Eyewitness News at 6, 10-4-12

6:08 PM, Oct 4, 2012   |    comments
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Hello everyone. Thank you for joining us.

I'm Frank Malloy.

And I'm Leah Johnson...on the road at the Georgia National Fair...which opened its doors about 3 hours ago..

We'll have more on this year's fair..coming up..

Hello everyone. Thank you for joining us.

I'm Frank Malloy.

And I'm Leah Johnson...on the road at the Georgia National Fair...which opened its doors about 3 hours ago..

We'll have more on this year's fair..coming up..

But first... Our headines today.

The Bibb County Sheriff says a couple of his employees broke the rules and showed poor judgment when a Bibb County judge's blood alcohol level tested above the legal limit.

Candace Adorka tells us what punishments Sheriff Jerry Modena handed out.

After an internal investigation, Sheriff Jerry Modena shared more details about Superior Court Judge Howard Simms's traffic stop.

He says on the night of Saturday....September 22dnd....Simms came upon a check point-- and an officer from another county smelled alcohol coming from the Judge's red F-150 pickup.

A Bibb deputy gave him a breathalyzer test....which registered at point 0-8-3.

Then the deputy turned the matter over to Bibb County Captain Alden Washington and Sergeant Bruce Jordan.

<captain Washington and Sgt Jordan continued to speak with Simms who insisted he was not impaired, insisted he would not allow anyone else to drive his vehicle home for him, and that no one at his home could come and pick him up. Captain Washington spoke with Simms for approximately five or six minutes. During the encounter, Cpt. Washington stated there was no alcoholic beverages visible in Simms vehicle, there was no slurred speech no blood shot eyes, and that Simms appeared the same as he always did.">



Modena says Washington made the decision to let Simms drive home, while he followed.

The officers did not conduct any other field sobriety tests, and they didn't write a report.

In a statement earlier this week...Modena wrote that Washington used poor judgment.

So, he gets an official reprimand, 5 days suspension without pay, 90 days' probation, and he must take a 16-hour course on professional ethics.

Jordan also gets an official reprimand and 90 days probation, but he gets 3 days unpaid suspension and he was taken off the HEAT unit-- that's a task force that targets aggressive and impaired drivers.

Modena wouldn't take any further questions, because he says members of media tied up his office asking about this case, but he maintains his office has been transparent throughout the investigation.

In a statement last week, Simms said he's struggled with alcohol addiction for many years, and he said he was checking into a rehab program.

Bibb County school officials say they seized a gun this morning from a student at the Bloomfield Middle School.

In a news release, they say a female student had the small caliber handgun hidden in her clothes.

In a letter sent to parents, Principal Shannon Norfleet wrote that they searched the school after getting a tip around 10:30 a.m.

The news release says they found the weapon quickly and the girl admitted having it.

After that...everything was back to normal pretty quickly at the school.

<We did act on the information immediately and the gun was discovered very quickly so we never felt a need to go under any lockdown. We acted on the information immediately, identified the student, and then regained possession of the gun.>

The district says...they're talking with juvenile authorities about the case...and notified the student's parents.

Gina Archibald and Stephanie Wammock have been adopting dogs for years.

But tragedy struck Saturday when 5 of their 9 dogs died after being poisoned in their own yard.

The dogs were rushed to the vet after the dogs ate poisoned chicken and hot dogs that someone left in their yard.

Earlier this morning, while 13WMAZ was shooting, they discovered another bowl of chicken just outside their backyard...that raised their suspicions.

They called the Sheriff's Department while we were there.

Meanwhile, Archibald and Wammock say the dogs were a big part of their family.

<one of the first things the doctor asked us, he said have you fed them any hot dogs, and I said 'no, Doc.' And then he showed me the contents and he looked at me and said I'm fairly certain that your dogs have been poisoned, and my heart dropped , and you know it just broke my heart. >

Wammock says she's taken the samples to UGA for a toxicology report to find out what kind of poison was used ... The Crawford County Sheriff's Office says the case is still under investigation.

A Bleckley County woman died in a head-on collision Thursday morning with an ambulance according to Sheriff's Deputy Lt. Greg Evans.

Her name has not been released yet.

Evans says the accident happened on Highway 26 eastbound.

He could not rule out weather conditions but said investigators did not currently think they caused the wreck.

No other injuries were reported.

It's October and that means fair time in Central Georgia..

That's where Leah Johnson and Ben Jones are right now...checking out the rides and all that food...

Director of Communications Michele Treptow is here to tell us what we can expect at this year's fair...

Leah hands off to Ben for weather.

One of the new attractions at this year's fair..offers shade and environmental lessons..

The "tree of Life" is here to tell us about its mission..

The Georgia National Fairgrounds provide a safe environment for fun..for the entire family...

That safety is something that is at the top of the list for fair organizers...

Eyewitness News Reporter Brittiny Barber talked to the men and women who make it happen..

Even though the fun is in full swing... there is a serious side to the Georgia national fair.

Stephen Shimp.. Director of Public safety at the Fairgrounds says at any given time 50 to 60 armed officers help patrol the property and keep everyone safe.

Here's how they all work to ensure it's all good... safe.. family fun.

< From the food to the rides and exhibits.. the Georgia National Fair has something for everyone.

Communications Director Michele Treptow says over the last 23 years... more and more people have come out to enjoy the activities.

Treptow: "All aspects of the fair have grown and to that end our number one goal is to ensure everyone's safety."

And that she says is a collaborative effort.

Treptow: "We have a great partnership that our security chief has worked out with 15 plus agencies. And these are agencies on the local, state and federal level."

Nats of Capt

Captain Heath Dykes with the Perry Police department has spent 19 years working security here.

Dykes: "We want people to come out here and enjoy and not have to worry about anything happening."

He says to ensure that.. they station armed officers at each gate... patrol the fairgrounds on foot.. and even have security monitoring the parking lots.

At the command headquarters near the clock tower... other emergency officials are on standby

Dykes: "We have ems personnel on site here. We have first responders with the Houston county Fire departments on site here. They are answering calls as they come in."

With 11 days of fair festivities to come... officials says all staff and security will work to make everyone's experience memorable and safe. >

Security officials offered several tips if you bring young children to the fair.

They say to take a picture of them when you arrive.. so if they wander off you can show officers expected what they look like and they're wearing.

Also.. It's best to let your entire group know if you're separated to meet up at the clock tower since it's easy to locate.

There are also personnel there for lost and found.



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