December 15, 2017


CHARLOTTE, N.C. (AP) — Former leaders of a regional mental health agency have sued North Carolina’s health department for taking over the organization and removing its board of directors, saying it lacked authority to do both.

The Charlotte Observer reported a counter-lawsuit filed Thursday in Mecklenburg County court tries to prevent Department of Health and Human Services Secretary Mandy Cohen from seating new members on a reconstituted board for Cardinal Innovations Healthcare Solutions.

DHHS took over Cardinal two weeks ago following audits criticizing Cardinal leadership for excessive spending, compensation for CEO Richard Topping and severance packages. The board fired Topping last month and paid him and three other executives $3.8 million.

DHHS already has successfully gone to court and persuaded a judge to order Topping and former leaders not to interfere with Cardinal’s finances.


TARBORO, N.C. (AP) — The North Carolina Highway Patrol says a man and a 4-year-old girl have been killed in a crash.

WITN-TV in Greenville reports troopers say 38-year-old Antonio Kenneth Coleman of Tarboro was driving north on N.C. Highway 111 around 3 a.m. Thursday when his car ran off the road, hit a ditch and flipped several times.

The patrol says both Coleman and 4-year-old Harmonie Harrell were thrown from the car and found dead in the field where the car came to rest.

It wasn’t known if Coleman and the girl were related.

An investigation is underway. Troopers couldn’t say what caused the accident, but they think Coleman was traveling at a high rate of speed before running off the road.


RALEIGH, N.C. (AP) — A federal judge says he will approve $1 million in settlements from a North Carolina town to two half brothers wrongfully imprisoned for 30 years in the killing of an 11-year-old girl.

U.S. District Judge Terrence Boyle said Thursday he will also review any fees sought by lawyers for Henry McCollum and Leon Brown before the settlements with the town of Red Springs are finalized. A county sheriff and state agents named as defendants aren’t part of the settlement.

Each man will get $500,000. The half brothers were imprisoned following the 1983 killing. They were released in 2014 because of DNA evidence.

Boyle’s decision came unexpectedly amid a protracted fight over their representation. He had previously rejected the settlement and also invalidated McCollum’s representation agreement with his current attorneys.



An investigation by Reveal from The Center for Investigative Reporting finds that Goodyear Tire & Rubber Co. has ranked among the top five manufacturers for worker deaths since 2009.

Four died at the Danville, Virginia plant in one year.

Production demands and leaky roofs at two plants endangered workers and contributed to consumer risks.

Tires involved in three fatal accidents since 2011 were made in North Carolina and Virginia. Police say a tire from the North Carolina plant caused a crash that killed two people in Texas. The company recalled that tire and over 40,000 others like it, saying tread could separate and cause a wreck.

The company says it has fixed workplace safety problems and ensures its tires are safe.


HUNTERSVILLE, N.C. (AP) — A North Carolina prosecutor won’t charge police who fatally shot a 76-year-old evacuee from Hurricane Irma after the man fired shots inside a hospital where he sought treatment.

The two officers who shot Joseph Charles Cook of Deland, Florida, were responding to an active shooter in a hospital, Mecklenburg County District Attorney Spencer Merriweather said Thursday.

Merriweather’s report includes security camera photos showing Cook wearing a hospital gown and carrying what appears to be a small handgun in a hallway. The prosecutor says Cook had already fired two shots in his room at Novant Health Medical Center in Huntersville.

Huntersville police officers Travis Watts and Michael Joseph responded, shooting Cook at least eight times at a nurse’s station.


WELDON, N.C. (AP) — Authorities say a North Carolina man has been arrested in the shooting death of a toddler.

Weldon Police Chief James Avens told a news conference that 22-year-old Malcolm Artis of Halifax was arrested Thursday in Lithia Springs, Georgia, an Atlanta suburb. Avens said Artis is charged with first-degree murder and attempted murder.

Police said the house Jaxson Clay was in was hit by multiple bullets during the drive-by shooting about 8:15 p.m. Dec. 7. The child’s mother, father, sibling and a great-grandparent were in the home and escaped injury, but Jaxson was pronounced dead at a hospital two weeks before his second birthday.

Avens said Artis will be extradited back to Halifax County. The chief didn’t discuss a motive for the shooting.


RAEFORD, N.C. (AP) — A second person has been arrested in the shooting death of a woman in North Carolina last year.

The Hoke County Sheriff’s Office said in a news release that 18-year-old Paul Anthony Coleman of Raeford has been charged with accessory after the fact of homicide.

Nineteen-year-old A’Shadonta Baker was found dead April 2, 2016, on an unpaved road about 2 miles (3 kilometers) west of Raeford. The sheriff’s office said last year Baker was shot once in the head before two people entered the home and took unidentified items.

A 16-year-old was arrested last summer and charged with first-degree murder, first-degree burglary and armed robbery.

Deputies said Coleman assisted the teen killer by taking him to Rochester, New York.

It was not known if Coleman has an attorney.

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