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Father wanted for alleged abuse of 2-month-old child

Authorities are looking for Dustin Aaron Wilson, 23, who has warrants out for his arrest on felony child abuse after his 2-month-old child was treated for injuries.  
 
Rowan County Sheriff's Office and Rowan County Department of Social Services began investigating a possible child abuse in late October that was reported by the Rowan Regional Medical Center.
 
The injuries were consistent with a physical assault.
 
Wilson is thought to be in the Swannanoa area of western North Carolina and he has been added to the Rowan County sheriff's Most Wanted list.
 
Anyone with information about Wilson is asked to contact Lt. C. Moose, 704-216-8687 or Detective Sara Benfield, 704-216-8739.

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Published: Fri, 21 Nov 2014 21:19:49 -0500

CMPD: 1 hit by train near Music Factory

One person was taken to the hospital Friday night after being “grazed” by a train near the Music Factory in north Charlotte, officials with the Charlotte-Mecklenburg Police Department said.

The man was sitting on the tracks when he was struck, police said. He suffered serious injuries and is expected to survive.

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Published: Fri, 21 Nov 2014 20:50:09 -0500

Man convicted of killing paralegal gets life in prison

A man found guilty of killing of a well-known paralegal visiting Charlotte, will spend the rest of his life in prison.

PAST COVERAGE: Suspect in Beatties Ford Road shooting to appear in court 

Arthur Givens was sentenced Friday after a jury found him guilty for the murder of Donald Gist Jr.
 
Gist's shooting death was caught on surveillance video outside a convenience store on Beatties Ford Road in December 2013.
 
The judge sentenced Givens to life in prison without the possibility of parole.

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Published: Fri, 21 Nov 2014 20:38:33 -0500

9 Investigate: Recovering stolen identities

Her identity was stolen when she was 11 years old and then sold for $25.

“He's not even legal to be here and he's using my Social Security number,” she said.

He got a job racked up debt and got away with it for 12 years.

Channel 9’s Scott Wickersham investigates uncovering the road blocks to reclaiming your identity if this were to ever happen to you.

He asks when this happens, how hard is it to get your life back. See his full report at 5 p.m. Monday.

Read our past 9 Investigates:

Published: Fri, 21 Nov 2014 17:47:08 -0500

CFD: Family of 5 displaced after fire

One person was injured in a fire on Oak Arbor Lane, according to the Charlotte Fire Department.

The fire broke out Friday evening at the Grier Heights apartment complex. The fire that started in an upstairs bedroom was under control at 5:40 p.m.

Officials said one person was taken to the hospital to be treated for minor burns. The family of five was displaced as a result of the fire, officials said.

The fire department said the family did not have a working smoke detector nor did two neighboring apartments.

The cause of the fire is under investigation.

Check back to wsoctv.com and watch Eyewitness News at 10 & 11 p.m. for updates.

Published: Fri, 21 Nov 2014 17:43:55 -0500

Future of coal ash use could be determined next week

How toxic coal ash is used around the state of North Carolina will be before a state environmental panel on Monday at the University of North Carolina-Charlotte.

The Environmental Management Commission appointed by Gov. Pat McCrory will take up coal ash reuse in an effort to determine whether the by-product is safe.

Coal ash is waste produced during the conversion of coal into electricity. It is produced at 14 major power plants across the state.

While most coal ash is sent to landfills or stored, it has also been used in road construction, concrete and other products. The state put a moratorium on such use while environmental leaders take a second look at possible risks to people and the environment.

Earlier this week, citizens in Lee County said no to Duke Energy's plan move tons of coal ash out of Charlotte's Riverbend plant and store it there.

Up to 130 trucks a day would haul the waste out of the Charlotte area and send it to Sanford and Moncure, North Carolina.

North Carolina Department of Environmental and Natural Resources officials told Channel 9 it has not received a permit request yet from Duke Energy for the move. At a public meeting in Sanford this week, residents were strongly against the idea of shipping the waste there and storing it in mines.

