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Charlotte is the largest city in North Carolina and the 20th most populous in the United States. Nicknamed the Queen City, Charlotte is the county seat of Mecklenburg County. It is located in the south-central part of North Carolina, near the South Carolina border. As it is a center of finance,... (More Info and Source) Charlotte Real Estate

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Troopers review laws to protect road crews after fatal accident

North Carolina Highway Patrol reviewed laws in place to protect construction workers on the job after three workers were struck while working on I-40 in Morgantown early Friday morning.

Investigators said a driver was tired and not paying attention when he veered into a closed lane within the construction zone and struck Flavio Jaimes, Mitchell Brinkley and David Coble. 

All three men were rushed to the hospital. 

Jaimes, who was 43, and a husband and father of three, died as result of his injuries.

Troopers said inattention is one of the most common causes of accidents in work zones.

“We write a significant number of traffic citations, mostly speeding citations in work zones,” said Trooper Scott Johnston, with NC HWY Patrol.  “In my experience it is not uncommon to clock vehicles traveling 70 mph.”

Troopers said by law when there are construction drivers are required to drop their speed to 55 mph when in a 65 mph zone.

“There can be a difference of 80 feet when stopping from 65 MPH compared to stopping from 55 mph,” said Johnston.

Troopers said that extra time could prevent an accident or at least save a life.

According to the North Carolina Department of Transportation, 13 people were killed and 1700 were injured in accidents that happened in work zones in North Carolina in 2013.  This includes both motorists and construction workers.

“It’s important that drivers drop their speed and be extra vigilant,” said Trooper Johnston.  “Something like what happened to the construction workers in Morganton is tragic for everyone involved.”

Troopers told Channel 9 they’ve written 100 tickets in just one week at the work zone where Jaimes was killed early Friday. Violating the law can cost up to $250 plus court costs. 

The other two construction workers involved in the crash continue to heal from their injuries, said investigators.

Coble had to be flown to CMC in Charlotte and according to hospital officials remains stable as of Saturday evening.

Brinkley was treated and released Friday.  

Investigators said the driver in the case has not yet been charged and the accident remains under investigation.

Troopers added another way drivers can help reduce accidents on interstates is by adhering to the “Move Over” law. 

The law requires drivers to move over one lane, if possible, or reduce speed for stopped emergency vehicles with flashing lights on the shoulder of the highway.  This includes Department of Transportation workers and public service vehicles with amber lights.  Violating the law could result in a $500 fine.

Sat, 20 Sep 2014 23:01:29 -0400

Charlotte man arrested by FBI in extortion sting

A Charlotte man is facing charges after investigators discovered emails and texts that they say proves a "cycle of extortion" against a young victim.

John Michael Fowler, 50, was arrested shortly after landing at an airport near New Orleans Wednesday. The FBI said the arrest came after a "sting" operation.

Fowler started a relationship with a 16-year-old girl who posted to the Tokyo Craigslist in 2011, according to court records reviewed by Eyewitness News.

Investigators claim the pair exchanged more than 100 explicit photos and messages and even met for sex at a Tokyo hotel.

Court records state that Fowler threatened the girl and tried to blackmail her when she wanted to end the relationship. The FBI said one message said the girl needed to rekindle the relationship or “get out of school.”

Investigators say the girl gave in and the cycle of sex and extortion continued even after she moved to New Orleans to attend Tulane University.

The threats escalated, according to court records.

At one point, the records show Fowler threatened people close to the victim by threatening to sexually assault them and texting "If you care about them, you will stop this by communicating with me."

The FBI said the victim turned her phone over to agents which set up a sting operation where Fowler would meet the victim at a bar called The Boot near the Tulane campus. Agents arrested him after landing at the airport.

Fowler made an initial appearance the federal courthouse in New Orleans on Thursday. He remains in custody of the St. Charles Parish Sheriff’s Office.

His next court date is Tuesday.

Sat, 20 Sep 2014 22:07:21 -0400

Miracle on the Hudson survivors take Ice Bucket Challenge

Passengers who survived the Miracle on the Hudson took on the Ice Bucket Challenge in Charlotte on Saturday.

Their plane, which was bound for Charlotte, landed on the Hudson River in 2009 after a bird flew into an engine. One of the survivors nominated his fellow passengers and crew for the challenge.

“And it was definitely a challenge to think ‘Can I sit there in a bunch of really, really cold water again?” said Beth McHugh. “But this was clean water and it wasn’t the Hudson River in January so it was doable.”

The passengers agreed the Ice Bucket Challenge paled in comparison to the traumatic experience that bonded them together.

“That day was the coldest day of my life. I went under, I sank all the way under to the top of my head. I was so cold I didn’t feel any arms and I thought I was drowning,” said Laurie Crane.

Passengers said because they were the beneficiaries of a miracle, coming to the Carolinas Aviation Museum and taking the challenge in front of the ill-fated jetliner was the least they could do.

“We obviously have a big reason to want to pay it forward,” said Ben Bostic.

Those who took the Ice Bucket Challenge also said they are donating money for ALS research.

Sat, 20 Sep 2014 21:03:11 -0400

News Source: MedleyStory More Local News Stories

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