Latest North Carolina news, sports, business and entertainment at 11:20 a.m. EDT
USING AAA WHILE BLACK
Police can’t find white woman in racist rant that went viral
CHARLOTTE, N.C. (AP) – Police in North Carolina say they can’t find the white woman recorded threatening her black neighbors while they waited for AAA.
Charlotte-Mecklenburg police tell news outlets they attempted to serve a warrant Tuesday on 51-year-old Susan Westwood for misusing 911. Criminal summons for communicating threats and simple assault were issued last week.
And now police have released audio from the 911 calls . Leisa and Mary Garris called twice to report harassment. Westwood called 911 as well, telling the dispatcher she would pay $2,500 “to get them out of here.”
Westwood has since been fired from the $125,000-per-year job she boasted about while the sisters recorded the encounter.
The sisters’ attorney Michael Phillips says the apartment complex has agreed to initiate a process of evicting Westwood.
2 arrested in teen’s fatal shooting at N Carolina barn party
HILLSBOROUGH, N.C. (AP) – Two people have been arrested in connection with the fatal shooting of a high school senior at a North Carolina barn party.
News outlets report that 19-year-old Xzavier D’Andre Gibson was arrested Tuesday on charges of first-degree murder and possession of a firearm by a felon, while 23-year-old Takeem “Mudd” Haywood Norris Turrentine turned himself in on first-degree murder charges Wednesday.
Orange County Sheriff Charles Blackwood said Wednesday that 18-year-old Rashiaya Melton was an innocent bystander who didn’t know her shooter. She was shot in the head early Sunday and died Monday.
Blackwood said there are no more suspects, but police would still like to talk to “people of interest.”
He also said that the owner of the party’s venue, Smokehouse Valley Farm, could face civil or criminal penalties.
N Carolina school board may OK takeover 2nd lagging school
RALEIGH, N.C. (AP) – North Carolina’s statewide school board could order a second academically low-performing school to be taken away from local control and turned over to hired school operators or be closed.
The State Board of Education is scheduled to vote Thursday on whether Wayne County school leaders must turn over or shut down Carver Heights Elementary School starting next year.
Only about 18 percent of the Goldsboro school’s students were proficient in skills expected at their grade level, the lowest of the six elementary schools that were under takeover consideration. The rural, 3rd- through 5th-grade school scored in the bottom 5 percent statewide last year.
A state takeover could mean replacing teachers and administrators. Parents and local school officials are resisting losing control.
Small plane makes emergency landing on I-95 in N Carolina
WILSON, N.C. (AP) – Authorities say no one was injured when a small plane landed on an interstate in North Carolina.
News outlets cite a Federal Aviation Administration release that says the Piper PA-28 was flying from Smithfield to Wilson on Wednesday night “when the pilot declared an emergency.”
The plane made it to the exit ramp.
Further information wasn’t released.
NORTH CAROLINA-SCHOOL SHOOTING
Extra police planned at high school where student was shot
MATTHEWS, N.C. (AP) – Police in a North Carolina town say they will have increased presence at a high school where a student was shot and killed by a fellow student.
Matthews Police Chief Clark Pennington said in a news release he will also be at Butler High School Thursday to greet returning students and staff.
Authorities have charged 16-year-old Jatwan Craig Cuffie as an adult with first-degree murder in the death of 16-year-old Bobby McKeithen.
Capt. Stason Tyrrell said a school resource officer and security officers encountered students running in a hallway Monday. Tyrrell said the resource officer found McKeithen and within minutes, a teacher notified school officials that she was with a student who wanted to turn himself in.
Classes were canceled Tuesday after the shooting and school was out Wednesday.
BIG DONOR-NORTH CAROLINA
Insurance commissioner sending challenged donation to feds
(Information from: WRAL-TV, http://www.wral.com)
RALEIGH, N.C. (AP) – North Carolina Insurance Commissioner Mike Causey says he’s sending money his campaign received from the state Republican Party to the federal government, whose investigators already are scrutinizing a leading state political donor.
Causey told WRAL-TV it was the FBI’s idea to send in the $240,000 received in July. The agency told him he couldn’t return it to the GOP.
A state elections complaint filed Monday by a former county Democratic Party official alleges the money came from $1.5 million Durham investment firm founder Greg Lindberg. The complaint claims he gave the money to the Republican Party to bypass individual donation limits to campaign committees.
Causey and a state GOP leader said campaign finance laws were followed.
Federal investigators have subpoenaed the Insurance Department seeking information on Lindberg and related companies.]
Harvey recovery: 500 free trees offered Saturday in Houston
HOUSTON (AP) – About 500 trees will be given away Saturday in Houston as part of recovery efforts following Hurricane Harvey.
The Texas A&M Forest Service on Thursday announced plans to host the event associated with the NASCAR Green Race for Trees Campaign. It’s also a project of the Arbor Day Foundation, the Harris County Master Gardener Association and Texas A&M AgriLife.
The free trees for Houston residents will replace those damaged and destroyed by Harvey, which struck in August 2017. Officials say Harvey and devastating rain that followed caused about $125 billion in damage statewide and flooded thousands of Houston-area homes.
The giveaway is from 9 a.m. to noon Saturday at Hermann Park. Organizers didn’t immediately provide specifics about the trees for the event also sponsored by Hotels for Hope and Safety-Kleen.
BUSINESS INTERSTATE 40
Business Interstate 40 closure moved back to Nov. 17
(Information from: Winston-Salem Journal, http://www.journalnow.com)
WINSTON-SALEM, N.C. (AP) – North Carolina transportation officials have announced a change to plans to close a portion of Business Interstate 40 for construction.
Originally scheduled for Nov. 11, the N.C. Department of Transportation announced Wednesday the stretch of road through Winston-Salem now will be closed for construction on Nov. 17.
The Winston-Salem Journal reports officials said recent heavy rain forced the change.
This weekend’s planned closure of Peters Creek Parkway at the Business 40 bridge is also being pushed back. That bridge will now be closed from 9 p.m. Friday, Nov. 9, until 5 p.m. Sunday, Nov. 11. The bridge is closed that weekend so that workers can finish work on the bridge expansion.