"Are we going to stand aside and let Duke Power or any other company undermine our local government and disrespect our residents?" said Lucas Cranford. "We know the ethics these big companies operate under."

While people in Charlotte are glad to see the coal ash go, there is concern about air pollution during transport. Some environmentalists and neighbors are worried about dust and ash getting blown from trucks into neighborhoods.

Jamie Kritzer, a spokesman for DENR, said that backlash from the Sanford community could have a major impact on the permit process.

"We would certainly take the public's comments into consideration when we decide whether or not to issue a permit," Kritzer said.

It's also likely that future public hearings will be held in those communities where the coal ash could be headed.

The environmental committee that meets Monday at UNCC must present its findings to state lawmakers by mid-January.

However, the EPA is expected to revamp its rules concerning coal ash in December. Any new federal rules could impact the direction the state takes on coal ash.

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Published: Fri, 21 Nov 2014 17:41:47 -0500

75-year-old grandmother chases off would-be robbers

When Nancy Stowe saw robbers beat her grandson and son, she jumped into action.

“I said ‘Leave and I mean right now,’” Nancy told Channel 9.

The 75-year-old woman is being credited for scaring the robbers off before they could do additional damage.

The attempted robbery happened Thursday night outside a gas station off Highway 321 in south Gastonia.

Two men asked Nancy Stowe’s grandson for money. He told them he didn’t have any money. One of the men saw his wallet and attacked him.

“It dawned on me, ‘They are trying to actually rob him,’” Nancy said.

The men forced her 22-year-old grandson to the ground. His father also witnessed the incident.

Doug Stowe jumped in the save his son, but the robbers turned the tables on him.

“I think it was a natural instinct,” Nancy said.

She was one of the few female officers to patrol the streets of Belmont in the 1970s. She also worked with the Gaston County Sheriff’s Department and the Police Department in Coats, North Carolina. Instructors taught her to stand tall and speak with authority.

“I didn’t have a weapon at all,” Nancy said. “I just got in between them. I said ‘Oh, no you don’t.’ I said ‘That’s enough of this.’”

She had left her cellphone in the car, but she told reporter Ken Lemon she cupped her hand and pretended she still had it.

“I pointed at it and said, ‘I’ve already called 911,’” Nancy said.

The robbers ran and she shouted at them as they left.

“I said, ‘And don’t try it no more tonight!’” Nancy said.

The two victims are nursing their injuries. Both said they are glad she was there. Police are investigating and hope surveillance video will help them identify the two men.

Published: Fri, 21 Nov 2014 17:12:26 -0500

Authorities arrest 3 in connection with Stanly Co. meth lab

Stanly County Sheriff's Office deputies arrested and charged three people Thursday for running a meth lab at a home on Pauls Crossing Road in Richfield.
 
Gregory Allen Sanders and Tara Morton Poplin were charged with controlled substance offenses related to the manufacture of methamphetamine.
 
Bethany Leigh Horne, who was wanted by police, was at the home and arrested.
 
They are in the Stanly County Jail.
 
The Stanly County Sheriff’s Office was assisted by the N.C. State Bureau of Investigation, Albemarle Police Department and the Rowan County Sheriff's Office.

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Published: Fri, 21 Nov 2014 16:56:50 -0500

Records unsealed on CMPD eavesdropping on some cellphones

It's impossible to go anywhere in Charlotte without being in the electronic shadow of a cellphone tower.

For years, Charlotte-Mecklenburg Police Department has quietly been using a device that acted like a portable cell tower to track suspects and even eavesdrop on their conversations.

Police said they've done so only after getting a judge to sign off on it, but now some are raising serious questions about what that will mean for cases in court.

“Yes, I can see a certain number of cases that might be reopened and the result entirely changed,” said legal expert Tony Scheer.

Scheer is a former prosecutor who is now a defense attorney and he said even with a judge's blessing, the cellphone surveillance raises potentially serious legal issues.

“This piece of the investigation was kept from hundreds of defendants over a period of years and we don't have any idea if there was information that was important to their cases,” he said.

