BIBB COUNTY SCHOOL SUPERINTENDENT ROMAIN DALLEMAND WALKED AWAY FROM REPORTERS THIS AFTERNOON... AFTER A PRESS CONFERENCE REGARDING AN ALLEGED RAPE AT NORTHEAST HIGH SCHOOL.
HELLO EVERYONE AND THANKS FOR JOINING US....I'M LEAH JOHNSON..
THIS IS EYEWITNESS NEWS AT SIX...
SUPERINTENDENT DALLEMAND SAYS HE DIDN'T KNOW THAT CAMPUS POLICE...NOT MACON POLICE.... WERE INVESTIGATING AN ALLEGED RAPE AT NORTHEAST HIGH SCHOOL.
HE MADE THAT REMARK DURING A NEWS CONFERENCE THIS AFTERNOON.
AMY AUBERT WAS AT THAT CONFERENCE... AMY... WHAT ELSE DID THE SUPERINTENDENT SAY?
HE ALSO APOLOGIZED TO STUDENTS... PARENTS... AND THE COMMUNITY FOR THE DISTRICT'S QUOTE INABILITY TO PROVIDE A MORE TIMELY RESPONSE.
IN THE TEN MINUTE NEWS CONFERENCE... DALLEMAND SAID HE REQUESTED THE BOARD OF EDUCATION CAMPUS POLICE MONDAY TO TURN THE INVESTIGATION OVER TO MACON POLICE.
THAT'S ELEVEN DAYS AFTER THE ALLEGED RAPE.. ON JANUARY 19TH.
DALLEMAND CALLS THE DELAY... GAPS IN TIME... AND SAYS THE DISCTRICT IS TAKING NECESSARY MEASURES TO ADDRESS THE GAPS... BUT HE WOULDN'T SAY HOW.
Dallemand: "Since the alleged assault, the District has reviewed the policies and procedures at the Northeast High School, and across the district, that impact student safety. The school district has added an additional Campus Police Officer on Northeast High School campus. Psychologists, counselors and social workers have also been made available to support the studetns and staff at northeast high school."
DALLEMAND SAYS BIBB COUNTY INTERIM CAMPUS POLICE CHEIF STEPHANIE PRATER... MADE THE DECISION TO NOT INVOLVE MACON POLICE.
IN THE NEWS CONFERENCE... HE DESCRIBED THE MACON POLICE DEPARTMENT AS HAVING BOTH THE MANPOWER AND OTHER RESOURCES TO HELP WITH THE INVESTIGATION.
HE SAYS HE ASKED FOR THEIR INVOLVEMENT MONDAY... BUT EARLIER TODAY... MACON POLICE SAID THEY HAD NOT RECIEVED A FORMAL REQUEST FOR THEIR INVOLVEMENT.
"I learned yesterday that they were not in control of the investigation"
Randall Savage: "you were not aware that Macon police were not in control until yesterday?"
Savage: "How did that happen?"
"We are taking the appropriate steps to address that."
DISTRICT RISK MANAGEMENT DIRECTOR... DAVID GOWAN SAYS HE WAS NOT AWARE MACON POLICE WEREN'T INVESTIGATING UNTIL YESTERDAY EITHER.
HE SAYS HE HAS NOT SEEN A COPY OF THE INCIDENT REPORT... AND COULD NOT EXPLAIN WHY IT HAS NOT BEEN RELEASED TO THE MEDIA.
HE SAYS HE'S NOT SURE WHO SHOULD HAVE BEEN MONITORING THE HALLS... AT THE TIME OF THE ALLEGED RAPE.
David Gowan, Risk Management: "We're going to be reviewing our policies and procedures, I was just saying earlier, in regards to the movement of students during the school day at all school levels, elementary, middle, and high school. Obviously the high school students are older, they're in block period, and at Northeast High School in particular, we've got three different buildings."
GOWAN SAYS THE DISTRICT HAS NOT YET INFORMED PARENTS AT NORTHEAST HIGH SCHOOL OF THE RAPE.
HE ALSO DOESN'T KNOW IF AND WHEN A NOTIFICATION LETTER WILL BE SENT OUT.
BIBB SCHOOL POLICE CHIEF PRATER COULD NOT BE REACHED FOR COMMENT TUESDAY.
