Latest North Carolina news, sports, business and entertainment at 1:20 a.m. EST
Deputy killed trying to catch up to chase on N Carolina road
WAGRAM, N.C. (AP) – Authorities say a sheriff’s deputy in North Carolina has died after his cruiser ran off the road and hit a tree as he tried to catch up to a chase.
The Highway Patrol says 24-year-old Scotland County deputy Alexis Locklear wrecked his car Thursday evening on a two-lane road near Wagram.
Troopers say he died at the scene and a special team is investigating the crash.
Scotland County Sheriff Ralph Kersey says Locklear was trying to catch up to another officer who was chasing a vehicle when he wrecked. A statement from the sheriff didn’t give any other details about the pursuit.
Kersey says Locklear was approaching his one-year anniversary with the force and was loved, honored and respected by his fellow officers.
Woman charged in fire that killed man also poisoned family
(Information from: Rocky Mount Telegram, http://www.rockymounttelegram.com)
BATTLEBORO, N.C. (AP) – A woman who authorities say set her boyfriend’s mobile home on fire, killing him, also poisoned cheese after an argument with her family five years ago.
Nash County Chief Deputy Brandon Medina says 29-year-old Tiara Drake argued with her boyfriend so intensely before the fire he called law enforcement and asked her to leave.
Medina says Drake returned to the Battleboro home around 4:40 a.m. Wednesday and set a fire that killed 51-year-old James McNair as he slept.
The Rocky Mount Telegram reports Drake served probation after poisoning cheese with powdered cleaner, window cleaner and detergent after her family said she could not have any.
Drake is charged with first-degree arson and first-degree murder in the fire. It wasn’t known if she had a lawyer.
Wilmington studies what it can do about 2-mile long trains
(Information from: The StarNews, http://starnewsonline.com)
WILMINGTON, N.C. (AP) – Officials in a North Carolina coastal city are discussing what to do if its port begins loading and unloading trains nearly 2 miles (3 kilometers) long.
The Port of Wilmington and the North Carolina Department of Transportation are discussing how to improve rail service in Wilmington, where there are more than 30 at-grade railroad crossings, many close together.
City officials worry 10,000-foot (3,000-meter) trains that may start coming to the port could snarl traffic.
The StarNews of Wilmington reports one suggestion is moving the train tracks to the west side of the Cape Fear river and along U.S. Highway 421 out of town.
Port spokeswoman Laura Blair says 10,000-foot trains aren’t likely, but it is always good to plan ahead.
Waffle House parking lot hit-and-run leads to shootout
CHARLOTTE, N.C. (AP) – Authorities say a car struck in a Waffle House parking lot chased after the other vehicle and the pursuit ended in a shootout where no one was injured.
UNC-Charlotte sent out an alert about the shooting early Saturday because it took place near a campus parking lot.
Police say the vehicle that was hit chased the other car and someone inside fired. Someone inside the car that struck the other vehicle fired back.
Police told media outlets they are still investigating the incident and no charges have been filed.
Woman found dead in river was naked, had zip tie on wrist
FAYETTEVILLE, N.C. (AP) – An autopsy has found a 19-year-old woman found dead in a North Carolina river was found naked with a zip tie around her wrist and was violently killed by someone else.
Media outlets report that the pathologist couldn’t give an exact cause of death for Kristen Stone, whose body was found in the Cape Fear River by a fisherman on Aug. 9. But the autopsy suggests she could have been smothered, suffocated or drowned.
Authorities charged 33-year-old Charles Cottingham with first-degree murder in Stone’s death. Court records indicate Cottingham was charged with sexually assaulting Stone a year earlier in Hoke County.
Authorities say in that attack he held a gun to her head and made her perform a sex act.
Billy Graham remembered for humility at home and on crusades
CHARLOTTE, N.C. (AP) – To the Rev. Billy Graham’s children, the world-famous evangelist was the same man whether he was preaching to multitudes or ministering to his own family. He lived, they say, with a personable humility and an unwavering focus on the Bible.
That’s how they remembered him Friday during a funeral attended by about 2,000 people in Charlotte, North Carolina.
The congregation included President Donald Trump, Vice President Mike Pence and their wives. Neither Pence nor Trump spoke during the service that was streamed live online, but they met privately with the family beforehand.
Like Graham’s famous crusades, the funeral featured singers who had shared his stage in years past: Linda McCrary-Fisher, Michael W. Smith and the Gaither Vocal Band.
Graham died Feb. 21 at age 99.
N Carolina Supreme Court to consider Senate confirmation law
RALEIGH, N.C. (AP) – The constitutionality of another law that gave more power to the North Carolina General Assembly at the expense of Gov. Roy Cooper will be settled at the state Supreme Court.
Justices said Friday they will take up the case of whether the Senate could subject Cooper’s appointed Cabinet members to confirmation based on a December 2016 law.
Cooper’s nominations were confirmed in 2017.
Cooper sued over the law and others approved by Republican legislators just before he took office. He says confirmation votes violate the separation of powers between the executive and legislative branches.
But Republican lawmakers say the state constitution gives the Senate clear authority to review a governor’s Cabinet choices. A state Court of Appeals panel agreed last November. At the time, Cooper said he would appeal further.
Court: Medicaid providers didn’t exhaust government appeals
RALEIGH, N.C. (AP) – North Carolina’s highest court has decided a lawsuit filed by medical offices that treat state Medicaid patients over a new billing system they say failed to pay them can’t go to trial.
The medical practices say they weren’t getting reimbursed for work when the “NCTracks” system began in mid-2013. They filed a class action lawsuit against the state health agency and system vendor.
But the state Supreme Court ruled Friday the providers hadn’t exhausted administrative appeals within state government to get what they believe is due them.
The medical offices didn’t believe those appeals would do any good, but Justice Barbara Jackson wrote no evidence had been presented backing up that argument. Meanwhile, Jackson says it appears the providers still have time to seek reimbursement through administrative channels years later.