Latest North Carolina news, sports, business and entertainment at 6:20 a.m. EST
NC woman gets prison for hiding foreign athletes from ICE
CHARLOTTE, N.C. (AP) – The founder of a now-defunct private school in North Carolina has been sentenced to 18 months in prison for hiding foreign student-athletes from federal immigration authorities.
News outlet report 65-year-old Evelyn Mack was sentenced Tuesday after previously pleading guilty to conspiracy to harbor aliens. Court documents say Mack, owner and schoolmaster of Evelyn Mack Academy, forged enrollment and immigration records for the student-athletes in return for bribes from coaches and recruiters.
She’s believed to have gotten $1,000 kickbacks on about 75 students, most from Africa. Prosecutors say Mack lied about the students attending her academy, which qualified for the student-visa program. They say the students were actually shipped across the country to schools not in the program, allowing them to avoid detection by U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement.
FATAL INTERSTATE CRASH-LAWSUIT
Family of girl killed in crash sues driver, trucking company
WILMINGTON, Del. (AP) – The family of a 9-year-old girl who was one of two people who died after a tractor-trailer plowed into several vehicles on Interstate 95 has filed a federal lawsuit against the trucking company and driver.
The lawsuit was filed Tuesday by Linda Asamoah and Patrick Owusu of Newark. Their daughter, Roselyn Adjei-Owusa, died in the September crash, along with 61-year-old Albert Frankel of Middletown. Asamoah was seriously injured.
Frankel’s car was rear-ended in rush-hour congestion by the tractor-trailer, which then hit Asamoah’s vehicle and another car.
The lawsuit alleges that truck driver Brian Keith Winningham of Fairmont, North Carolina, was negligent, and that trucking company JNJ Express is vicariously liable for his actions.
ELECTION 2020-LIEUTENANT GOVERNOR-JOHNSON
North Carolina schools chief running for lieutenant governor
RALEIGH, N.C. (AP) – North Carolina’s state schools superintendent has decided he’ll run for lieutenant governor next year, instead of seeking re-election.
Republican Mark Johnson announced on Tuesday he wants a different office than superintendent of public instruction, which he won in 2016.
Johnson had hinted that he was considering an executive branch position. Now he’ll join a crowded March GOP primary field with at least six other announced candidates.
Power to the superintendent’s position actually increased during Johnson’s term after a 2016 law shifted responsibilities away from the state education board. And Johnson has certainly raised the profile of the superintendent’s post.
But Johnson said in a release that he’s received pushback from establishment Republicans and Democrats and bureaucrats. He says citizens deserve someone committed to more accountable, efficient and transparent state government.
Fort Bragg team dispatched to N Carolina Interstate 26 crash
ASHEVILLE, N.C. (AP) – Officials say a section of interstate in North Carolina was closed after a tractor-trailer crash, and a team from Fort Bragg was dispatched to handle what was described as “explosive ordnance disposal.”
The state Department of Transportation said in a news release that the crash occurred early Tuesday on Interstate 26 between the Blue Ridge Parkway and Long Shoals Road and led to a closure in the eastbound lanes.
The Asheville Citizen-Times reports Fort Bragg spokesman Adam Luther said a team from the post was sent to assist with the ordnance disposal as a matter of standard procedure. Luther added that the truck was not headed to Fort Bragg, but to a destination in South Carolina.
The transportation department said the interstate was expected to reopen late Tuesday night.
ELECTION 2020-INSURANCE COMMISSIONER
Former N Carolina insurance chief Goodwin seeks old job back
RALEIGH, N.C. (AP) – North Carolina’s insurance commissioner from 2009 through 2016 wants the job again.
Democrat Wayne Goodwin announced on Tuesday he’ll run for commissioner next year, setting up a potential rematch with current Commissioner Mike Causey, the Republican who beat him in 2016. Causey is seeking re-election.
Goodwin has been the state Democratic Party chair since his defeat. He was a state legislator and assistant insurance commissioner until his 2008 election victory for commissioner. In a news release, Goodwin blamed Causey for higher insurance rates and says politics is getting in the way of health care savings.
Causey gained attention this year after federal prosecutors said he reported an alleged bribe attempt against him and helped authorities gather evidence. Four people were indicted in the matter, including then-state GOP Chairman Robin Hayes.
North Carolina lawmakers reconvene, redistricting on list
RALEIGH, N.C. (AP) – North Carolina legislators are returning to Raleigh to figure out how to change congressional districts now that state judges have blocked the current boundaries for next year’s elections because of their likely unlawful partisan bias.
The General Assembly reconvenes on Wednesday following a two-week break, with the redrawing and approval of U.S. House maps on its to-do list. Republican lawmakers are aiming to debate their favored configurations on chamber floors on Wednesday or Thursday. There’s no evidence yet that House and Senate redistricting leaders back the same plan.
A special House-Senate committee will receive public comment Wednesday morning on plans drawn by individual legislators over the past week.
Lawmakers also could vote on non-redistricting legislation covering a handful of topics. There’s no end date yet on the session adjournment.
CASH BAIL LAWSUIT
Jail inmates sue over county’s cash bail system
RALEIGH, N.C. (AP) – A group of North Carolina jail inmates are challenging a county’s cash bail requirements, saying the system unfairly jails the poor while letting people with money go home.
The American Civil Liberties Union filed the lawsuit Tuesday in federal court on behalf of three Alamance County jail inmates who say they can’t afford cash bail amounts of more than $1,000. Two of the inmates are only facing misdemeanor charges.
ACLU lawyers argue the county violates the inmates’ rights because they are presumed innocent while awaiting trial yet remain confined because they can’t afford bail. The ACLU is seeking class-action status.
A judge and magistrates named as defendants declined comment through staff members.
Alamance County Sheriff Terry Johnson said the lawsuit shouldn’t target him because he doesn’t set bonds.
Suspect wanted in 2 deaths in North Carolina arrested
GRAHAM, N.C. (AP) – A North Carolina sheriff’s office says it has arrested a man wanted in the shooting deaths of two people.
News outlets report the Alamance County Sheriff’s Office says deputies were called to an address in Graham on Monday, where they found the victims and determined the suspect’s identity.
A spokesman for the sheriff’s office says the suspect was taken into custody early Tuesday in Asheboro, nearly 50 miles (80 kilometers) southeast of Graham.
The names of the victims haven’t been released.
The sheriff’s office says it dispatched deputies to Asheboro to pick up the suspect and return him to Alamance County for questioning by detectives.