FRANK MALLOY JOINS US NOW WITH THE TIMELINE OF EVENTS SURROUNDING THE ALLEGED ASSAULT... AND THE INVESTIGATION.
THE ALLEGED RAPE HAPPENED TWELVE DAYS AGO.
ACCORDING TO ARREST WARRANTS... A FEMALE NORTHEAST HIGH STUDENT WAS RAPED ON JANUARY 19-TH BETWEEN ONE AND THREE P-M.
ON MONDAY.. THE 23RD... GREG WATKINS AND ANTONIO JACKSON WERE ARRESTED AND CHARGED WITH RAPE.
AND THAT NIGHT.... MACON CITY COUNCIL MEMBER HENRY FICKLIN DISCUSSED THE ARRESTS AT A MACON CITY HALL FORUM
ON TUESDAY THE 24-TH.. CAMPUS POLICE ARRESTED TWO MORE SUSPECTS... ASHLEY CLARK AND JIMMY MCKNIGHT.
LATER THAT DAY... THE SCHOOL DISTRICT RELEASED A STATEMENT SAYING "CAMPUS POLICE ARE INVESTIGATING A POSSIBLE SEXUAL ASSAULT THAT MAY HAVE OCCURRED AT NORTHEAST HIGH SCHOOL ON THURSDAY, JANUARY 19, 2012."
ON FRIDAY THE 27TH... THE BIBB COUNTY MAGISTRATE COURT RELEASED ARREST WARRANTS ON THE FOUR RAPE SUSPECTS.
TODAY ON EYEWITNESS NEWS MORNIN'... POLICE CHIEF MIKE BURNS SAID PARENTS WOULD HAVE BEEN NOTIFIED OF THE ALLEGED RAPE IF MACON POLICE WERE HANDLING THE CASE.
HE ALSO SAID CAMPUS POLICE CALLED THEM OFF THE CASE...AND SAID THEY WOULD HANDLE IT.
THEN THIS AFTERNOON... DALLEMAND SAID THE DISTRICT HAD ASKED MACON POLICE TO TAKE OVER THE INVESTIGATION.
MACON ATTORNEY BRAD WILSON...WHO SAYS HE'S BEEN HIRED TO REPRESENT THE FAMILY OF THE ALLEGED VICTIM... ATTENDED TODAY'S NEWS CONFERENCE.
LAST FALL... THE SCHOOL BOARD AGREED TO SETTLE A LAWSUIT FILED BY THE FAMILY OF ANOTHER FEMALE STUDENT....RAPED AT NORTHEAST IN 2008.
THE MONROE COUNTY SHERIFF'S OFFICE IS INVESTIGATING A MAN'S SHOOTING DEATH AS A HOMICIDE.
THAT'S ACCORDING TO CORONER JOEY PROCTOR.
HE SAYS A 20- OR 21-YEAR-OLD MAN WAS FOUND DEAD THIS AFTERNOON OUTSIDE AN ABANDONED HOUSE OFF ZEBULON ROAD.
HE SAID THE MAN APPEARED TO BE SHOT IN THE BACK WITH A SHOTGUN.
PROCTOR SAID THE BODY WAS SENT TO THE GBI CRIME LAB FOR IDENTIFICATION AND TO CONFIRM THE CAUSE OF DEATH.
THE MONROE COUNTY SHERIFF'S OFFICE DID NOT RETURN OUR PHONE CALLS.
A MACON MAN TODAY PLED GUILTY TO ASSAULTING MACON TELEGRAPH'S CHIEF PHOTOGRAHER AT MACON CITY HALL.
MALIK BROWN'S SENTENCE INCLUCED FOUR YEARS PROBATION AND A 1-THOUSAND DOLLAR FINE FOR ASSAULTING WOODY MARSHALL AND DAMAGING HIS EQUIPMENT.
AUSTIN LEWIS WAS IN THE COURTROOM AND HAS THE STORY.
Malik Brown plead guilty to two counts of criminal damage and one count of simple assault.
This is video from December 30th 2010 where it all started. Brown was accused assaulting Macon Telegraph's chief photographer Woody Marshall at a news conference held by State Senator Robert Brown.
In court both Brown and Marshall made statements.
