbound turn lane at Sandalfoot would probably require a bridge upgrade, which we mentioned before is in the works.
The most important change mentioned is increasing storage capacity for the southbound left-turn lanes on 441 at Glades. These back up quite a bit, though we don’t see a lot of room for that because of the northbound left turn lane into Mission Bay Plaza.

Other plans include:

Traffic Signal System Operation
• Signal coordination through jurisdictional boundaries n Adaptive signal timing
• Peak period arterial progression
• Dynamic signal timing
Information and Incident Management
• Incident and emergency management
•Traveler information systems
• Transit information system
• Transit signal priority/Queue jump

Most of it again sounds like efforts to improve busing, such as signs to provide updates on transit information (such as how far away the next bus is). Others may not appreciate giving buses priority on traffic signals.
For the next five years transit improvements will be limited to traffic signals and signs for bus status updates. There’s also talk of creating a hub at West Boca Medical Center to connect Palm Tran and BCT, as well as upgrading bus stops.
If all goes ahead as planned the intersection improvements would start about five years from now.
The project website is For the document that was provided to us by FDOT and that will be used for Thursday morning’s meeting, click the following link for the SR7-US-441 pdf file.

Pedestrian Hit-and-Run Tuesday Night on 441

Last night we were heading out to the grocery store and noticed this tweet:
Since we ended up at the Sandalfoot Publix, we headed over to the intersection of SW 18th (Marina) and 441 to take a look. The incident was mostly resolved but deputies were on scene clearing it up.
There were still flares burning on the sidewalk on the northeast corner along SW 18th.
We could also see residue in the roadway on SW 18th from what we think were flares.
Palm Beach County Fire Rescue reported that they found a man in the roadway who had been struck by a vehicle and he was transported to Delray Medical Center for as a trauma patient. We have heard reports that this was a hit-and-run with the vehicle driving away.
One of our readers shared this photo with us from the scene. It’s not pretty, but far enough away that you can’t tell much from it. As with the majority of these stories today, hit and runs on pedestrians seem to be climbing, if you ever find yourself being involved in a hit and run you will benefit greatly from hiring an attorney that specializes in pedestrian accidents earlier rather than later.
We don’t see any arrests in the Sheriff’s blotter today for hit-and-run so it appears the driver has not been caught yet. If anyone has any ideas, please notify Crime Stoppers or let us know and we’ll forward tips to the Sheriff.

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