Thursday, July 14, Eyewitness News at 6

6:10 PM, Jul 14, 2011   |    comments
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HELLO EVERYONE AND THANKS FOR JOINING US. I'M FRANK MALLOY..THIS IS EYEWITNESS NEWS AT SIX..

A COCHRAN MAN FACES SEVERAL CHARGES... INCLUDING MURDER... AFTER POLICE SAY HE RAMMED HIS WIFE'S S-U-V... AFTER A DOMESTIC DISPUTE.
HIS WIFE WAS INJURED....HIS 22-YEAR OLD NIECE DIED.
BRITTINY BARBER SPOKE TO POLICE TO FIND OUT WHAT LED UP TO THE WRECK...
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CAR PARTS AND PLASTIC STILL LINE THE SIDE OF LIMESTONE ROAD IN COCHRAN.
PIECES LEFT BEHIND FROM A CAR WRECK THAT TOTALED THIS S-U-V.
Brittiny Barber: "Cochran police say the wreck happened here that's when James Tripp rammed his wife Cindy's Trailblazer causing her to hit these trees injurying Cindy and killing her 22 year old niece Tiffany Herman."
Dawn Evans: "You wouldn't think it would be him. You would think it would be someone else."
DAWN EVANS LIVES JUST DOWN THE STREET FROM THE TRIPPS...
SHE SAYS SHE AND HER FAMILY WERE SURPRISED TO FIND OUT JAMES FACES AGGRAVATED ASSAULT AND MURDER CHARGES
Dawn Evans: "My son would go up there to visit with them. He would give my son drinks. and he would come by here blowing. He has stopped and asked if my son would do work for him."
POLICE CHIEF JAMES SANDERS SAYS CINDY TRIPP HAD MOVED OUT OF THE HOUSE SHE SHARED WITH HER HUSBAND ON BERRYHILL COODY DRIVE.
SANDERS SAYS CINDY THOUGHT JAMES WAS CHECKING INTO REHAB FOR ALCOHOLISM -- SO SHE STOPPED BY THE HOUSE ON WEDNESDAY.... BUT WHEN SHE SHOWED UP... HE SAYS...JAMES WERE THERE AND THEY STARTED ARGUING.
SANDERS SAYS CINDY AND HER NIECE LEFT THE HOME...AND DROVE AWAY.. THAT'S WHEN JAMES FOLLOWED THEM.
WITNESSES TOLD POLICE JAMES' TOYOTA TACOMA HIT THE BACK OF CINDY'S VEHICLE.... THEN THEY SAYS HE LEFT WHEN HE HEARD SIRENS.
GEORGIA STATE PATROL INVESTIGATORS HELPED RE-CREATE THE CRASH SCENE... AND GATHER INFORMATION FROM THE CARS ON THURSDAY.
SANDERS SAYS CINDY WAS WEARING A SEATBELT.. BUT HER NIECE WAS NOT.
BRITTINY BARBER 13WMAZ EYEWITNESS NEWS.> BLECKLEY COUNTY SHERIFF HAROLD LANCASTER SAYS JAMES TRIPP SIDESWIPPED ANOTHER VEHICLE AFTER HE HIT HIS WIFE'S CAR.
LANCASTER SAYS NO ONE WAS INJURED IN THAT WRECK.
SHERIFF'S DEPUTIES FOUND TRIPP AT A FARM... HE'S NOW BEING HELD IN THE BLECKLEY COUNTY JAIL.

A MILLEDGEVILLE MAN DIED AFTER A HIT AND RUN EARLY THIS MORNING.
AS AMY AUBERT SHOWS YOU... THE LACK OF WITNESSES HAS FAMILY... FRIENDS... AND POLICE... ALL AT A LOSS.
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Nat pop, crying

FAMILY AND FRIENDS GATHERED AT THE SITE WHERE 35-YEAR-OLD ALEX TORRELL WRIGHT WAS STRUCK.

Nats, cars

ACCORDING TO GEORGIA STATE PATROL... IT HAPPENED JUST BEFORE 1 O'CLOCK THURSDAY MORNING... WHEN WRIGHT WAS WALKING WITH TRAFFIC ON PINE AVENUE IN MILLEDGEVILLE... JUST OFF VINSON HIGHWAY.

