Top 10 stories for Walton Sun in 2019

Nathan Cobb
Walton Sun

It was a busy year in Walton County. Take a look at The Walton Sun’s top 10 stories from 2019.

1. UPDATE: Red Bar owners vow to rebuild (52,098 page views)

Firefighters with the South Walton Fire Department were on scene Feb. 13, batting the blaze that eventually destroyed the Red Bar.

In the wake of the disaster that shook Santa Rosa Beach, Red Bar co-owner Oliver “Oli” Petit made a promise to the community to rebuild the iconic restaurant.

2. 4 toddlers suffer broken legs at Valparaiso day care center (14,912 page views)

Christina Marie Curtis, who is 25, was arrested and charged with four felony counts of child neglect that resulted in great bodily harm after four little boys suffered broken legs on the same day after attending Kids Discover Learning Center on John Sims Parkway in Valparaiso.

Surveillance footage showed Curtis abusing the children who ranged in age from 13-21 months old. They were assigned to the 1-year-old class at the day-care center.

3. Home video shows fatal shooting of raging father (14,438 page views)

A man was killed in South Lakeland on Nov. 21 during a custody exchange.

According to the Polk County Sheriff’s Office, the victim was 39-year-old Brian Ingram, who was was shot by his ex-girlfriend’s boyfriend after trying to forcibly enter his home.

4. 2 teens in Camaros racing, crashing into truck on 331 bridge (11,295 page views)

Two teenagers in two Camaros, who were racing, crashed into a family in a pickup truck on March 31, causing the truck to roll and sending everyone involved to the hospital.

The incident happened on the Clybe B. Wells Bridge on U.S. Highway 331. The drivers of the Camaros, who were heading to prom, were 19-year-old Alma Michua-Castandea and 17-year-old Keane Neal. Both from Freeport.

5. Two die in Walton County head-on collision (6,329 page views)

A 23-year-old woman and 17-year-old girl died Aug. 18 in a crash on U.S. Highway 98 west of County Road 395.

The Drivers were Caroline Long of Panama City and Kassidy Namniek of Destin. Reports from the Florida Highway Patrol said that Namniek was driving on the wrong side of the road. Both were pronounced dead on scene.

6. 15-year-old killed after falling out of back of truck in Walton County. (5,439 page views)

A 15-year-old was killed on the Clyde B. Wells Bridge after falling out of the bed of a truck and being struck by another vehicle.

According to a press release from the Florida Highway Patrol, Allion Orlando Hogan, 19 of Sylacauga, Alabama, was driving a Ford F-150 north on the bridge. While riding in the bed of the truck, Kaden Johnson, 15 of Pell City, Alabama, fell out of the truck onto the road.

Luke Wolkers, 33 of Miramar Beach, then hit Johnson with his car and pulled over on the side of the road. The F-150 continued driving north not knowing Johnson had fallen from the bed.

7. ’Crazy’ shard draws Okaloosa beachgoers’ attention (PHOTOS, VIDEO) (4,684 page views)

A shark garnered a lot of attention after acting odd off of the coast of Okaloosa Island.

Witnesses said it was about 20 yards off shore with its head out of the water, opening its mouth as it faced a line of people on the shore.

8. Destin Snowbirds officially ’Roost’ (4,595 page views)

The Destin Snowbirds Club kicked off its 2019 season with a ribbon-cutting ceremony Nov. 18 for the “opening of the roost” at the Destin Community Center.

It was also the official beginning of Ted Spring’s one-year term as president of the Destin Snowbirds Club.

9. UPDATE: Mid-Bay Bridge closed in both directions (4,392 page views)

The temporary closure of the Mid-Bay Bridge was issued after a routine inspection revealed corrosion on post-tensioning tendons, a pre-stressed steel cable inside the bridge that reinforces concrete.

The closure was a cautionary measure intended to minimize the stresses on the bridge while the Florida Department of Transportation repaired the tendons.

10. Two drown on Sunday in Walton County (4,330 page views)

Two people drowned July 14 in Walton County as double red flags warned beachgoers to stay clear of the water. They were the county’s first two drowning victims in 2019.

The incidents happened about noon in the Seacrest area as beach lifeguards were working three water rescue calls at one time.