Marshall said part of his job is blend into the crowd as a photographer and with this situation he became part of the news. He also talked about his injuries and how it still affects him today.
Brown apologized to Marshall and he said part of what happened is that he has a night job as a bouncer and that was part of the reason whay he reacted the way he did to Marshall.
Franklin Hogue, Brown's Attorney: He works at night at various nightclubs as a bouncer, so he's controlling rowdy people and when people are rushing around him or coming up on him. He tends to react and he's a big man.
Brown was sentenced to four years probation a 1,000 dollar fine, 500 hours community service and 1, 533.24 in restitution to Marshall and the Telegraph.
He also has first offender status.
Austin Lewis 13WMAZ Eyewitness News.
>> MARSHALL DECLINED TO COMMENT AFTER THE HEARING.
AS A FIRST OFFENDER....BROWN'S RECORD WILL BE WIPED CLEAN IF HE SUCCESSFULLY COMPLETES HIS PROBATION.
IT'S GREAT HANG UP DAY HERE ON EYEWITNESS NEWS.
20 PERCENT OF ALL CAR ACCIDENTS WITH INJURIES IN 2009.. WERE CAUSED BY DISTRACTED DRIVING.. THAT'S ACCORDING TO THE NATIONAL HIGHWAY TRAFFIC SAFETY ADMINISTRATION.
MANY STATES INCLUDING GEORGIA... NOW HAVE LAWS IN EFFECT THAT BAN TEXTING OR LIMIT PHONE USE WHILE DRIVING...
SEVERAL STATES EVEN HAVE LAWS BANNING HAND-HELD PHONE USE BEHIND THE WHEEL......
BRITTINY BARBER TOOK A LOOK AT WHETHER USING TECHNOLOGY THAT KEEPS YOUR HANDS FREE... CAN MAKE THE ROADS SAFER....
HOUSTON COUNTY BUSINESS OWNER DOUG WOODY SAYS HE SPENDS MOST OF HIS WORK DAY DRIVING...
Woody: "In a 12 hour day I'm probably in my truck 5 to six of those hours and I'm on my phone constantly."
THAT'S ONE REASON HE INVESTED IN A HANDS-FREE SYSTEM...
Woody: "You don't have to touch anything. The phone rings I can answer it by voice. I need to make a call... I can make a call by voice."
WOODY SAYS IT MAKES THE DRIVE SAFER... BY NOT HAVING TO HOLD THE PHONE IN HIS HAND... AND TAKE HIS EYES OFF THE ROAD...
Woody: "You're answering calls, hanging them up, getting text messages in and you don't even realize you're doing that. You're paying attention to driving the entire time."
BUT THERE'S NO SUCH THING AS SAFE DISTRACTED DRIVING... SAYS LT. WILTON COLLINS WITH THE MACON POLICE DEPARTMENT
Collins: "As most people argue it's not the phone that is the cause of the problem it's the conversation that distracts you."
HE ADMITS HANDS-FREE DOES HAVE ADVANTAGES....
Collins: "Even picking to phone up to look down at it to dial one number for home if it's preprogrammed or to dial the entire number for home, your eyes are off the road. So if you're able to do it via voice that keeps your eyes on the road for half a second."
nats of woody:
FOR WOODY.... THAT PIECE OF MIND IS ENOUGH... FOR HIS $600 INVESTMENT IN THE TECHNOLOGY..
Woody: "Once you get used to them it's like a remote control for your television, you have to have it."
AND COLLINS SAYS IF YOU HAVE THE OPTION.. (NATS OF SYSTEM) TAKE ADVANTAGE OF IT...
BUT STILL USE COMMON SENSE... WHILE BEHIND THE WHEEL...
BRITTINY BARBER 13WMAZ EYEWITNESS NEWS..
>> OF COURSE... THE SAFEST WAY TO USE A CELL PHONE IN YOUR CAR... IS TO NOT USE IT.
YOU CAN PLEDGE TO DO THAT... BY JOINING THE GREAT HANG UP.
JUST GO TO13WMAZ-DOT-COM.. AND LOOK FOR THE BANNER AT THE TOP OF THE HOMEPAGE.
ONCE YOU SIGN THE PLEDGE ON THE RIGHT SIDE OF THE PAGE... WE WANT TO HERE FROM YOU...