Deonia Cummings, Milledgeville: "For somebody to just run him down and leave him like that, that's the thing that hurts the most."

DEONIA CUMMINGS IS WRIGHT'S SISTER... SHE SAYS WITH NO CAR OF HIS OWN... HER BROTHER USUALLY WALKED EVERYWHERE... INCLUDING ONE LONG TRIP BY FOOT... SHE'LL NEVER FORGET.

Deonia Cummings: "He walked for blocks to come see me and my baby at the hospital, and when he got there he said I walked because I promised you I was coming, so I came."

BUT AFTER THE HIT-AND-RUN THAT KILLED WRIGHT... MEMORIES... ARE ALL THE FAMILY CLINGS TO.

Evette Goddard, Milledgeville: "I'm just looking at Alex and thinking about all the good times he's had and the pleasure I've had being his aunt."

EVETTE GODDARD HOLDS A PICTURE OF HER NEPHEW... BUT SEARCHES FOR ANSWERS.

Evette Goddard, Milledgeville: "I just can't see for the life of me how somebody could run a person down and not even go back and check."

WITH NO WITNESSES... GEORGIA STATE PATROL SAYS THEY HAVE NO DESCRIPTION OF A CAR OR DRIVER.

BUT FOR THE FAMILY... FINDING WHO WAS BEHIND THE WHEEL THURSDAY MORNING... WOULD BRING CLOSURE.

Deonia Cummings: "I can't pick up the phone and say I love you no more."

AMY AUBERT...13 WMAZ... EYEWITESS NEWS.
>> CUMMINGS SAYS WRIGHT'S 14-YEAR-OLD SON LIVED ON PINE AVENUE... AND HE WAS IN THAT AREA OFTEN. MILLEDGEVILLE POLICE ASK ANYONE WITH INFORMATION ON THE CASE TO CALL 478-414-4413. AGAIN... THAT NUMBER... 478-414-4413.

LAUREN DISPIRITO HAS BEEN FOLLOWING THE CASE.
SHE JOINS US FROM THE 13WMAZ INFORMATION CENTER WITH MORE.
LAUREN?
FRANK... POLICE SPOKESWOMAN JAMI GAUDET SAYS INVESTIGATORS LEARNED EARLY ON IN THE CASE THAT 25-YEAR-OLD STEPHEN MCDANIEL... HAD A MASTER KEY TO THE GEORGIA AVENUE APARTMENT COMPLEX. WHERE HE AND GIDDINGS LIVED....BARRISTERS' HALL.
ALTHOUGH MCDANIEL HAS *NOT* BEEN CHARGED WITH KILLING GIDDINGS... HIS LAWYER FLOYD BUFORD TODAY TOLD US HIS CLIENT IS INNOCENT OF MURDER... AND OF 2 BURGLARY CHARGES. POLICE CHARGED HIM IN THOSE BURGLARIES NEARLY TWO WEEKS AGO.
SO FAR... POLICE HAVE SAID ONLY THAT MCDANIEL IS A PERSON OF INTEREST IN GIDDINGS' HOMICIDE.
THERE'S NO HEARING DATE YET FOR A JUDGE TO DECIDE WHETHER THE BIBB COUNTY DISTRICT ATTORNEY'S OFFICE HAS A CONFLICT OF INTEREST IN THE CASE... BECAUSE MCDANIEL USED TO WORK THERE.
A BOND HEARING FOR MCDANIEL IS ON HOLD UNTIL THAT'S DECIDED.
OWNERS OF THE BARRISTERS HALL APARTMENT COMPLEX SAY THEY'RE BEEFING UP SECURITY.
CO-OWNER BONI BUSH SAYS SHE TOOK PRICE QUOTES TODAY FROM COMPANIES... TO INSTALL OUTDOOR SURVEILLANCE CAMERAS.
SHE ALSO PLANS TO UPGRADE THE ALARM SYSTEMS... TO ADDRESS NEW TENANTS' CONCERNS.
WE ALSO SPOKE TO THE FATHER OF AN INCOMING MERCER LAW STUDENT....WHO WAS SCHEDULED TO MOVE INTO GIDDINGS OLD APARTMENT...BUT NOW HAS A DIFFERENT ONE.
THE FATHER TOLD US HE'S WORRIED ABOUT HIS SON'S SAFETY AND WOULD LIKE TO SEE SECURITY GATES ADDED THERE.
BUSH SAYS DURING THEIR SEARCHES... POLICE CHECKED REFRIGERATORS IN THREE APARTMENTS... GIDDINGS'.... MCDANIELS... AND A VACANT UNIT.
... POLICE REMOVED THE REFRIGERATOR FROM THAT VACANT APARTMENT... BUT ARE NOT SAYING WHY.
CHIEF MIKE BURNS AND MAJOR CHARLES STONE SAY INVESTIGATORS ALSO REMOVED DRAINS FROM SOME OF THE APARTMENTS.
FRANK?
PART OF LAUREN GIDDINGS' DISMEMBERED BODY WAS FOUND TWO WEEKS AGO... TODAY.

