breaking news

Crash in high school parking lot results in minor injury

Published: Wednesday, March 20, 2013 @ 7:44 AM
Updated: Wednesday, March 20, 2013 @ 10:44 AM

A life squad was dispatched to Hamilton High School this morning on the report of a crash in the parking lot.

Initial police scanner traffic at 7:21 a.m. indicated a vehicle struck two other vehicles. One student was injured, but was not taken to the hospital, according to dispatchers.

Tow trucks were also requested to the parking lot.

There’s no word yet on who was cited in the crash.

State to pay $550,000 to convicted murderer because of amputation

Published: Monday, September 25, 2017 @ 10:21 AM

State To Pay $550,000 To Prison Inmate Because Of Amputation

The state of Georgia has agreed to pay $550,000 to a diabetic inmate serving a life sentence for murder to settle his lawsuit alleging that he lost his left leg because of improper care and neglect by a prison doctor.

The settlement means Michael Tarver’s case against Dr. Chiquita Fye, the medical director at Macon State Prison, won’t go to trial as scheduled this month and ends an improbable legal proceeding that began three years ago with a lawsuit written in longhand and filed without the aid of an attorney.

>> Read more trending news

Tarver’s federal lawsuit asserted that Fye, the lone defendant, was deliberately indifferent to his injury as he languished for months in the prison infirmary. Deliberate indifference to a prison inmate’s medical needs violates the Eighth Amendment of the U.S. Constitution, which prohibits governments from imposing cruel and inhuman punishment.

U.S. District Judge Marc T. Treadwell signed off on an order Monday stating that a settlement had been reached.

The case was scheduled for trial starting Sept. 25 in Treadwell’s court in Macon.

The amount of the settlement was disclosed to The Atlanta Journal-Constitution by Mike Brown, an Augusta attorney who began representing Tarver when the case entered the discovery phase. Brown said Tarver, who is 55 and serving a sentence of life without parole for the 1994 murder of a Columbus convenience store clerk, plans to distribute a “good portion” of the money to his family.

Fye, 65, has been the medical director at Macon State Prison since 2006, making her one of the longest-tenured physicians working for Georgia Correctional HealthCare, the branch of Augusta University that provides medical services for the Department of Corrections. The Emory-trained doctor receives an annual salary of $159,324 to oversee a facility that employs 20 nurses and upper-level providers and provides 24-hour care to men from multiple institutions.

Despite the settlement, Georgia Correctional HealthCare stands behind Fye, a university spokeswoman said. Christen Engel, the school’s associate vice president for communications, said that conclusion was reached after what the university believes was an extensive review of Fye’s conduct.

“GCHC human resources professionals interviewed providers at Macon State Prison and found that Dr. Fye continually exhibits professionalism and sound judgment when caring for her patients,” Engel wrote in an email.

Engel added that the organization is taking steps to improve wound care education for all its providers.

Fye still faces another potential trial in federal court stemming from a lawsuit in which she is accused of failing to ensure the safety of a man who was abruptly cut off from his prescribed daily dose of the anti-anxiety drug Xanax. The man, William Stoner, ultimately suffered a seizure and had to be transported by helicopter to a hospital for treatment.

Tarver’s amputation and Stoner’s seizure were among the issues detailed by the AJC last month in a story in which six former healthcare workers at the prison 130 miles south of Atlanta in Oglethorpe questioned Fye’s care of inmates. In depositions and interviews, the six said Fye’s disdain for criminals at times caused her to withhold vital treatment when she believed inmates were faking or otherwise trying to take advantage.

Tarver’s leg was amputated above the knee in November 2012, six months after he slipped and fell on a wet floor in the prison kitchen, opening a dime-size cut above his ankle. As a diabetic, Tarver was particularly vulnerable to infection, but evidence developed through his lawsuit indicated that the wound was allowed to become dangerously toxic even as he was under observation in the infirmary.

One former prison nurse said in a deposition that the wound became so foul-smelling that the odor was noticeable outside Tarver’s room. Another testified she had informed Fye that tissue within the wound had turned black, but the doctor didn’t respond.

One of the country’s foremost wound care experts, Dr. John Macdonald, also provided a deposition in which he was highly critical of Fye. Macdonald, a professor at the University of Miami’s Miller School of Medicine who has established a wound clinic in Haiti, testified that Tarver’s treatment violated the basic tenets of wound care and that what happened to him “would have never happened in Haiti.”

Fye testified that she did not notice the smell or the black tissue. She further argued that her treatment was adequate because she twice prescribed antibiotics for Tarver and had him admitted at one point to a local emergency room.

Lawsuits filed by prison inmates “pro se” -- without an attorney -- often do not survive early procedural challenges, but Tarver’s case, initially written by hand on 26 lined pages, was different.

