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May 04, 2019 - 12:00 am


Passengers flee as smoke, flames engulf tour bus in Savannah

SAVANNAH, Ga. (AP) — A bus tour of Georgia's oldest city ended with the vehicle engulfed in smoke and flames.

News outlets report passengers were taking a sightseeing tour Friday in Savannah when the bus caught fire. They fled the burning bus near Forsyth Park on the edge of the city's downtown historic district.

Jim Lucas of Old Savannah Tours told WSAV-TV all passengers on his company's bus escaped safely.

Roxane Kalis Hamway told WJCL-TV she was part of a different tour group that watched as the bus began spewing smoke that quickly escalated to flames.

She said passengers on the bus didn't seem to notice at first "so we screamed at them, 'Hey, your trolley's smoking.'"

Savannah firefighters extinguished the bus fire. The cause was not immediately known.


Georgia man accused of causing crash that killed 2 indicted

ATLANTA (AP) — A Georgia prosecutor says a man accused of leading police on a chase that ended in a crash that killed two people and injured five others has been indicted on charges including murder.

Fulton County District Attorney Paul Howard on Friday announced a 35-count indictment against Kahre Williams. A lawyer for Williams didn't immediately return a call seeking comment Friday.

Howard said in a news release that a state patrol sergeant tried to stop Williams in Atlanta around 3:40 a.m. on April 20 because Williams was driving the wrong way on a one-way street.

Williams sped away and entered Interstate 75/85 southbound. The release says Williams, who was under the influence of alcohol, lost control and slammed into two other vehicles, killing two and injuring five others in those vehicles.


Child pornography roundup nets 82 arrests in Southern states

ATLANTA (AP) — Authorities say a roundup operation targeting child pornography suspects resulted in 82 arrests across eight Southeastern states.

The Georgia Bureau of Investigation said in a news release Friday that 31 of the arrests occurred in Georgia. Most of them involved charges of possessing or distributing child pornography. The GBI said some were charged after making plans to have sex with people the suspects met online and believed were minors, but were actually law enforcement officers.

About 170 agencies also took part in the crackdown that also included in Alabama, Florida, Maryland, North Carolina, South Carolina, Virginia and West Virginia.

The GBI said Operation Southern Impact III was planned for four months and the arrests came after three days of undercover operations, executing search warrants and other actions.


The Latest: Court hears challenge to cleric's imprisonment

ATLANTA (AP) — Supporters of a 1960s black militant-turned-Muslim cleric packed an Atlanta courtroom for arguments on a challenge to his imprisonment for the killing of a sheriff's deputy in 2000.

Jamil Abdullah Al-Amin gained prominence in the 1960s as a Black Panthers leader who went by H. Rap Brown. He later converted to Islam, changed his name and moved to Atlanta.

He was convicted in 2002 of killing Fulton County sheriff's deputy Ricky Kinchen and wounding Kinchen's partner, Deputy Aldranon English. The deputies had been trying to serve a warrant on him in March 2000.

Al-Amin says his imprisonment is unconstitutional because his rights were violated at trial by a prosecutor and the judge.

A three-judge panel of the 11th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals heard arguments in the case Friday.


The Latest: Georgia executes man for killing 2 women in 1994

JACKSON, Ga. (AP) — Georgia has executed a man convicted of killing his ex-girlfriend and another woman nearly 25 years ago.

The Georgia attorney general's office said in a statement that 52-year-old Scotty Garnell Morrow was pronounced dead at 9:38 p.m. Thursday following an injection of pentobarbital at the state prison in Jackson.

Morrow was convicted of fatally shooting ex-girlfriend Barbara Ann Young and her friend Tonya Woods at Young's home in Gainesville in December 1994. Prosecutors said at trial that Morrow shot the two women and another woman when they turned him away as he tried to get Young to take him back. The third woman survived.

Lawyers for Morrow argued he shouldn't have been given the death penalty. They said he snapped because of lingering trauma from abuse suffered as a child.

Morrow was put to death shortly after the U.S. Supreme Court rejected a last-minute bid to block the execution.



Report: Hurricane Florence killed 22, caused $24B in damages

MIAMI (AP) — A National Hurricane Center report says Hurricane Florence killed 22 people across three states, was the ninth most destructive storm in terms of property damage in U.S. history and spawned 44 tornadoes.

Issued Friday, the report also said the September storm was responsible for 30 indirect fatalities, including 25 in North Carolina. Indirect deaths are classified as those resulting from heart attacks, house fires, electrocutions and traffic accidents.

Of the tornadoes caused by Florence, an EF-2 reported in Chesterfield County, Virginia, on Sept. 17, 2018, caused significant structure damage. One building collapsed, killing a man inside.

In all, Florence made an impact on four states. Damages from Florence were estimated at $24 billion. According to the report, the storm left 1.1 million residents without power, all but 100,000 in North Carolina.


Georgia school district to hire new leader from Tennessee

(Information from: The Atlanta Journal-Constitution,

ATLANTA (AP) — The school district of Fulton County, Georgia, has picked a new superintendent.

The Atlanta Journal-Constitution reports the board voted Thursday to hire Mike Looney, the current superintendent of Williamson County Schools in Franklin, Tennessee.

The district has offered Looney a base salary of $329,000, which is $34,000 more than the previous superintendent earned. He'll also get a $1,250 monthly "routine" expense allowance that doesn't require him to document purchases.

The district also promised to reimburse Looney for any "reasonable travel or other expenses," pending board approval. He'll also get $800 per month for automobile expenses and will be reimbursed for insurance, fuel, service and repairs.

Looney is expected to start in mid-June, but will work as a consultant for the district at a daily rate of $1,400 until then.


This story has been corrected to show that Looney's base salary is $34,000 more than his predecessor, not $100,000 more.



Man killed by Georgia officer attempting to serve warrant

GLENWOOD, Ga. (AP) — Authorities in Georgia say a Glenwood man has been killed by a law enforcement officer trying to serve a bench warrant.

News outlets report the state Bureau of Investigation has identified the slain person as 52-year-old David Wayne West.

The GBI says authorities with the Wheeler County Sheriff's Office and Oconee Drug Task Force arrived at an area home Thursday afternoon and saw West outside. It says West took off on a four-wheeler and fled into nearby woods.

It says one of the pursuing officers then got into a physical fight with West and fired his gun. West was pronounced dead at the scene.

The GBI says the officer suffered minor injuries. Authorities didn't immediately release the identity of the officer. An investigation is ongoing.

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