The Mecklenburg County District Attorney's office said Friday in a statement they would be reviewing the records of all of CMPD’s cellphone searches to see if that information was shared with defendants.

“If prosecutors find that the information was not shared, the office will then work to determine whether the information should have been included,” the statement reads.

What it doesn't say is they may have to dismiss some of those cases.

CMPD isn't commenting Friday, but in a letter to the judge earlier this month Chief Rodney Monroe said he had no objection to those records going public now and, in a statement with it, CMPD added: "...we ensure that the rights of all citizens are protected and that we apply any use of technology within the parameters of the law."

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Published: Fri, 21 Nov 2014 16:55:21 -0500

Charlotte immigrant families say Obama message brings hope

The day after President Barack Obama announced sweeping reforms in immigration policy, anticipation is trickling down to immigrant families in Charlotte.

In an apartment in east Charlotte, a room filled with undocumented immigrants was still talking about the president's speech Thursday.

Special Section: Immigration Reform

"We were very, very happy," said Isele Delamora. "We were moved to tears."

Delamora has been in Charlotte for 20 years without legal documentation.

She has children who were born here and they will play a key role in her ability to stay here without fear of deportation.  The Obama immigration plan will allow the parents of U. S. citizens to avoid deportation for three years by registering with the government and paying a fee.

READ MORE: Obama launches sales mission on immigration

Mo Idlibby, a Charlotte immigration attorney, says once the measures are put in place, undocumented immigrants will breathe a sigh of relief, at least for a while. 

"The three things you're going to be able to do are get legal work authorization, go get your Social Security number and get a driver's license," Idlibby said.

Immigrants tell Eyewitness News that will provide them with a sense of freedom they've seldom felt since coming to Charlotte. Enedina Gillen, who came to Charlotte 14 years ago without papers, says fear has been a constant companion.

FULL ADDRESS: Obama spurns GOP with expansive immigration orders

"When you go out you're always afraid the police are going to stop you.  You always live with the fear that they're going to deport you," Gillen said.

Maudia Melendez said the president's executive action offers hope, and not just to the parents.

"This is a prayer answered for the children,” Melendez said.

Follow Channel 9 on Twitter for the latest.

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Published: Fri, 21 Nov 2014 16:44:04 -0500

Grossed-out teens 'thank' Michelle Obama for school lunches

Michelle Obama worked hard to create new USDA regulations on public school lunches.

Her efforts added limits on calories, sodium, fat and sugar for all food and drinks sold at schools across the country.

But in some schools, the new guidlines have added "mystery meats" and smaller portions, leading students to share photos on Twitter and sarcastically praise the First Lady using the hashtag #ThanksMichelleObama.

9 Investigates: Fatal prescription drug overdoses increases

Deaths from prescription drug overdoses have skyrocketed in North Carolina.
 
In three years, that number is on pace to overtake the number of motor vehicle deaths, which is currently the No. 1 cause of death in the state.
 
Attorney General Roy Cooper said law enforcement has seen a new trend: More teens becoming addicted to prescription drugs.
 
Diane Woodward lost her eldest son to a prescription drug overdose eight years ago. Four years ago, she lost her youngest son to his addiction.


 
She said the pain and sense of loss never go away,
 
“Now, all I have left are the graveyards. I don't get to hug my children at Christmas. I don't get to have birthday parties. We don't have Thanksgiving dinners. I just have a graveyard to go to,” she said.
 
Woodward said her son Matthew first started taking prescription pain killers around age 18.

SEE MORE images of Matthew and Brandon Woodward
 
A star athlete, Matthew injured his back playing high school football. Eventually, he went to a doctor for relief. That relief turned into addiction, and the 25-years-old he died from a methadone overdose.
 
“These were good boys. I know a lot of people want to judge the addict but they're good kids,” Woodward said.


For mobile phone users: Click here to see the video.
 
