HELLO EVERYONE AND THANKS FOR JOINING US.I'M LEAH JOHNSON..
AND I'M FRANK MALLOY..THIS IS EYEWITNESS NEWS AT SIX.
OUR TOP STORY AT SIX - A JONES COUNTY SCHOOL BUS DRIVER WILL NOT FACE CHARGES AFTER HITTING AND KILLING A 14-YEAR-OLD STUDENT LAST YEAR.
A GRAND JURY CLEARED 63-YEAR-OLD WAYNE GRAHAM OF THE DEATH OF COURTNEY WHITE.
AS VANESSA RUFFES EXPLAINS... DISTRICT ATTORNEY FRED BRIGHT SAYS THE GRAND JURY CONSIDERED EVIDENCE... INCLUDING THE PRESENCE OF PRESCRIPTION DRUGS IN GRAHAM'S SYSTEM... BUT DECIDED HE DIDN'T DO ANYTHING WRONG.
A GRAND JURY CALLED THE SCHOOL BUS ACCIDENT LAST FEBRUARY THAT TOOK THE LIFE OF 14-YEAR-OLD COURTNEY WHITE... JUST THAT -- AN ACCIDENT -- ACCORDING TO DISTRICT ATTORNEY FRED BRIGHT.
"Quite candidly that was something we expected. We just wanted to the community to take a look at it -- made sure the right thing got done."
BRIGHT SAYS A JONES COUNTY GRAND JURY DELIBERATED THIS WEEK... DECIDING THAT 63-YEAR-OLD WAYNE GRAHAM... WHO WAS DRIVING THE BUS... SHOULD NOT FACE CHARGES.
THE ACCIDENT HAPPENED A YEAR -TO THE DAY- WEDNESDAY.
OFFICIALS SAY GRAHAM STRUCK AND KILLED WHITE AS SHE RAN TO CATCH HIS BUS...THEN DROVE AWAY.
HE TOLD THEM -- AT THE TIME -- HE DIDN'T REALIZE HE'D HIT HER.
Bright "There's no evidence to suggest he knew he'd run over with the bus this child."
COURT DOCUMENTS SHOW THE GRAND JURY LOOKED AT TWO CHARGES... FIRST DEGREE VEHICULAR HOMICIDE... AND D-U-I.
BRIGHT SAYS BLOOD TESTS SHOWED GRAHAM HAD TWO PRESCRIPTION DRUGS IN HIS SYSTEM AT THE TIME OF THE ACCIDENT... TRAMADOL -- LISTED IN MEDICAL SITES AS A PAIN KILLER... AND GABAPENTIN... AN ANTICONVULSANT.
BRIGHT SAYS THEY CONSULTED PHARMACY EXPERTS ABOUT THEIR EFFECTS.
"They all told us the same thing. These were therapeutic doses, valid license -- prescriptions -- that should not have any effect on his ability to drive the bus safely."
WEDNESDAY ... AT A CANDLELIGHT VIGIL FOR THEIR DAUGHTER... THE WHITE FAMILY SAID THEY DID NOT WANT TO SEE GRAHAM PUNISHED -- AND BY REJECTING CHARGES... IT SEEMS THE GRAND JURY AGREED. VANESSA RUFFES 13WMAZ EYEWITNESS NEWS.
>> BRIGHT SAYS THE GRAND JURY DECISION FALLING ON THE ANNIVERSARY OF WHITE'S DEATH WAS A COINCIDENCE.
HE SAYS IN JONES COUNTY... GRAND JURIES ARE SCHEDULED IN AUGUST AND FEBRUARY.
HE SAYS GRAHAM'S CASE CAME UP IN FEBRUARY BECAUSE EVIDENCE WAS NOT READY FOR LAST AUGUST.
ALSO IN THIS SESSION... THE GRAND JURY INDICTED A JONES COUNTY DAYCARE OWNER ARRESTED IN JUNE.... AFTER 4 OF HER STUDENTS WERE FOUND WALKING ALONG HIGHWAY LAVERNE STUBBS FACES FOUR COUNTS OF RECKLESS ENDANGERMENT... WHICH ARE MISDEMEANORS...
AND 2 COUNTS OF MAKING FALSE STATEMENTS -- FELONIES -- ACCORDING TO DISTRICT ATTORNEY FRED BRIGHT.
BRIGHT SAYS THE TWO FELONY CHARGES WERE ADDED BECAUSE STUBBS ALLEGEDLY LIED TO A STATE EDUCATION OFFICIAL ABOUT BEING OVER CAPACITY AT HER KIDS UNIVERSITY DAYCARE.
HE SAYS.... SHE'S ALSO ACCUSED OF LYING TO A JONES COUNTY SHERIFF'S DEPUTY... WHEN ASKED IF THE STUDENTS WERE HERS.
Fred Bright, Ocmulgee Judicial Circuit DA "Her total exposure would be up to -- the most she could get would be fourteen years, of course the minimum on a felony could be one year. And of course that could be any combination of probation , prison, a fine, or anything in between."