REPUBLICANS MAY DOMINATE STATEWIDE GEORGIA POLITICS.. BUT IN THE CITY OF MACON.. DEMOCRATS RULE THE ROOST..
THERE'S NOT A SINGLE REPUBLICAN ON A BALLOT IN TUESDAY'S CITY ELECTIONS.
RANDALL SAVAGE JOINS US NOW WITH MORE.
BIBB COUNTY ELECTIONS SUPERINTENDENT ELAINE CARR SAYS THE LACK OF REPUBLICAN CANDIDATES HAS RAISED THE EYEBROWS OF SOME HARD-CORE GRAND OLD PARTY PEOPLE.... WHO FIND IT DIFFICULT.. IF NOT IMPOSSIBLE.. TO VOTE FOR DEMOCRATS.
TUESDAY'S ELECTIONS ARE PARTY PRIMARIES.. AND SINCE NO REPUBLICANS ARE RUNNING FOR ANY OF THE CONTESTED SEATS.. IT'S A STRICTLY A DEMOCRATIC DERBY.
THERE ARE FOUR DEMOCRATIC MAYORAL CANDIDATES.. AND ONE WILL MOST LIKELY BECOME THE CITY'S CHIEF ADMINISTRATIVE OFFICER FOR THE NEXT FOUR YEARS.
THE FOUR ARE FORMER MACON FIREFIGHTER PAUL BRONSON.. FORMER STATE SENATOR ROBERT BROWN.. FORMER MAYOR C. JACK ELLIS.. AND MAYOR ROBERT REICHERT.
SOME REPUBLICANS.. INCLUDING MACON STATE REPRESENTATIVE ALLEN PEAKE .. ARE ENCOURAGING THEIR G-O-P COHORTS TO PUT THEIR PARTY DIFFERENCES ASIDE THIS ONE TIME.. AND VOTE IN THE MAYORAL RACE.
BUT TO DO THAT...THEY HAVE TO ASK FOR THE DEMOCRATIC PRIMARY BALLOT...NOT THE REPUBLICAN BALLOT.
IF THEY VOTE REPUBLICAN ONLY...THEY'LL HAVE NO SAY IN THEMAYOR'S RACE.
FRANK?
THERE ARE TWO SPECIAL ELECTIONS TUESDAY .. ONE IS TO FILL THE VACANT STATE SENATE TWENTY-SIX SEAT.. THE OTHER TO FILL THE VACANT STATE HOUSE DISTRICT ONE-THIRTY-NINE POSITION.
SINCE THOSE ARE SPECIAL ELECTIONS.. THEY'RE NON-PARTISAN.

