Labor day weekend has arrived and it’s time to kick back, relax, and be incredibly safe while navigating the roadways of the Old North State. The Charlotte Observer reports that the number of U.S. and North Carolina traffic fatalities rose significantly in 2015, reversing a decades-long decline. Take Shea’s advice and don’t speed on your way to show off your new swimwear while lounging landward of the mean high-water mark of the State’s beaches. Planning to booze it in the Land of the Sky? Make safe transportation choices or you’ll lose it because law enforcement is cracking down on drunk driving over the holiday. Enjoy the long weekend and keep reading for more news.
Medlock Presented Order of Longleaf Pine. Retiring Fayetteville Police Chief Howard Medlock now enjoys the privilege of proposing “A Toast” to North Carolina in select company anywhere in the free world. The Fayetteville Observer reports that Governor McCrory surprised Medlock late last week by presenting him with the Order of the Longleaf Pine. As previously noted in the News Roundup, Medlock has been recognized by the Justice Department for his efforts to implement community oriented policing strategies.
Murder Convictions Vacated. WRAL reports that Superior Court Judge Orlando Hudson vacated Darryl Anthony Howard’s second-degree murder convictions this week. According to the report, Hudson found that DNA evidence that was unavailable at trial would have created a reasonable doubt about Howard’s guilt. Howard was convicted in 1995, but has maintained his innocence.
Fallen Officer Honored. The News & Observer reports that the Raleigh Police Department and the Raleigh Police Memorial Foundation held a ceremony yesterday at the Police Memorial to honor the first Raleigh officer recorded as having died in the line of duty. Detective Thomas Crabtree was shot and killed in September of 1922.
Obama Grants Commutations. The News Roundup has previously noted that President Obama has granted a significant number of commutations during his presidency. He’s back at it this month with the White House reporting that Obama granted 214 commutations on a single day earlier this month and 111 additional commutations earlier this week.
Clowns in Woods. The Greenville News has a report about a bizarre South Carolina story that has gone viral this week. Recently there have been a number of reports to the Greenville County Sheriff’s Office that people dressed in clown costumes have attempted to lure children into the woods. The Sheriff’s Office hasn’t been able to confirm the reports, but it has confirmed that some concerned citizens fired shots into the woods after hearing suspicious noises. All things considered, regardless of creepy clowns, it’s probably a good idea to just stay out of the woods in Greenville right now.
Fentanyl. The News Roundup has featured a number of stories about fentanyl and heroin. The Verge has a story that notes a recent CDC report saying that fentanyl deaths are skyrocketing and that “a massive influx of illegally manufactured fentanyl masquerading as heroin and hiding in counterfeit prescription drugs” is the cause.
L.A. Sheriffs to Shoot at Vehicles Less Often. The late Guy Clark thought life would be alright if he could just get off of the L.A. freeway “without getting killed or caught.” See Guy Clark, L.A. Freeway, on Old No. 1 (RCA Records 1975). Thanks to a new use of force policy for the Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department, everybody stands a better chance of surviving the L.A. freeways. As NPR reports, the Department’s new policy dictates that deputies not shoot at vehicles unless a person in the vehicle is imminently threatening the use of deadly force by means other than the vehicle itself. A Sheriff ‘s assistant quoted in the report says that, in many cases, shooting at vehicles isn’t an effective way to safely resolve dangerous situations.
Swifty Excused From Jury Duty. Songwriter, popstar, and Kanye-nemesis Taylor Swift reported for jury duty in a criminal case in Nashville earlier this week according to USA Today. According to the report, Tay-Tay was excused from a panel set to hear an aggravated rape case. Though T-Swizzle won’t be on the jury, she chatted and posed for selfies with other potential jurors, some of whom were fans.