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News Roundup

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With Thanksgiving upon us, North Carolinians are preparing for a long holiday weekend and this will be the last post of the week for the blog.  We hope our readers have a relaxing time with friends and family.  Of course, a prerequisite to relaxation is safe travel during this historically busy time on the state’s highways.  WLOS reports that beginning on Wednesday the State Highway Patrol will station troopers every 20 miles on I-40 to ensure that everyone is following the rules of the road.  The NC DOT says that law enforcement officers across the state are conducting a Thanksgiving “Click it or Ticket” campaign – last year’s effort involved 428 checkpoints and the discovery of more than 40,000 traffic and criminal violations (#pulledover).  Enjoy the holiday and keep reading for more news.

Hurricane Recovery.  The Thanksgiving holiday is a good time to be mindful that Hurricane Florence recovery efforts still are in full swing in the eastern part of the state.  Information about available assistance and ways to contribute to the recovery effort can be found at rebuild.nc.org.

Vision Zero.  WRAL reports that the North Carolina commissioner of insurance and the state highway safety director presided over a memorial at the State Capitol last weekend that honored the 1,412 North Carolinians killed last year in traffic crashes.  As part of the memorial, pairs of shoes representing every victim were displayed as a visual reminder of the lives lost.  The memorial coincided with the International World Day of Remembrance for Road Traffic Victims.

Police Chases.  The Greensboro News & Record reports that two people died last weekend in Guilford County after their flight from a checkpoint turned into a vehicle chase that ended in a crash.  Tyrek Daye and Rodney Maynard were ejected from their vehicle when it collided with a utility pole during a chase with Highway Patrol troopers.

There have been several fatalities of officers and suspects alike during North Carolina police chases this year.  A recent story from WRAL reviews the chase policies of departments across the state and characterizes the Highway Patrol’s chase policy as among the most aggressive in the state.  According to the report, the Highway Patrol classifies speeders, impaired drivers, and aggressive drivers as among those offenders who should be apprehended as quickly as possible.  In contrast, the Raleigh, Durham, and Fayetteville police departments have more restrictive policies, permitting chases only where a driver is suspected of a violent felony or a crime considered dangerous to human life.

Principal Accused of Rape Found Dead.  The News & Observer reports that a North Carolina charter school principal who has been accused of raping a student was found dead in Mebane on Monday.  On Friday, Richard Omar Knight, the principal of Dillard Academy Charter School, was charged in a warrant with sex crimes by Goldsboro police and became the subject of a manhunt.  He was found dead of an apparent self-inflicted injury in a wooded area of Orange County.

Recovery & Exercise.  The Wilmington Star-News reports that the New Hanover County Treatment Court recently held a special ceremony to recognize the first graduate of the Cape Fear Incentives to Exercise Program.  The program encourages people in addiction recovery to engage in consistent exercise because doing so has been shown to help recovery.  Steve McHale was the first graduate of the program and Judge James Faison and District Attorney Ben David participated in the ceremony.

Bulger.  Earlier this month, the News Roundup noted that notorious gangster Whitey Bulger was killed in prison almost immediately after being transferred to Hazelton penitentiary in West Virginia.  This week, the New York Times took a closer look at the unusual murder mystery.

Poultry Pardons.  Last week the News Roundup noted that federal criminal justice reform may be imminent, but one thing that’s not changing is the annual presidential turkey pardon.  This year, President Donald Trump must decide whether to pardon Peas or Carrots.  Though only one will be pardoned, both will be spared and will live out their golden years at Virginia Tech.

President Trump isn’t the only executive participating in anthropomorphic clemency proceedings this year.  As the News & Observer reports, on Tuesday Governor Roy Cooper pardoned Caroline and Sir Walter, two turkeys raised in the state.  The N&O report includes an interesting bit of history — Cooper’s pardon was the second animal pardon in North Carolina.  The first was Slow Poke the possum, who, after winning a beauty contest in Spivey’s Corner, traveling to New York, being bathed daily in certified milk, and having his nails painted, was to be served as the main course at a banquet at the Executive Mansion.  After weeks of public outcry, Governor Bob Scott pardoned Slow Poke in Capitol Square.

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