GOOD EVENING AND THANKS FOR JOINING US..
I'M LEAH JOHNSON..
FRANK MALLOY HAS THE NIGHT OFF
TONIGHT'S TOP STORY...
THE VERDICT IS IN.. IN THE JERRY SANDUSKY CHILD ABUSE TRIAL.
THE FORMER PENN STATE ASSISTANT COACH IS IN JAIL TONIGHT AFTER BEING FOUND GUILTY ON 45 OF THE 48 CHARGES OF ABUSE THAT HAPPENED OVER A 15 YEAR PERIOD.
SANDUSKY IS AWAITING SENTENCING... WHICH COULD COME IN ABOUT THREE MONTHS.
HE'S FACING LIFE IN PRISON.
OUR OTHER TOP STORY TONIGHT....
A CENTRAL GEORGIA NEWS PIONEER AND VISIONARY HAS DIED.
BILL TRIBBLE, WHO LED 13WMAZ'S NEWS DEPARTMENT FOR MORE THAN THREE DECADES DIED TODAY AFTER A BATTLE WITH CANCER.
HE WAS 80 YEARS OLD.
LATER ON IN THIS NEWSCAST WE'LL HAVE MORE ON HIS CONTRIBUTION TO WMAZ AND CENTRAL GEORGIA.
YOU'LL ALSO HEAR FROM SOME OF THE PEOPLE WHO ADMIRED HIS WORK AND HIS VISION FOR JOURNALISM.
IT MAY NOT BE A CRIME... BUT MACON POLICE SAY LEAVING A SMALL CHILD ALONE INSIDE A CAR CAN BE RISKY BUSINESS.
ONE MACON WOMAN FOUND THAT OUT LAST NIGHT.
BUT HER FIVE MONTH OLD IS SAFE AFTER BEING FOUND ON THE SIDE OF A ROAD.
ACCORDING TO POLICE... A MAN STOLE A CAR WTH THE BABY INSIDE.
29-YEAR-OLD DEMARIO FERGUSON IS CHARGED WITH KIDNAPPING AND AUTO THEFT.
CHARDAE JAMES TOLD OFFICERS THAT SHE WENT INSIDE A HOUSE ON CHAPPELL STREET AROUND 9-30 LAST NIGHT.
POLICE SAY SHE LEFT HER DAUGHTER IN THE CAR... WITH THE MOTOR AND AIR CONDITIONING RUNNING.
JONES SAID TEN MINUTES LATER... HER CAR WAS GONE.
OFFICERS FOUND THE BABY GIRL ON THE SIDEWALK A MILE AWAY.... NEAR ELM STREET.
Lt. Wilton Collins, Traffic Division, Macon Police: leaving a child in the car regardless of the amount of time, three minutes, four minutes in a case like this where the car was taken with a child in the back. Most accidents are exactly that. They're accidents we dont plan for something like that to happenbut sometimes you need to step back and take a minute and think is this really a good idea.
POLICE SAY THE BABY IS STILL IN THE MOTHER'S CARE.
POLICE SPOKEWOMAN JAMI GAUDET SAYS CHARDRE JAMES IS A CRIME VICTIM HERSELF... AND WILL NOT BE CHARGED WITH A CRIME.
DEATH BY FIRE.
AUTO SAFETY EXPERTS SAY THAT'S WHAT HAPPENED TO DOZENS OF PEOPLE WHO DIED IN FIERY CRASHES THAT INVOLVED 1993 TO 2004 JEEP GRAND CHEROKEE VEHICLES.
NOW - THE GOVERNMENT HAS EXPANDED ITS INVESTIGATION INTO THE POPULAR SUV AND OTHER JEEP MODELS.
THE CENTER FOR AUTO SAFETY BELIEVES THE PLACEMENT OF THE GAS TANK CAN LEAD TO FIRES AND DEATHS.
BUT CHRYSLER MAINTAINS ITS VEHICLES ARE SAFE.
REPORTER LESLI FOSTER FROM OUR SISTER STATION - WUSA - BRINGS US HER INVESTIGATION
shots of stacey .... BROLL HOME VIDEO...
Sot: lef jeep cherokee 4, 11:17:02
"she was pretty young when she left the house at 18, and jumped on a plane and went on the other side of the ocean.
Stacey Mayer returned home from school in England - a year older - and her family was happy to finally have her back.
On a warm July day in 2007, she read some passages from her bible .. Then set out to go exercise and take a friend to breakfast.