CENTRAL GEORGIANS GOT A LITTLE BREAK FROM THE PAIN AT THE PUMP LAST WEEK...
BUT RIGHT NOW... THE AVERAGE PRICE FOR A GALLON OF REGULAR UNLEADED IS 3-62 IN MACON... UP A PENNY FROM YESTERDAY.
THAT'S ACCORDING TO TRIPLE-A.
CANDACE ADORKA SPOKE TO THE ASSOCIATE DEAN OF MERCER UNIVERSITY'S SCHOOL OF BUSINESS AND ECONOMICS...
HE SAYS GAS PRICES WILL PROBABLY STAY CLOSE TO THE CURRENT COST.
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THURSDAY SHOULD BE A HAPPY DAY FOR MICHELLE JOHNSON... BUT GAS PRICES PUT A LITTLE DAMPER ON THINGS.
"Pay day! So I go cash my ckeck and then come fill up on gas or try to fill up as best I can"
JOHNSON PUT 50 DOLLARS IN HER CHEVY TRAILBLAZER BUT STILL DIDN'T FILL THE TANK.
SHE SAY A YEAR AGO... LESS THAN 40 DOLLARS WOULD'VE DONE IT.
"You had this much for groceries and bills and everything else now you've got to try and squeeze in more just for gas to get to work to make the money to go to work."
ACCORDING TO TRIPLE-A GAS PRICES DIPPED ALMOST 20 CENTS IN EARLY JULY.
JOHNSON SAYS SHE PAID ABOUT 3-25 PER GALLON THEN.
"it was a relief! A big relief for a while. I filled up a couple times while it was lower and then it just keeps going up."
MERCER UNIVERSITY ECONOMIST ALLEN LYNCH SAYS THAT KIND OF PRICE FLUCTUATION IS CAUSED BY POLITICAL AND ECONOMIC UNCERTAINTY IN THE UNITED STATES AND AROUND THE WORLD...
HE SAYS BEFORE BEFORE THE FOURTH OF JULY WEEKND... A BIGGER SUPPLY OF OIL DROVE DOWN PRICES ... BUT NOT ENOUGHT TO KEEP THEM DOWN.
"We're likely GOing to see higher gas prices from this point forward. That's the new normal."
LYNCH PREDICTS THE ORGANIZATION OF PETROLIUM EXPORTING COUNTRIES... OR OPEC... WILL KEEP GAS PRICES BETWEEN THREE AND FOUR DOLLARS... SO THAT THEIR CUSTOMERS DON'T TURN TO ALTERNATIVE FUEL.
JOHNSON SAYS SHE'S RESIGNED TO WHATEVER THE BIG YELLOW SIGNS SAY.
"Well you don't have much choice! You gotta have gas to go to work and school and everything else that you do in life so it's something we gotta make arrangements for and deal with."
CANDACE ADORKA... 13WMAZ EYEWITNESS NEWS.
>> LYNCH SAYS GAS PRICES HAVE BEEN RISING FOR A DECADE..DUE TO GROWING DEMAND IN PLACES LIKE CHINA AND INDIA.

YOU STILL HAVE TIME TO BUY A TICKET TO WIN A DREAM HOME..
THE ST. JUDE DREAM HOME IS LOCATED IN THE TIFFANY COMMUNITY IN WARNER ROBINS AND IS VAULED AT $350,000.
THE 5 BEDROOM AND 3 1/2 BATH ALSO OFFERS AN OPEN FLOOR PLAN WITH TWO LIVING AREAS, GRANITE COUNTERTOPS, AND A BEAUTIFUL MASTER BATHROOM.
THE HOME IS BUILT BY CUSTOM HOMES BY JEFF AND THE MONEY RAISED THROUGH THE GIVEAWAY WILL HELP BENEFIT ST. JUDE CHILDREN RESEARCH HOSPITAL.
ASHLEY FURNITURE STORE DESIGNER....LANE FARMER SAYS PEOPLE CAN ALSO WIN OTHER PRIZES LIKE THEIR $5,000 SHOPPING SPREE.
Lane Farmer, Store Designer "They can come in and decide what they want. With that much, I'm sure you can buy quit a bit, so if you need a living room, a kitchen, we got it all. All different designs from traditional to contemporary"
TOURS OF THE ST. JUDE DREAM HOME ARE HELD SATURDAY'S FROM 9 AM TO 5 PM AND ON SUNDAY'S FROM NOON TO 5 PM.
THE LUCKY WINNER OF THE ST JUDE DREAM HOME WILL BE ANNOUNCED HERE ON 13WMAZ WITH A DRAWING ON AUGUST 14TH.
TICKETS ARE $100....FOR MORE INFORMATION OR TO BUY A TICKET FOR THE DREAM HOME CALL 1-800-254-5010. AGAIN THAT NUMBER IS 1-800-254-5010.


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