OFFICIALS SAY AT THE TIME OF THE ARREST... STUBBS TOLD THEM A STATE INSPECTION AGENCY HAD DROPPED IN ON HER DAYCARE.
THEY SAY SHE KNEW SHE WAS OVER CAPACITY... AND TOLD THE 4 KIDS TO HIDE BEHIND A SHED... AND THEN WALK HOME.
BRIGHT SAYS THE NEXT STEP IN THE COURT PROCESS IS STUBBS' ARRAIGNMENT... WHICH HE SAYS HAS NOT YET BEEN SCHEDULED.
A MAN IS IN JAIL CHARGED WITH SETTING FIRE TO A HISTORIC HOUSE AT THE OCMULGEE NATIONAL MONUMENT.
THAT'S ACCORDING TO BIBB COUNTY SERGEANT SEAN DEFOE.
DWIGHT DONALD DAVIS ALLEGEDLY SET FIRE TO WHAT USED TO BE THE SUPERINTENDENT'S HOUSE... NEAR THE PARK ENTRANCE.
PARK SUPERINTENDENT JIM DAVID SAYS DAVIS BROKE IN THE FRONT DOOR... AND SET FIRE TO A BACK ROOM AROUND 3:30 A-M WEDNESDAY.
HE SAYS THAT ROOM HAS EXTENSIVE DAMAGE... MOSTLY IN THE DOOR FRAMES... BUT THE MACON-BIBB FIRE DEPARTMENT ARRIVED JUST IN TIME TO SAVE MUCH OF THE HOME.
Jim David, Park Superintendent: "They busted in and began to put this fire out. If they had been probably 10-15 minutes later even, this house would've been fully engulfed in flames and with all this old dry wood, this thing would've been a total loss."
DAVID SAYS HE USED TO LIVE IN THE HOME... BUT MOVED OUT FIVE YEARS AGO.
NO ONE WAS INJURED.
BIBB COUNTY'S NEW SUPERINTENDENT.. ROMAIN DALLEMAND MET WITH THE SCHOOL BOARD FOR THE FIRST TIME THIS AFTERNOON.
LAUREN DISPIRITO WAS AT THE MEETING AND JOINS US NOW.
FRANK... LEAH... DOZENS OF BIBB EDUCATORS TURNED OUT TO HEAR THEIR NEW LEADER SPEAK.
IN A BRIEF SPEECH... DALLEMAND OUTLINED PLANS FOR CHANGE... INCLUDING AN OUTSIDE EDUCATIONAL AUDIT.
HE SAYS HE'S JUST BEGINNING THE PROCESS OF CHARTING A STRATEGIC PLAN... THAT HE SAYS HE'LL PUT IN PLACE IN JULY 2012.
HERE'S PART OF WHAT HE HAD TO SAY.
Romain Dallemand, Bibb Superintendent
"We know where we are today, and we know that we need to be in a better place, keep on doing what we've always done, will give us the same results, and so we need to change the way we do business and I will begin to implement the change right here at the central office. One of the things that we've done a very good job with is that every year we conduct a financial audit. In my meeting with cabinet members and other administrators one of things that I discovered is that we have individuals workng very hard however, we're not all moving in the same direction. We need to conduct an educational audit and I would like to initiate that as early as the month of March."
DALLEMAND ALSO SAYS HE PLANS TO CREATE A WELCOME CENTER... HE CALLED IT A "ONE-STOP SHOP" WHERE PEOPLE CAN GET INFORMATION ABOUT THE DISTRICT.
HE SAYS THAT WOULD IMPROVE EFFICIENCY AND PUBLIC TRUST... PLUS... PROMOTE TRANSPARENCY.
OKAY THANKS LAUREN.
DALLEMAND SAYS HE PLANS TO SPEND ONE DAY...AT EACH OF THE DISTRICT'S 41 SCHOOLS DURING THIS SCHOOL YEAR...TO GET A VIEW FROM THE TRENCHES.
HE SAYS HE HOPES TO START THOSE VISITS NEXT MONTH.
A NON-PROFIT ORGANIZATION THAT PRESERVES AMERICAN ORAL HISTORY IS MAKING A STOP IN MACON.
STORYCORPS TRAVELS THE COUNTRY IN THIS MOBILE AUDIO BOOTH INTERVIEWING PEOPLE FROM ALL BACKGROUNDS... AND SAVING THEIR STORIES FOR FUTURE GENERATIONS.
OVER 35-THOUSAND INTERVIEWS HAVE TAKEN PLACE AND ARE ARCHIVEDIN THE LIBRARY OF CONGRESS...
NOW CAPRICORN RECORDS CO-FOUNDER... ALAN WALDEN... WAS ADDED TO THAT LIST.
HE WAS INTERVIEWED BY HIS DAUGHTER JESSICA.
Jon Hoban, GPB Radio: "All walks of life all socioeconomic groups this is what we're trying to do is capture the whole entire community fabric and not just these are the five or ten people who knew about it and signed up. It's a wide group of people."