SOT: lef jeep cherokee 4, 11:18:40, Susan Mayer, Mom
"This was the friend that she was actually going to pick up."
Sot: lef jeep cherokee 3, 11:53:02ish, Steve Mayer, Dad
"She walked out the door, drove up the hill and about an hour later had the accident."
VO: EFFX WITH PICTURES OF STACEY - LEF JEEP CHEROKEE DOC AND STILLS
A driver having a seizure lost control on a Wisconsin state highway and slammed into the back of Stacey's 2001 Jeep Grand Cherokee.
SOT: lef jeep cherokee 4, 11:22:11ish, Steve Mayer, Dad
"they bounced through the intersection here and ended up smashing the guardrail on this side."
VO: LEF JEEP CHEROKEE DOCS & STILLS
According to police accident reports and witness statements, the Jeep burst into flames.
SOT: lef jeep cherokee 3, 12:17:49, Susan Mayer, Mom
"we were a family of 5, now we're a family of 4."
FADE TO BLACK
SOT: lef jeep cherokee 1, 11:10:10, Clarence Ditlow
"people who are lucky survive. But there's absolute tragedies."
VO: BROLL JEEP CHEROKEE 1
Clarence Ditlow heads up the Center for Auto Safety - a non profit here in Washington founded in 19-70.
His office petitioned the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration in 2009 to investigate crashes involving 1993 to 2004 Jeep Grand Cherokee's like the one Stacey was driving.
The Center used the government's Fatal Analysis Research System - also known as FARS to make their case.
Using that FARS data, the Center for Auto Safety now counts at least 51 accidents where 72 people died in rear, side, and rollover crashes and FIRE was the chief cause of their death.
SOT: lef jeep cherokee 1, 11:09:10, Clarence Ditlow - Center for Auto Safety
"you'll have a huge ball of fire and people can't get out of the vehicles before they burn."
VO: BROLL CAS BURNED JGC PICTURES
NHTSA granted the Center's petition two years ago, but focused ONLY on rear end crashes.
Just days ago, NHTSA took a step forward in their investigation, ordering an engineering analysis of the vehicles.
In this Office of Defects Investigation resume - NHTSA reports that 48 people died in fiery rear end crashes.
But, NHTSA officials pointed out that not all of the people who died were in a Jeep Grand Cherokee - some were in the vehicle that struck the S-U-V.
It is one of the key factors that convinced NHTSA to upgrade its safety defect investigation.
Chrysler's response to the expanded probe is that the Jeep Grand Cherokee is no riskier than its closest competitors.
nats ... Lesli and Clarence looking at the video ...
Chrysler says 1 point 8 million of these vehicles are still out on the roads.
Ditlow wants all of them recalled.
Auto experts say the problem is where the plastic fuel tank is positioned - behind the rear axle.
You can see it right here, below the bumper.
In the 1993 to 1998 models - the fuel tank looks like a spare tire well.
This plastic tank carrying gallons of fuel - literally hangs down, exposed with no protection.
A brush guard covers the gas tank in the 1999 to 2004 models.
It's supposed to protect the plastic tank in low speeds from brush other obstructions - but experts say that's not enough.
The placement of the tank is simply too risky.
SOT: lef jeep cherokee 1, 11:11:25, Clarence Ditlow, Center for Auto Safety
"it's in the crush zone of any vehicle striking it from behind. (butt to - lef jeep cherokee 1, 11:11:35) the vehicle that strikes it will push on that gas tank and any number of bad things can happen."
VO: FHA TESTS ...
In an effort to move the investigation forward, the Center for Auto Safety asked the Federal Highway Administration to conduct rear impact tests on a 1995 Jeep Grand Cherokee.
They used a non flammable liquid in the tests to demonstrate what can happen when the gas tank ruptures.
SOT: lef jeep cherokee 1, 11:25:19, Clarence Ditlow, CAS
"you'll begin to see the gasoline, right there coming out of the fuel tank. And, it's vaporizing and producing a mist and it's a perfect source for combustion."
SOT: lef jeep cherokee 1, 11:25:51, Clarence Ditlow, CAS
"there's not much damage in the Grand Cherokee itself. But then there's the gasoline. You're surviving the trauma of the crash, but you get burned to death."
VO: FHA TESTS ...
Chrysler says the crash tests conducted on it's Jeep Grand Cherokee were conducted 20 miles per hour faster than the fuel standard required at the time the vehicle was manufactured - which was 30 miles per hour.