Four years later, Woodward walked into her youngest son's bedroom and her heart broke again.  A state wrestling champion, Brandon had struggled with his own addiction. He had gone to a party and mixed two prescription painkillers.  He was 26.
 
Woodward tearfully remembers.

“I went in there that morning. Brandon was lying there on the floor. I just could not believe my baby was gone." -- mother Diane Woodward

In just 13 years, deaths from accidental prescription drug overdoses have increased more than 300 percent in North Carolina.
 
In 1999, the number was 297.
 
In 2012, it was 1,104.
 
More men than women die of accidental overdoses.

“We have more people dying from accidental prescription drug overdoses than we do cocaine, heroin and alcohol overdoses combined.” -- Attorney General Roy Cooper.

Cooper said what's especially concerning is more teens are abusing prescription drugs, and many parents don't know how addictive those drugs can be.
 
“We need targeted education efforts from parents and grandparents to lock up their prescription drugs,” Cooper said.
 
North Carolina uses the Prescription Drug Monitoring Program, which allows doctors to check if a patient has multiple prescriptions for the same drug.

The state is also increasing its law enforcement efforts.
 
"There are a number of agents who work exclusively in trying to find those who are diverting prescription drugs for illegal uses,” Cooper said.
 
Woodward says even though it's painful to remember, her reason for sharing this story is simple, “Maybe this message right here will save one person.”
 
Seventy-five percent of teens get prescription pills from their home or a friend's home.
 
Cooper said the state is also working with pharmaceutical companies to make drugs with less addictive ingredients.
 
The state has also implemented laws that require identification to pick up certain prescription drugs.


Read our past 9 Investigates:

Published: Fri, 21 Nov 2014 14:41:18 -0500

Beloved Union Co. deputy will be laid to rest Saturday

Hundreds in Union County are expected to attend the memorial service for fallen Union County Sheriff's Sgt. Jeffrey Greene, who was killed while on the job Wednesday in a traffic accident on U.S. 74.

The visitation started Friday at 6 p.m. and although it was scheduled until 8 p.m., officials expect it to last until 11 p.m. because of how many people are expected.  

Church officials estimate it will be hundreds, maybe even 1,000 people.

It's been an emotional few days for people who knew Greene, and really for all law enforcement in the area who are reminded by his sudden death that life is short.

IMAGES: Sgt. Jeff Greene

Greene is remembered by friends as genuine and kind.



"I don't know if he ever had any adversity in his life but you never would know it because he's always smiling and happy," said Wingate Police Chief Donnie Gay.
 
Gay said he just recently saw Greene on a call.

"We got a call together two weeks ago and volunteered to help them out. He happened to be on his way home and stopped to check on me, make sure I was OK," Gay said.

The North Carolina Troopers Association Caisson Unit prepared for what will be an emotional day Saturday, carrying the body of a fallen law enforcement officer.

"Any time we're requested we always go into a different state of mind because we know what's going on. We've got a mission to do, that's what we call it," said N.C. Highway Patrol Trooper Dexter Altman.

At Lakeview Baptist Church Friday, local and state law enforcement helped church officials coordinate Friday and Saturday's events.

The honor guard rehearsed all day and there will be a changing of the guard every 30 minutes.



Gay said his friends' sudden death Wednesday serves as a reminder

"One of the passions about this job is spontaneity of not knowing what you're going to be doing next. That spontaneity can bring danger that you're sometimes you just don't know what you're going to be faced with," Gay said.  

Church officials said law enforcement from all over the country are expected Saturday, to remember the life of the first Union County Sheriff's official to die in the line of duty.

Law enforcement officials said they have been putting so much into this because they want it to all go well for Greene.  

Sheriff Eddie Cathey will be among the many people who speak about Greene and the mark he left on this community.



FUNERAL DETAILS:

  • Visitation will be held from 6 to 8 p.m. Friday at Lakeview Baptist Church in Monroe.
  • The memorial service is set for 11 a.m. Saturday at Lakeview Baptist Church.
  • Greene will be buried at Lakeland Memorial Cemetery in Monroe following the service.
  • Leave your condolences for Sgt. Greene online guestbook


A procession of vehicles will leave Lakeview Baptist Church and make its way toward Lakeland Memorial Park on Lancaster Avenue where Greene will be laid to rest.