THE MOBILE BOOTH WILL BE AT ROSA PARKS SQUARE IN DOWNTOWN UNTIL MARCH 12TH.
TO SET UP AND INTERVIEW YOU CAN CALL 1-800-850-4406.
THE DECISION ABOUT WHETHER TO SUSPEND WARNER ROBINS COUNCIL MEMBER JOHN WILLIAMS IS NOW IN THE HANDS OF THE GOVERNOR.
A REVIEW PANEL MET TODAY IN ATLANTA TO DECIDE IF WILLIAMS FELONY INDICTMENT... RELATES TO HIS POSITION.
LORRA LYNCH-JONES SHOWS YOU WHAT HAPPENED AND EXPLAINS WHAT'S NEXT.
AT THE STATE'S JUDICIAL BUILDING IN ATLANTA... A THREE MEMBER COMISSION... JOHN WILLIAMS AND HIS ATTORNEY GATHERED TO TALK ABOUT HIS POSSIBLE SUSPENSION.
THE ATTORNEY GENERAL... SAM OLENS... ASKED MACON CITY COUNCIL MEMBER RICK HUTTO... AND VIENNA COUNCIL MEMBER ELIZABETH ENGLISH TO JOIN HIM ON THE PANEL... THEIR TASK: REVIEW JOHN WILLIAMS INDICTMENT... AND MAKE A RECOMMENDATION TO THE GOVERNOR.
Sam Olens: "The indictment needs to relate to an action of office. It has to adversely affect that office. It has to adversely affect the publics interest in that individual to stay in that office, so it's a very strict statuatory section"
THE PANEL HEARD THE CHARGE AGAINST WILLIAMS... OF MAKING A FALSE STATEMENT TO POLICE ABOUT A LOST CELL PHONE AT A WAFFLE HOUSE.
THEN... WILLIAM'S ATTORNEY CHARLES COX RESPONDED.
nats- 9:15 cox -there's no allegation
HE PRESENTED A 13-WMAZ ARTICLE FROM NOVEMBER.. IN WHICH THE SPECIAL PROSECUTOR ON THE CASE... CRAIG FRASER... SAID HE WOULD NOT FORWARD WILLIAM'S INDICTMENT TO THE GOVERNOR... BECAUSE THE CHARGE... DIDN'T RELATE TO WILLIAM'S POSITION.
Charles Cox:Mr. Frazier did not do that becuase he made the decision on the front end that this did not relate to the administration in Mr. Williams Office and determined it didn't meet the standard to be reported"
THE HEARING LASTED A LITTLE MORE THAN TEN MINUTES... THEN THE PANEL PRIVATELY TALKED ABOUT THE EVIDENCE FOR ANOTHER TEN MINUTES.
OLENS SAID THEY SENT THIER RECOMMENDATION TO GOVERNOR NATHAN DEAL.... WHO WILL MAKE THE DECISION... IF SUSPENSION WAS THE RECOMMENDATION.
Lorra Lynch-Jones, EWN: "Olens said there's not set time frame on how long it could take for Deal to make his decision... and there's no precendent because Deal's a new governor.STD
>> IF WILLIAMS WERE SUSPENDED... WARNER ROBINS CITY CODE SAYS THE MAYOR AND COUNCIL WOULD APPOINT SOMEONE TO FILL THE VACANCY... UNTIL THE NEXT ELECTION.
WILLIAMS ARRAIGNMENT IN HOUSTON COUNTY COURT IS SET FOR FEBRUARY 23RD.
IF HE'S CONVICTED... THE CRIME CARRIES A ONE THOUSAND DOLLAR FINE AND ONE TO FIVE YEARS IN PRISON.
ALL THIS WEEK ON EYEWITNESS NEWS AT FIVE... WE'RE WORKING TO TAKE THE MYSTERY OUT OF ELECTRONICS SHOPPING WITH TECH WEEK.
TODAY... LORRA LYNCH-JONES TOOK A LOOK AT THE PROS AND CONS OF SMART PHONES VERSUS REGULAR CELL PHONES.
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SO FAR... 75 PERCENT OF VOTERS SAY THEY HURT RELATIONSHIPS.. WHILE 25 PERCENT SAY THEY HELP THEM.
VOTE RIGHT NOW... LOOK FOR THE LINK TO THE WEB
POLL QUESTION IN THE "DON'T MISS" BOX ON THE RIGHT SIDE OF OUR HOMEPAGE.
AND JOIN US TOMORROW ON EYEWITNESS NEWS AT FIVE FOR THE LAST DAY OF TECH WEEK.
LORRA WILL TAKE A LOOK AT WHAT YOU NEED TO KNOW BEFORE YOU HEAD OUT TO BUY A TELEVISION.
THANKS FOR JOINING US.... WE'LL BE BACK TONIGHT AT 11.
BUT REMEMBER...THE NEWS IS ALWAYS ON AT 13WMAZ.COM !
THE EVENING NEWS WITH KATIE COURIC IS UP NEXT.
HAVE A SAFE NIGHT EVERYONE.