Eventually realizing that he needed an attorney, Tarver hired Brown, who obtained the deposition testimony.

Evidence developed by Brown also showed that some of Tarver’s medical records are missing, including an order for a wound consultation that a former physician assistant testified she wrote when Fye wouldn’t do one.

In pre-trial filings, Brown stated that key documents had been destroyed and asked Treadwell to make that known in his jury instructions. The judge had yet to rule on the request when the case settled.

Brown said Tarver, now incarcerated at Augusta State Medical Prison, has a prosthetic leg but mostly gets around using a wheelchair. Weight fluctuations caused by Tarver’s diabetes limit his use of the prosthetic device, the attorney said.

Fye’s issues mark the second time in the last two years that Georgia Correctional HealthCare has been forced to deal with questions regarding one of its doctors.

In 2015, the organization fired the physician most responsible for treating female inmates, Dr. Yvon Nazaire, after the AJC revealed how nine women had died in his care under questionable circumstances  at Pulaski State Prison and Emanuel Women’s Facility. The AJC’s series also cast doubt on the truthfulness of the resume Nazaire submitted when he was hired for his position.

Since the AJC first began reporting on Nazaire, three lawsuits have been filed dealing with his treatment of inmates and another is expected, according to a notice of claim filed in that case earlier this year.

Medical board fails to act

The Georgia Composite Medical Board can sanction physicians when it finds they failed to provide appropriate medical care. However, it has yet to take action against Dr. Chiquita Fye, the medical director at Macon State Prison.

The board did not sanction Dr. Yvon Nazaire, who oversaw healthcare for Georgia women inmates, even after a state report found that the deaths of inmates in his care clearly demonstrated that his treatment fell below community standards. Nazaire avoided discipline through a loophole: He allowed his Georgia license to lapse.

Some women in Nazaire’s care told the AJC about botched cancer diagnoses. You can read that story here:

In Fye’s case, six former prison healthcare workers said she withheld vital treatment and medication from sick or injured inmates. Find out what they had to say here:

8 certified to be on ballot for Lang’s old West Chester trustee seat

Published: Saturday, September 23, 2017 @ 9:02 PM
Updated: Monday, September 25, 2017 @ 4:14 PM

            The race for Ohio Rep. George Lang’s former West Chester Twp. trustee seat is one of the most crowded fields on November’s local ballot. GREG LYNCH/FILE
The race for Ohio Rep. George Lang’s former West Chester Twp. trustee seat is one of the most crowded fields on November’s local ballot. GREG LYNCH/FILE

The field is now set in the race to replace former West Chester Twp. trustee George Lang.

Eight people were certified on Monday afternoon, which officially makes this race for the final two years of the unexpired term tied for the second-most crowded on November’s local ballot.

RELATED: 5 things to know about George Lang’s Statehouse appointment

Lang resigned on Sept. 13 in order to be sworn in as the 52nd Ohio House District representative. He was appointed to the seat after former Republican state lawmaker Margy Conditt resigned on Sept. 8.

Since Lang’s resignation happened more than 40 days before the Nov. 7 general election, state law requires voters pick who will serve out the final two years of the unexpired term.

Potential candidates had 10 days to file petitions with the Butler County Board of Elections by Saturday afternoon.

Certified candidates for the seat are:

  • Ann Becker
  • Lawrence Richard Brown
  • David W. Corfman
  • Jillian Kelley
  • David J. Lindenschmidt
  • Christy Ann Miller
  • Lynda Caldwell O’Connor
  • Larry A. Whited

Miami University Regionals political science professor John Forren said it’s not surprising to see so much interest for an open seat.

RELATED: 5 things to know about George Lang’s Statehouse appointment

“It’s really not all that often that a seat opens up — even at the township trustee level — so that an interested candidate can run without having to take on an incumbent,” he said. “It’s really a question of seizing a relatively rare opportunity.”

Forren compared it to when former U.S. House Speaker John Boehner resigned in 2015 and there were 15 Republican candidates seeking to succeed him.

He said for many, it can be the start of a political career that can lead to a higher office. Boehner was a former Union Twp. trustee, which is known today as West Chester Twp.

“Among other things, it is an opportunity for a new face in politics to get in on the ground floor,” he said.

RELATED: Butler County Democrats say Lang is ‘unfit to serve’

Other crowded races this November in Butler County:

  • Oxford City Council — nine people seeking three seats
  • Hamilton Board of Education — eight people seeking three seats
  • Hamilton City Council — six people seeking three seats
  • Lakota Board of Education — six people seeking three seats

But the race to replace Lang is not the only trustees race West Chester Twp. residents will decide on Election Day.

The full terms for West Chester Twp. trustees Lee Wong and Mark Welch will also be on the Nov. 7 ballot. Wong and Welch are seeking re-election, but they’re being challenged by Mariann Penska and long-time former Lakota school board member Joan Powell.