Greene's casket will be pulled by horses, two of which pulled President Ronald Reagan's casket for his procession.



The procession will move south on Highway 601 (Concord Highway) to Jefferson Street in downtown Monroe. It will then head west (right) two blocks to Main Street.

It will then travel south (left) on Main Street to Lancaster Avenue (Highway 200) where the procession will move west (right) to Lakeland Memorial Park.

In honor of Greene, Heroes Memorial Foundation is sponsoring a Lights on Event on Facebook. From now until he is laid to rest, they ask all people to turn on their porch light in his honor.

To become part of this event, click here. Heroes Memorial Foundation Inc. is a 501 (c) 3 corporation based in Okeechobee, Florida.

WATCH LIVE SATURDAY:

WSOC-TV and wsoctv.com will have full coverage of the funeral and the procession Saturday starting at 11 a.m. You can watch a livestream of the event on wsoctv.com.

Eyewitness News Midday will have more coverage of the ceremonies.



COMPLETE COVERAGE:



Published: Fri, 21 Nov 2014 12:46:25 -0500

High school principal under fire for allegedly using gang sign

A high school principal in Virginia is taking heat for a controversial photo, but school administrators say the image has been misconstrued.

The photo in question shows five male Brunswick High School students in a school bathroom, posing for a photo. The students are making hand gestures that some observers claim are gang signs. 

In the far right of the photo, Principal Warren Bell can be seen, also making a hand gesture.

http://twitter.com/ABC1230News/status/535536885951496192

While some outraged parents claim the principal is flashing a gang sign along with the students, Superintendent Dora Wynn says the principal was actually gesturing for the students to stop engaging in inappropriate behavior.

The angry parents are not satisfied with that explanation, however, and want the principal suspended or fired, according to a local news report.

For their part, the five students in the photo claim they are not a gang and were not making gang signs.

The incident is still under investigation.

Published: Fri, 21 Nov 2014 12:42:14 -0500

NASCAR star Jimmie Johnson unveils grants for local schools

NASCAR driver Jimmie Johnson and his wife unveiled grants for a dozen schools Thursday -- including five in the Charlotte area.

The Jimmie Johnson Foundation made the announcements at Garinger High School -- which will receive $50,000 to improve its urban garden.

Johnson said he and his wife hope to help other communities in the future.

“My wife and I both came through public education and I know that the budgets were tight then, and to think of where they are now, that's really what’s drawn us to give back to this area,” Johnson said.

The Jimmie Johnson Foundation has committed more than a million dollars in Mecklenburg and Cabarrus counties since 2009.

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Published: Fri, 21 Nov 2014 12:40:29 -0500

Teacher caught on camera forcing student into pool during gym class

A physical education teacher in Stockton, California is on paid leave after police charged him with corporal injury after being recorded forcing a 14-year-old student into a pool during gym class. 

KXTV reported Denny Peterson was seen on the video, dragging the girl toward the pool at Edison High School.  The clip lasts for a over a minute and a half and happened in August.

Now, according to KXTV, the girl's family is considering a lawsuit over the incident.

>> Read more trending stories  

The attorney representing the family told the station that the girl was avoiding the pool after having her hair done earlier that day and that she had an event that evening.  

Attorney Gilbert Somera said the teacher could have punished her academically, but not physically as seen on the video. 

WPVI reported that Peterson was on paid leave for a month, but was then assigned to another school in the district. KXTV said Peterson was put back on paid leave after the criminal charges came to light.

Read more here.

Published: Fri, 21 Nov 2014 12:18:17 -0500

Pregnant woman trapped in snowstorm gives birth at fire station

New father Jared Hojnacki gently leaned into the face of his newborn baby girl and gave her a little peck on the cheek.  