WE'RE ALWAYS LOOKING FOR STORIES TO SHARE DURING GREAT HANG UP DAY ON THE LAST TUESDAY OF EACH MONTH.
JUST SEND US AN EMAIL TO THE-GREAT-HANG-UP AT 13WMAZ-DOT COM IF YOU'RE INTERSTED IN SHARING YOUR EXPERIENCE.
TODAY'S 13WMAZ DOT COM WEB POLL ASKS... DO YOU USE A HANDS-FREE TELEPHONE IN YOUR CAR?
SO FAR 76 PERCENT OF YOU SAY NO.
AND 24 PERCENT SAY YES.
VOTE NOW... LOOK FOR THE QUESTION ON THE RIGHT SIDE OF THE 13WMAZ DOT COM HOMEPAGE.
IF YOU DRIVE ON GRAY HIGHWAY... THEN YOU'RE USED TO THE TRAFFIC.
ACCORDING TO A REPORT BY THE GEORGIA DEPARTMENT OF TRANSPORTATION... GRAY HIGHWAY IS THE BUSIEST ROAD IN MACON...ASIDE FROM THE INTERSTATES.
JENNIFER MOULLIET SPOKE WITH ONE WOMAN WHO SAYS SHE'S FED UP WITH THE CONGESTION.
ANGIE SULLIVAN MANAGES THIS MATTRESS STORE ON GRAY HIGHWAY... BUT SHE SAYS THE TRAFFIC IS HURTING HER BUSINESS.
Angie Sullivan: "Nobody wants to get out of traffic to pull in here because it's going to be ten times harder to get back out."
CAPTAIN ERIC WALKER SAYS THE POLICE DEPARTMENT GETS CALLED TO GRAY HIGHWAY AT LEAST ONCE A DAY...AND HE SAYS most OF last year's ONE HUNDRED SEVENTY WRECKS happened WHEN VEHICLES ENTERED FROM SIDE ROADS.
"People just pull out in front of someone or someone will stop to pull into one of those side streets and the person behind them isn't paying attention or following to closely and they hit them from the back end."
jennifer Moulliet: " According to a n accident report from 2011 this intersection at Shurling Drive and Gray Highway saw fifty accidents Nigel Floyd says he's not surprised because Gray Highway is the busiest road in macon."
Nigel Floyd, Traffic Engineer: " Given the traffic that's on Gray Highway which is about 42,000 vehicles a day I think one hundred seventy accidents is extremely mild."
ACCORDING TO A REPORT BY THE GEORGIA DEPARTMENT OF TRANSPORTATION GRAY HIGHWAY sees MORE VEHICLE TRAFFIC THAN INTERSTATE SEVENTY FIVE AT ARKWRIGHT ROAD.
FLOYD SAYS AFTER RECEIVING SEVERAL COMPLAINTS THEY SYCHRONIZED THE TRAFFIC LIGHTS.
"Before you would bottleneck before Clinton Road now that's dissappeared and traffic flows better now."
BUT SULLIVAN SAYS IT HASN'T FIXED THE PROBLEM AND THAT'S WHY SHE'S MOVING.
"we've heard a lot of feedback from our customers saying how hard it is to get in and out of this spot."
SHE SAYS THEY'RE MOVING THEIR MATTRESS STORE TO SOUTH HOUSTON LAKE ROAD IN WARNER ROBINS.
JENNIFER MOULLIET 13WMAZ EYEWITNESS NEWS.
MACON-BIBB TRAFFIC ENGINEER NIGEL FLOYD SAYS THERE AREN'T ANY PLANS TO CHANGE GRAY HIGHWAY AT THIS TIME.
HE SAYS BECAUSE GRAY HIGHWAY IS A STATE ROUTE... ALL CHANGES WOULD HAVE TO BE APPROVED BY THE GEORGIA DEPARTMENT OF TRANSPORTATION.
THANKS FOR JOINING US.... WE'LL BE BACK TONIGHT AT 11.
BUT REMEMBER...THE NEWS IS ALWAYS ON AT 13WMAZ.COM !
THE EVENING NEWS IS UP NEXT.
HAVE A SAFE NIGHT EVERYONE.