Sunday, April 11, 2010

English-Only Driver's Test Bill Stirs Up Debate

A bill is before the Georgia Legislature that would require that driver's license exams be given only in English. Supporters said the measure would improve public safety, but opponents said it openly discriminates against legal immigrants.

The bill's sponsor, Republican Sen. Jack Murphy, is chairman of the Public Safety Committee. He said drivers need to have at least a basic knowledge of English so they can read roadside warnings and communicate with police in an emergency.

Immigrant rights and civil liberties groups said the law has so many exceptions that it wouldn't boost public safety and instead would have a chilling effect on potential foreign investment.

The proposed law would apply only to U.S. citizens or legal permanent residents. It would not affect illegal immigrants because they aren't eligible for a driver's license.

Police: Motorists Drag Officer; Manhunt Under Way

A manhunt is under way in DeKalb County as police search for two motorists who took off during a traffic stop, dragging an officer, police said. The incident began Sunday morning on I-20 near Columbia Drive.

Police told WSB-TV that after the officer got the motorists' identification, "the two subjects began to drive off and the officer tried to reach into the vehicle to shut the car off."

The suspects dragged the officer and a responding officer shot at the suspects while they were dragging him, police said. The suspects did not fire back at the officers.

Police said the injured officer appears to be OK. The suspects eventually ditched their stolen Honda Accord and ran. Several officers are searching for them.

Police: 4-Year-Old Killed By Hit-And-Run Driver

Cobb County police are questioning a person who may be connected to a hit and run incident that killed a 4-year old boy. Police said the crash happened as a mother, 29-year-old Raquel Nelson and several children stepped off a bus on Austell Road Saturday night.

The driver hit the family and kept going, police said. Nelson and a 5-year-old girl suffered minor injuries. Another child was not hurt, police said.

"Where is his heart," said eyewitness Mae Thomas. "What kind of person would hit a whole family and drive away?"

Motorcyclist Runs Of Gas, Killed In Hit-And-Run

A motorcyclist who ran out of gas was killed by a hit-and-run driver late Saturday night on Interstate 20, Fulton County police said.

Police said James Springer stopped in the merge area between I-20 westbound and the I-285 on-ramp and was waiting for help when he was hit and killed by a car driven by Dexter Cathey.

Police said Cathey left the scene, but an off-duty officer tracked him down after a brief chase. Cathey was placed in the Fulton County jail and was charged with first-degree vehicular homicide and felony hit-and-run.

Police said the accident shut down I-20 westbound between I-285 and Fulton Industrial Boulevard for 40 minutes.

Search For Missing Disabled Man Under Way

A Clayton County family is desperate to find a missing man. Police said relatives last saw 19-year-old Logan Corse on April 1. His family said he is schizophrenic, bi-polar and clinically blind.

He likes to call himself "Muzamil" and usually wears Muslim clothing. He is fluent in Spanish and English and speaks some Arabic. Family members said they believe Corse may be heading to Disney World in Orlando, Fla.

4-Year-Old Accidentally Shoots Twin Sister

Police are investigating a shooting involving a 4-year-old twin boy in Spalding County. According to the Spalding County Sheriff's Office, the boy got a hold of a gun and accidentally shot his twin sister.

"Took the firearm into another room, a shot was fired, striking the four-year-old twin sister," said Spalding County Sheriff's Office Capt. Tony Ranieri.

Investigators said the parents were in another room during the incident. The girl was shot in the leg, and is expected to recover, according to investigators. The victim was taken to Children's Healthcare of Atlanta at Egleston in unknown condition.

The parents could face criminal charges.

Ranieri said, "It could fall under reckless conduct in Georgia state law, it could lead to other charges, it depends on the condition of the child also that's why we strongly urge if you have children that live in your home, lock your guns up."

Deputy Sheriff Indicted On Corruption Charges

A Fulton County deputy sheriff has been indicted on federal corruption, drug and firearm charges, and officials said he took cash payments to provide protection for drug deals.

The deputy, 32-year-old Anthony C. Atwater, was scheduled to make his initial court appearance Friday afternoon.

U. S. Attorney Sally Quillian Yates said that between January and March of this year, Atwater used his position as a deputy to provide armed protection for alleged drug dealers in exchange for $4,000.

The indictment said that on two occasions, Atwater tried to aid and abet drug deals involving cocaine and in each instance, he knowingly possessed a firearm.

Georgia Man Gets 17 Consecutive Life Sentences

A man convicted of raping a young girl repeatedly over several years was given 17 consecutive life prison sentences.

An Oconee County Superior Court judge on Thursday sentenced Howard Elder Bagwell Sr. after he was found guilty on 22 felony counts during a trial last week. The charges include rape, aggravated child molestation and aggravated sexual battery.

Investigators said Bagwell subjected the girl to systematic abuse from 2003 to 2007. The girl, now 12, testified against him during the four-day trial in Watkinsville.

Officials: Attorney Tried To Bring Gun Into Courthouse

The Cobb County Sheriff's Office confirmed yesterday that a Stockbridge attorney was arrested Friday and accused of attempting to bring a weapon into the Cobb County Courthouse.

According to officials, Tessie Deleana Edwards was coming to the courthouse to represent a client in a case. The arrest warrant indicated Edwards was attempting to bring a Taurus Model PT 945 pistol into the courthouse around 10:15 Friday morning. The gun was found in a black briefcase canvas bag according to investigators.

Edwards faces one misdemeanor count of Possession of a Weapon in a Public Gathering. Edwards was taken to the Cobb County Detention Center. She's expected to bond out of jail early Friday evening.

WSB-TV, Atlanta; Georgia Radio Network.

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