Baby Lucy Grace had a sweet look on her face, as calm as a peaceful summer's day.

She will forever be remembered for coming into this world at the height of the monster storm that swept into Buffalo, New York, making it impossible for Jared and his wife Bethany to get to Mercy Hospital after Bethany went into labor.

Jared and Bethany are convinced there was divine intervention involved in their daughter's birth Tuesday night.

IMAGES: Amazing images Friday of 7 feet of snow in Buffalo

Desperate for help, Jared happened to run into a Buffalo fire lieutenant who was not far from the Hojnacki home.

"My wife's in labor. You got any bright ideas on how you can get her to a hospital,” Jared said.

Just at this time, Denise Perry happened to be stranded in her car nearby.

Word had spread quickly that a woman was in trouble.  

Firefighters had gotten wind that Denise was a nurse. They knocked on her window.

They told her that Bethany's contractions were four minutes apart.  

Then Perry told them, "I'm a labor nurse."

But there was just no getting to Mercy Hospital.  The fire house at Hollywood and Abbott had to suffice as a birthing room.

“They didn't act freaked-out or anything. They just said, ‘We've got this, you'll be OK,’” Bethany said. "Denise helped me get in the right position. And two pushes, and out she came.”

"Denise was our first angel really, that God put right where we needed it to be,” Jared said.

Jared and Bethany had come up with the name Lucy Grace before the birth. Now the name takes on even a more special meaning.

"Lucy means light or illumination. It's kind of like Grace illuminated, which really does capture, I think, how she came into the world,” Bethany said.

Read an update on the story and watch a video from ABC affilaite WKBW in Buffalo.

 

Published: Fri, 21 Nov 2014 12:06:13 -0500

Saints, Bengals fans bury hatchet over beignets

The story of the Saints fan who intercepted a football from a Bengals fan last weekend has come to a happy ending over a New Orleans staple - beignets.

Remember this:

https://twitter.com/SportsCenter/status/534165610134274048

Well, according to reports, the Bengals fan, Christa Barrett and the Saints fan, Tony Williams have buried the hatchet and met at a New Orleans cafe.  

>> Read more trending stories  

According to WWL-TV in New Orleans, Williams and his wife Minnie contacted the station to find Barrett so they can meet.  

When they did, WWL-TV describe the encounter as "instant hugs and tears."

They discussed the "interception," the fallout from the moment caught on camera and the debate over who had the right to keep the game ball. 

"I've just heard so many awful, terrible things from people who have come up and approached me, things you've read on the Internet and I just think it's, I just think it's terrible because I know he doesn't deserve it at all," Barrett told the station. 

But don't worry, despite Williams keeping the ball for his grandson, the Saints also gave Barrett one to take home.

Read more here.

Published: Fri, 21 Nov 2014 12:04:25 -0500

Health officials report 2nd child in NC has died from flu

North Carolina health officials announced Friday that a second child has died from the flu this season.

The state health department said the child died last Saturday, Nov. 15. It did not release the child's hometown, age or sex in order to protect the family's privacy.

IN PHOTOS: Important flu facts

Last month, an elementary school-aged child from the Triangle area died of complications from the flu.

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Published: Fri, 21 Nov 2014 11:59:17 -0500

Town rejects ‘hermaphrodite’ Winnie the Pooh as playground mascot

A town in Poland is giving Winnie the Pooh the cold shoulder, despite being a popular children’s story character in many parts of the world.

When the town council in Tuszyn was choosing a mascot for the neighborhood playground, someone suggested Winnie the Pooh.

But the famous bear was quickly ruled out as a candidate, and for the oddest of reasons.

According to USA Today, council members claimed that Winnie the Pooh is not appropriate for a children’s playground because the character is “half-naked” and is of “dubious sexuality.” One council member labeled the fictional bear as a hermaphrodite, saying that’s why the bear doesn’t wear underpants.

No playground mascot has been chosen yet by the town council.

Published: Fri, 21 Nov 2014 11:56:47 -0500