Latest North Carolina news, sports, business and entertainment at 11:20 a.m. EDT
BUS CRASH DEATH
Man who hit North Carolina school bus dies 6 days later
LUMBERTSON, N.C. (AP) – The driver of a pickup truck that crashed into a North Carolina school bus last week has died from his injuries.
News outlets reported that 20-year-old Samuel Ray Hunt of Lumberton died earlier this week in a South Carolina hospital.
Hunt was flown to McLeod Regional Medical Center in Florence, South Carolina, after the wreck near Red Springs in Robeson County on May 22.
Troopers say Hunt ran off the right side of a road in a curve and overcorrected, crossing the center line and hitting a school bus. A second school bus then ran into the back of the first bus.
The driver of the first bus and one student were taken to Scotland Memorial Hospital in Laurinburg with injuries that did not appear to be life-threatening..
STATE BUDGET-THE LATEST
The Latest: Senate quickly completes its part in budget vote
RALEIGH, N.C. (AP) – The North Carolina Senate has quickly completed its part approving state government budget adjustments for the next fiscal year.
Senators voted 36-14 Thursday for the nearly $24 billion spending plan after essentially no debate. They talked for about 90 minutes Wednesday before the Republican-led chamber gave the plan initial approval with an identical nearly party-line vote.
The House scheduled debate and votes later Thursday and Friday. Once that’s all done, the measure will go to Democratic Gov. Roy Cooper. He vetoed the two-year budget in 2017, but the GOP majorities overrode the veto.
Republicans are highlighting hefty average pay raises for teachers, troopers, correctional officers and otherwise lower-income state employees. Democrats say the GOP could have given more to teachers and for school safety upgrades but the party keeps diverting revenues to pay for tax cuts for corporations and the highest wage-earners.
TROPICAL WEATHER-THE LATEST
Latest: 3 missing people sought amid Virginia flooding
BOONE, N.C. (AP) – Authorities say flooding in rural Virginia that’s left at least three people missing has also damaged an unknown number of homes, washed out some roads and bridges and prompted at least one school system to close.
Dan Eggleston is fire chief for central Virginia’s Albemarle County. He said at a news conference Thursday morning that rescue efforts are continuing for two people who were swept away by a normally docile creek.
Eggleston says authorities have responded to at least 10 other water rescues and received reports of damage to homes. The extent of the damage wasn’t immediately clear.
Farther north in Madison County, the sheriff’s office said rescuers are searching for a female reported missing the night before.
Albemarle County schools were closed Thursday, and Eggleston said damage to a water treatment plant had affected service in part of the county.
Senate Oks judicial remap of N Carolina’s largest county
RALEIGH, N.C. (AP) – Election districts for Superior Court judges in North Carolina’s largest county would be retooled in response to a decade-old legal ruling in legislation that cleared one General Assembly chamber.
The Senate agreed in a party-line vote Wednesday to create eight Superior Court districts in Mecklenburg County, up from the current three. People in each district would vote for one judge. District Court judgeships would fall into those same eight districts. Currently all 21 District Court judges are elected countywide. Voters would chose two or three of those judges.
Republicans says they’re worried current Mecklenburg Superior Court districts are unconstitutional because they are so unequal in population. The state Supreme Court struck down Wake County districts for that reason in 2009.
The measure next goes to the House for consideration.
OFFICERS CHARGED-NORTH CAROLINA
Video shows officers tackle, punch North Carolina man
RALEIGH, N.C. (AP) – Newly released law enforcement video shows officers tackling and punching a man in an altercation that led to assault charges against two North Carolina state troopers and a sheriff’s deputy.
Dashboard camera video from one of the first troopers to arrive shows Kyron Hinton standing alone on April 3, moaning and gesturing on a Raleigh street. Officers from multiple agencies then surround him.
Eventually a canine handler approaches, and the dog lunges and gets a mouthful of Hinton’s clothing. The canine handler then tackles Hinton. While Hinton is on the ground, at least one officer can be seen punching him.
The videos were released Wednesday to media outlets who went to court to request they be made public.
Two troopers and a deputy were charged with assault earlier this month.
Pork giant makes case that penned hogs are good neighbors
RALEIGH, N.C. (AP) – The world’s largest pork producer is putting its best case before jurors to debunk claims its waste emits stenches so foul and attracts so many flies that life for rural neighbors is miserable.
Smithfield Foods’ lawyers hand-picked the two plaintiffs and the neighboring 4,700-hog operation in the second in a series of nuisance lawsuits that opened Wednesday.
Plaintiffs’ lawyers picked the first case and won a nearly $51 million jury verdict last month. That was cut to about $3 million because a state law limits punishment for corporate misdeeds.
Neighbors say for decades they’ve put up with livestock sewage sprayed over crops that also drifts and coats their homes and cars.
Smithfield Foods lawyers say jurors should forget the company’s size and focus on how one grower treats his neighbors.
This story has been corrected to say Wednesday instead of Tuesday.
DRIVING WHILE POOR
Lawsuit: The poor shouldn’t lose licenses over traffic fines
RALEIGH, N.C. (AP) – A federal lawsuit filed in North Carolina says low-income people shouldn’t lose their drivers’ licenses when they can’t afford to pay traffic fines and court costs.
The American Civil Liberties Union and the Southern Poverty Law Center are among the groups that filed the lawsuit Wednesday on behalf of two named plaintiffs. They say they can’t afford to pay their traffic tickets, so they have to decide between driving with a revoked license or not supporting their families.
The lawsuit says the practice violates the right to due process under the 14th amendment of the U.S. Constitution because the state doesn’t offer drivers a hearing to explain why they haven’t paid.
DMV Commissioner Torre Jessup is named as the defendant.
A spokeswoman says the state is reviewing the lawsuit.
Republican budget on course to soon reach Gov. Cooper
RALEIGH, N.C. (AP) – Republican adjustments to next year’s North Carolina state budget remain on course to wind up on Gov. Roy Cooper’s desk as soon as the end of the week.
Both the House and Senate scheduled debate and votes Thursday on the nearly $24 billion plan altering the second year of the two-year budget approved last year. The Senate already gave tentative approval to the changes Wednesday on a nearly party-line vote. The House will stick around until Friday to complete its debate.
Cooper hasn’t said publicly what he’ll do with the bill, but the Democrat has criticized GOP leaders for failing to accept his ideas on blocking tax breaks and how to raise teacher pay and improve school safety. He vetoed the two-year measure last year, but Republicans quickly overrode it.