FHWA also tested one of the Grand Cherokee's peer vehicles - the Ford Explorer.
The tests on this 1995 model were conducted at even higher speeds, at 70 and 75 miles per hour, and the gas tank did not rupture.
We should point out, that the gas tank in the Explorer is placed in front of the rear axle.
SOT: lef jeep cherokee 4, 11:22:11, Steve Mayer, Dad
"stacey's car rolled multiple times."
Lesli standup: (cover top to "after the accident") - lef jeep cherokee 4, 11:27:01
"you can still see the gas line where fuel poured out of Stacey's car here at the scene. (edit point) But what gives the Mayer's some measure of comfort is knowing that Stacey likely was unaware of what was about to happen after her car was hit."
VO: LEF JEEP CHEROKEE DOCS AND STILLS OR g3 ANIMATION TEAR
NHTSA would not talk on camera because of their ongoing investigation - and has not given any timetable for when they will reach a decision.
But in their ODI resume, NHTSA says that rear impact related tank failure and vehicle fires are more prevalent in the Jeep Grand Cherokee than in non-Jeep peer vehicles.
And, just last week NHTSA added to 1993 to 2001 Jeep Cherokee and the 2002 to 2007 Jeep Liberty vehicles to their investigation.
Those vehicles also have the gas tank behind the rear axle.
NHTSA said the agency's analysis of it's FARS data for the peer vehicles and three Jeep models shows a higher incidence of rear impact, fatal fire crashes for the Jeep products.
VO: LEF JEEP CHEROKEE DOCS AND STILLS OR g3 ANIMATION TEAR
In a statement - the company tells Nine News Now - the "1993-2004 Jeep Grand Cherokees are neither defective nor do their fuel systems pose an unreasonable risk to motor safety in rear impact collisions." AND they say "rear impacts resulting in fire are extremely rare, rear impacts resulting in a fire occur no more often in 1993-2004 Jeep Grand Cherokee vehicles than in peer vehicles, and the 1993-2004 Jeep Grand Cherokee vehicles are at no greater risk of exposure to fire in rear end collisions than peer vehicles."
As for the expanded investigation, the company said: "we expect that a similar analysis of subject vehicles recently added to this investigation, which NHTSA generally conducts at the EA (engineering analysis) stage, would support a similar conclusion."
Mom and Dad going through pictures ...
Sot: Mom says "we took a mission trip as a family to Mexico. She was a junior in high school down in Mexico and worked in an orphanage."
SOT: lef jeep cherokee 3, 10:56:10 Steve Mayer, Stacey's Dad
"lesli: Do you believe that Stacey would be alive today, had she not been in that vehicle? Steve: I think so, yes."
SOT: lef jeep cherokee 4, 12:20:00ish Susan Mayer, Stacey's Mom
"I just wonder if any of their children had been lost in a car where there was a poor design, how they'd feel about just nothing being done."
IN 2005, CHRYSLER MOVED THE GAS TANK IN THE JEEP GRAND CHEROKEE ... AHEAD OF THE AXLE.
THE COMPANY TELLS US THEY DID THAT TO MAKE MORE ROOM FOR CARGO SPACE.
CHRYSLER IS COOPERATING WITH THE EXPANDED PROBE - AND SAYS IT'S IMPORTANT TO NOTE THAT THIS IS JUST AN INVESTIGATION - NOT A RECALL.
EARLIER IN THIS NEWSCAST WE TOLD YOU ABOUT THE PASSING OF A CENTRAL GEORGIA NEWS LEGEND.....BILL TRIBBLE.
HE DIED TODAY AT THE AGE OF 80 AFTER BATTLING CANCER.
TRIBBLE LED 13WMAZ'S NEWS DEPARTMENT FOR MORE THAN THIRTY YEARS.
HE WAS THERE AS WMAZ MOVED FROM A SIMPLE BLACK-AND-WHITE NEWSCAST IN THE1950s TO A MODERN ELECTRONIC OPERATION IN THE 1990s.
HE BECAME A REPORTER FOR WMAZ IN 1959, WHEN IT WAS STILL A COMBINED RADIO-TELEVISION NEWS OPERATION.
TRIBBLE HOSTED THE WEEKLY EDITION OF CLOSE UP, FOR MORE THAN 20 YEARS.
HE WAS BORN IN 1932 IN FRANKLIN COUNTY, GEORGIA.
