Latest North Carolina news, sports, business and entertainment at 6:20 a.m. EST
North Carolina House speaker seeking another term to lead
RALEIGH, N.C. (AP) – North Carolina House Speaker Tim Moore says he’s running for a third term as the chamber’s top leader.
The Kings Mountain Republican made his candidacy known this week. He said Wednesday incoming House GOP members would gather in December to decide on a speaker nominee and elect other caucus leaders.
Republican Senate leader Phil Berger of Eden said last week he would seek his fifth two-year term. He joined the Senate in 2001. Moore entered the House in 2003 and was rules chairman under then-Speaker Thom Tillis.
The full House and Senate chooses the speaker and Senate leader in January.
Republicans could end up losing over a dozen legislative seats when all election ballots are counted. They’ll keep House and Senate majorities but will no longer have full veto-proof control.
Prosecutors: Hospital group to stop anticompetitive measures
RALEIGH, N.C. (AP) – Federal prosecutors say a dominant North Carolina hospital system has agreed to halt insurance practices that hindered patients from finding better health-care deals.
The U.S. Justice Department said Thursday that Atrium Health agreed to a settlement that prohibits the Charlotte-based system from including certain anticompetitive measures in its contracts with health insurers. Federal prosecutors say the contract restrictions had kept insurers from encouraging patients to find the most cost-effective hospitals and doctors.
The federal antitrust lawsuit filed in 2016 argued that the hospital chain that also operates in South Carolina, formerly known as Carolinas HealthCare System, had used its market power to keep consumers from exploring options that offered them the best value. The health-care system, described by the Justice Department as the largest in North Carolina, had denied wrongdoing.
Sheriff: Man attempted to ignite home with children inside
(Information from: The Dispatch, http://www.the-dispatch.com)
THOMASVILLE, N.C. (AP) – A sheriff’s office in North Carolina says a man attempted to set on fire a home that had children inside of it.
The Dispatch reported Thursday that Davidson County deputies say 41-year-old Buddy Woodrow Rhodes also attempted to gouge out the eyes of a responding law enforcement officer’s K9. An arrest report says Rhodes threatened to stab a man and then sprayed lighter fluid around a room occupied by children, intending to set the room ablaze. The relationship between the parties is unclear.
It says Rhodes then ran from a responding deputy and punched and attempted to blind the K9. He was arrested on charges including attempted first-degree arson and ordered to not have contact with his wife or children. It’s unclear if he has a lawyer.
Flight returns to North Carolina with maintenance issue
CHARLOTTE, N.C. (AP) – Officials say an American Airlines flight had to return to a North Carolina airport because of what was described as a maintenance issue.
Spokeswoman Crystal Byrd said Flight 2114 had 158 passengers and a crew of six when it left Charlotte Douglas International Airport headed for Orlando, Florida, Thursday. Byrd didn’t describe the issue with the Airbus A321.
The flight returned to Charlotte at around 10:15 p.m., about an hour after it left, and Byrd said passengers were put on another flight.
Byrd said the Orlando-bound passengers boarded the new flight out of Charlotte around 4 p.m.
FATAL TRAIN CRASH
Pedestrian struck, killed by train in North Carolina
(Information from: WRAL-TV, http://www.wral.com)
DURHAM, N.C. (AP) – Police in North Carolina say a pedestrian was killed in a crash involving a train.
WRAL-TV reports that the crash took place in Durham. Durham police say the crash happened around 7:15 a.m. Wednesday on Swift Avenue near West Main Street.
Swift Avenue is closed while police investigate. The railroad tracks at that location are next to Duke’s East Campus.
The names of the pedestrian and train operator have not been released.
Amtrak tweeted at 7:22 a.m. that Piedmont Train 73 was stopped west of Durham “due to a trespasser incident.”
WRONG WAY DRIVER
Police: 1 dead in wrong-way crash on Interstate 85
GASTONIA, N.C. (AP) – The North Carolina Highway Patrol says one person is dead after a crash involving a wrong-way driver on Interstate 85.
News outlets report troopers said a driver entered the southbound lanes of the interstate and headed north before hitting another car around 5 p.m. Thursday.
Trooper Ray Pierce said Gaston Emergency Medical Services had at least two other patients, including at least one with life-threatening injuries.
A portion of the interstate was closed as a result of the accident.
WANDERING CHILD-ABUSE CHARGE
Father charged after 3-year-old found wandering in street
GREENSBORO, N.C. (AP) – Police have charged a man with misdemeanor child abuse after a 3-year-old boy was found wandering in the street.
News sources report Greensboro police said the boy was found wandering in the street near an apartment complex around 8:30 a.m. Thursday.
The boy’s father, 35-year-old Robert Terelle Townsend, was charged in the case. He is jailed on a $2,000 bond and is scheduled to appear in court on Friday. It’s not known if he has an attorney.
Authorities said the child has been returned to his mother.
EPA official arrested on felony ethics charges in Alabama
WASHINGTON (AP) – The Trump administration’s top environmental official for the Southeast has been arrested on Alabama state ethics charges related to a scheme to help a coal company avoid paying for a costly toxic waste cleanup.
Trey Glenn was booked into a county jail in Birmingham on Thursday before being released on a $30,000 bond. Glenn was appointed last year as chief of the Environmental Protection Agency’s regional office in Atlanta, which oversees operations in eight states.
Glenn is charged with multiple ethics violations stemming from his prior work as a coal-industry consultant opposing federal Superfund cleanup efforts. He resigned as director of the Alabama Department of Environmental Management in 2009 following an earlier ethics scandal.
Glenn issued a statement through his lawyer on Thursday saying he is innocent of all charges.