6 ways you might be disrespecting the flag without even knowing it

Published: Monday, September 25, 2017 @ 3:52 PM

An American flag is flown upside-down during an anti-war (Photo by Brendan Smialowski/Getty Images)
Brendan Smialowski/Getty Images
An American flag is flown upside-down during an anti-war (Photo by Brendan Smialowski/Getty Images)(Brendan Smialowski/Getty Images)

How and when the U.S. flag and national anthem should be publicly respected and honored has become the matter of much debate and consternation, but what does the law say?

>> Read more trending news

It’s actually easier than you think to disrespect the Star-Spangled Banner, at least according the sometimes-obscure U.S. Flag Code.

The rules went into effect on the very first Flag Day — June 14, 1923 — but fell out of the spotlight until recently. Title 36, Chapter 10 of the United States Code, listed as “Patriotic Customs,” is quite specific and straightforward when it comes to what you should and should not do with the flag and during the national anthem, including what “respecting the flag” entails.

Most Americans know by heart at least a few of the 11 “respect for the flag” rules listed under Section 176. Never letting the flag touch the ground or water and only displaying the stars and stripes upside-down as a serious distress signal qualify as fairly common knowledge. But who knew about the part of the law that says the flag should never be used to cover the ceiling?

Here are some common ways the flag is disrespected every day, according to the federal code:


“The flag should never be used as wearing apparel, bedding, or drapery.” So that’s going to be a no to American flag bikinis, bedspreads and curtains.


“The flag should never be used for advertising purposes in any manner whatsoever.” The law is the law, even for iconic American brands.


“It should not be embroidered on such articles as cushions or handkerchiefs and the like, printed or otherwise impressed on paper napkins or boxes or anything that is designed for temporary use and discard.” Fourth of July picnics can be just as delicious without the star-spangled napkins and paper plates.


“No part of the flag should ever be used as a costume or athletic uniform. However, a flag patch may be affixed to the uniform of military personnel, firemen, policemen and members of patriotic organizations. The flag represents a living country and is itself considered a living thing. Therefore, the lapel flag pin being a replica, should be worn on the left lapel near the heart.” It would seem even well-intended patriotism can put sports teams on the wrong side of the law.


“It is the universal custom to display the flag only from sunrise to sunset on buildings and on stationary flagstaffs in the open. However, when a patriotic effect is desired, the flag may be displayed 24 hours a day if properly illuminated during the hours of darkness. The flag should not be displayed on days when the weather is inclement, except when an all-weather flag is displayed.”


Incidentally, the law is also pretty straightforward when it comes to what’s expected of Americans when the national anthem is played, given that the anthem is typically accompanied by a display of the flag. If the flag is being displayed, “all present except those in uniform should stand at attention facing the flag with the right hand over the heart,” and those not in uniform should remove their hats, holding them at the left shoulder, which would put your hand over your heart. Those in uniform salute the flag for the entire song. If there’s no flag on display, everyone is supposed to face wherever the music is coming from and conduct themselves as if the flag is on display there. Kneeling, sitting or otherwise sitting out the anthem is not addressed in the law as illegal or otherwise.

Florida woman pulls gun, uses racial slur in road rage incident

Published: Monday, September 25, 2017 @ 4:01 PM

Savanah Huffmanis accused in a road rage incident earlier this month that frightened another driver and has led to several charges, including aggravated assault with a deadly weapon
Palm Beach County Sheriff’s Office
Savanah Huffmanis accused in a road rage incident earlier this month that frightened another driver and has led to several charges, including aggravated assault with a deadly weapon(Palm Beach County Sheriff’s Office)

Florida authorities have charged a 22-year-old woman in a road rage incident earlier this month.

Savanah Huffman is accused of pulling out a gun, pointing it at another driver in traffic and using a racial slur to tell the other driver she would kill her, according to Palm Beach County deputies.

>> Read more trending news

On Sept. 13, Huffman was driving in suburban West Palm Beach, when she allegedly pulled out a gun and pointed it at the driver of a Toyota Tacoma. The driver of the truck, a 52-year-old woman, later told investigators she had no idea why the woman pulled the gun out and pointed it or said she would kill her, using a racial slur.

According to the report, Huffman admitted to the road rage incident but gave no reason for singling out the woman.

Another driver who witnessed the incident called 911 and followed Huffman to her house to get her tag number.

When deputies arrived at the home, Huffman let deputies search her vehicle. Inside, they found an unloaded 9 mm pistol under the passenger seat, according to the report.

>> Related: 18-wheeler and SUV caught on camera in road-rage incident

Huffman was arrested on charges of of aggravated assault with a deadly weapon and improper exhibition of a firearm.

She was jailed in Palm Beach County and later released on $15,000 bond.