HE GRADUATED FROM THE UNIVERSITY OF GEORGIA AND ALSO SERVED WITH THE U.S. ARMY IN GERMANY.
TONIGHT WE TALKED WITH A FEW PEOPLE WHO HAD THE PRIVILEDGE OF KNOWING AND WORKING WITH TRIBBLE.
FORMER WMAZ MANAGING EDITOR RAYMOND TUB CALLED BILL A TRUE NEWSMAN... AND SOMEONE WHO LEAD WMAZ THROUGH SEVERAL BIG EVENTS IN HISTORY.
Bill Tribble was brilliant. He had an amazing archival memory and... sadly a lot of history has died with Bill. Because, he was there covering as it happened. He was there during the civil rights era and during a lot of events in Macon's history. And, so, I think it's sad to lose that in the community because he was a great resource.
FORMER WMAZ GENERAL MANAGER DON MCGOUIRK SHARED TUB'S SENTIMENT... CALLING TRIBBLE A STRAIGH-UP JOURNALIST.
WE ASKED MCGOUIRK HOW HE THOUGHT BILL WOULD REACT TO TODAY'S NEW WORLD OF SOCIAL MEDIA... AND INSTANT INFORMATION.
Bill would have reveled in it. He would have loved getting the information. Now, getting him to work with all this media that would've been very difficult. But, he would've loved to have had all that information. And he did love it. I saw Bill a couple of weeks ago and he had all the information he needed at that point because he was a constant news hound.
FINALLY WE SPOKE WITH FORMER WMAZ NEWS DIRECTOR AND GENERAL MANAGER DODIE CANTRELL BY PHONE.
SHE SAID TRIBBLE WAS A MAN OF GREAT INTEGRITY...
When I think of the word "gentleman" I do think of Bill. Because he was just that. He was a gentle man. He was somebody who always stood up for what he beleived in, he was always very gentle. But, if you crossed him or behaved in any way that lacked integrity, you were gonna have a problem with Bill because he was not gonna put up with that. He was just very honest, very straight forward and very much a Champion of people.
YOU HEAR THESE INTERVIEWS IN THEIR ENTIRETY... INCLUDING AN EXTRA ONE FROM PERSONAL PROFILE HOST DEL WARD... ON OUR WEB SITE AT 13WMAZ.COM
WHEN THE HEALTH INSPECTOR STOPS IN.. SOME RESTAURANTS HIT THE MARK.. WHILE OTHER FALL SHORT WITH SOME VIOLATIONS.
HERE'S A LOOK AT THIS WEEKS RESTAURANT RATINGS.
WE'RE BACK IN BIBB COUNTY THIS WEEK... STARTING OFF WITH OUR LOWEST SCORES....
SATTERFIELD'S AT 1-20 NEW STREET... SCORED AN 89... OR A "B". THAT'S DOWN FROM THE 92... OR "A" ... THEY SCORED ON THEIR LAST INSPECTION.
SAKURA ON SHURLING DRIVE... SCORED A 76... A "C"... ACCORDING TO THE INSPECTION REPORT... THEY HAD A 92 PREVIOUSLY.
NOW FOR A LOOK THE TOP SCORES OF THE WEEK.. AND THIS WEEK'S GOLDEN SPATULA NOMINEES.
JULIA'S KITCHEN AT 32-54 JEFFERSONVILLE RD BROUGHT IN A 100.. ON THEIR LAST INSPECTION... THEY GOT ANOTHER 100.
AND BETWEEN THE BREAD... MICHAEL'S ON MULBERRY SCORED A 99.. AN "A". WHEN THE HEALTH INSPECTOR LAST STOPPED IN THEY ALSO RECEIVED A 99.
WE AVERAGED OUR NOMINEES' PAST FIVE SCORES... AND THIS WEEK'S GOLDEN SPATULA GOES TO...
JULIA'S KITCHEN ON JEFFERSONVILLE RD ... WITH A FIVE SCORE AVERAGE OF 100.
CONGRATULATIONS TO EVERYONE AT JULIA'S....
TUNE IN NEXT WEEK TO FIND OUT MORE RESTAURANT RATINGS. BRITTINY BARBER... 13 WMAZ...E EYWITNESS NEWS.
FOR ALL YOUR RESTAURANT RATINGS... GO TO OUR WEBSITE 13WMAZ DOT COM.
CLICK ON "RESTAURANT RATINGS" UNDER THE FEATURES TAB ON THE HOMEPAGE.