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Investigation continues in deadly I-20 accident

Investigation continues in deadly I-20 accident

Child killed, several hurt in Douglas County wreck

Investigation continues in deadly I-20 accident

Police are still working out the details in a tragic accident Friday evening in Douglas County that killed a child and sent four more to the hospital.

Police say a woman driving an SUV on I-20 flipped the vehicle several times, apparently while trying to make a last-minute exit at Ga. 92 in Douglasville. Jamal Lewis, 7, died at the scene, one of several children ejected from the vehicle in the accident.

The scene was tough even for the most veteran police officers.

“We’ve got officers here that have been here 20 years and it’s the worst accident they have seen,” Douglasville Police Lt. Greg Weaver said. “A lot of that has to do with the fact that they were children.”

Jamal’s sisters, 14-year-old Santerria Lewis and 5-year-old Jasmine Lewis, were seriously injured.

Their great-aunt, Coutney Watson of Atlanta, said Jasmine was taken to Children’s Healthcare of Atlanta at Egleston and underwent surgery Saturday for a broken pelvis and other injuries. Children’s Healthcare spokeswoman Patty Gregory said Jasmine is in serious condition, and Watson said doctors expect her to live.

“Jasmine is doing very well. She’s alert,” Watson said. “She didn’t have any head injuries, so that’s a good thing.”

The news is graver for Santerria, who is on life support at Children’s Healthcare of Atlanta at Scottish Rite. Watson said doctors have told the children’s mother, Erica Lewis, to prepare for the worst. Gregory said Santerria is in critical condition.

Watson said her niece, mother of six, is “devastated.”

“She’s back and forth from hospital to hospital,” she said. “She stayed with Jasmine last night.”

Updates on the conditions of the two other girls, 15 and 13, were not immediately available. Watson said the driver and the 15-year-old girl, who rode in the front passenger seat, apparently were the only ones wearing seat belts.

The driver, whose name has not been released, is a family friend. Weaver of the Douglasville police could not confirm whether the children were wearing seat belts, as the investigation is still continuing.

No charges have been filed.

“I don’t know if they will be,” Weaver said. “Our main concern is checking on the children’s injuries. We had investigators at the hospitals and then back out at the scene. … Charges, if they were to come, would be something that would come down the road.”

Watson said the family is in the process of setting up a fund for the children’s medical bills with a local bank. None of the children had insurance.

Willie A. Watkins Funeral Home in Atlanta is in charge of arrangements for Jamal Lewis. Details are pending.

The accident was one of nine wrecks across the region that killed 10 metro residents over the weekend:

  • Friday evening, Shawn Head, 46, of Winston, died when he lost control of his motorcycle and left the road on Cobb Parkway near Southern Polytechnic State University in Marietta.
  • Also Friday night, motorcyclists Kendrick Brown, 38, of Smyrna, and William Small, 48, of Lithia Springs, were killed when they struck a stopped car on I-285 southbound between Camp Creek Parkway and Washington Road. A third motorcyclist, 43-year-old Vernon Christopher Bliss of Douglasville, was injured in the accident.
  • Shortly after midnight Saturday morning, a 52-year-old man was struck and killed while riding a bicycle on Ga. 6 near Wayside Lane in Paulding County. Police say the man, whose name has not been released, was struck by a car driven by Lindsay Harris, 20 of Hiram.
  • Around 1:30 a.m. Saturday, Sarah Howell, 28 of Alpharetta, died when she was thrown from the back of a motorcycle on Ga. 400 northbound. Her brother, David Neil Howell, was driving the motorcycle when police said he apparently clipped a wall near Mansell Road. David Howell was arrested and charged with DUI, first-degree vehicular homicide and related charges. Investigators are looking for a 2005 black Jeep Liberty involved in the accident.
  • Austin Walker Pope, 16, was killed around 3 a.m. Saturday in a single-vehicle wreck in Coweta County. The 1998 Toyota 4-Runner, driven by 17-year-old Brian Shelnutt of Newnan, overturned several times, according to the Georgia State Patrol. Shelnut and two other teens in the vehicle were injured.
  • At 8:30 a.m. Saturday morning, 39-year-old Faruq Muhammed of Atlanta lost control of his vehicle while changing lanes on I-285 southbound near Martin Luther King Jr. Drive and flipped it several times. Muhammed died en route to a hospital.
  • In addition, Jarrett Lee Williams, 18 of Dallas, died Friday on I-75 in Whitfield County when his Suzuki Sidekick suffered a blown left rear tire, causing him to lose control of his vehicle and hit a tree.
  • Rodney Alan Bradberry, 32, of Griffin, was killed around 5 a.m. Sunday on County Line Road near Hoppin Branch Road in Spalding County when his 2006 Dodge Ram 1500 pickup crossed the center line and left the roadway. Both Bradberry and his passenger, 32-year-old Dustin Chad Hallman of Griffin, were ejected from the truck. Bradberry died at the scene and Griffin was airlifted to Atlanta Medical Center. Police said neither man was wearing a seatbelt.


—Staff writer Mike Morris contributed to this report.

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  • The Latest on the Republican legislation overhauling the Obama health care law (all times EDT): 7:15 p.m. Threats of opposition from three Republican senators are casting doubt on whether GOP leaders have enough support to move ahead on the Senate health care bill. The Senate has to hold a procedural vote to move forward, most likely on Wednesday. Sen. Susan Collins of Maine tweeted after the Congressional Budget Office analysis on Monday that the Senate bill won't fix the flaws in the current bill. She says she will vote no on the 'motion to proceed.' Sen. Ron Johnson of Wisconsin says he has 'a hard time believing I'll have enough information for me to support a motion to proceed this week.' Sen. Rand Paul of Kentucky says it's worse to 'pass a bad bill than to pass no bill.' Republicans can't afford more than two defections. ___ 6:35 p.m. The White House says the Congressional Budget Office's projection that 22 million more people will be uninsured in 2026 'must not be trusted blindly.' The White House is again trying to undermine the analysis of the CBO, questioning the office's predictions that millions of more Americans would be uninsured under a Senate health care proposal compared with President Barack Obama's health care law. The White House says the CBO 'has consistently proven it cannot accurately predict how health care legislation will impact insurance coverage.' It says the office has a 'history of inaccuracy,' and cites its 'flawed report on coverage, premiums and predicted deficit arising out of Obamacare.' ___ 6:30 p.m. Hawaii Democratic Sen. Mazie Hirono is decrying the Republican health care bill as 'mean, ugly' a day ahead of her own surgery. Speaking on the Senate floor Monday, Hirono says people typically figure health insurance is a concern for someone else until they get sick. Hirono announced in May that she was being treated for kidney cancer. She says she will have surgery Tuesday to remove a lesion on her rib. But first she joined several Democratic senators in criticizing the GOP health care bill, saying it was a 'tax cut for the rich bill.' Hirono says health care is a right, not a privilege. And in light of the budget analysis that found 22 million more Americans would be uninsured, Hirono says, 'it's as bad as we thought.' ___ 6 p.m. Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell is focusing on the tax cuts, deficit reduction and lower premiums cited in a nonpartisan analysis of the Senate's health care bill, and making no mention of the 22 million more Americans who would be uninsured. McConnell put out a brief statement Monday after the release of the Congressional Budget Office report. He says Americans need relief from the 'failed Obamacare law,' and says the Senate will soon act on a bill to give Americans better care. The Kentucky Republican says the bill would lower premiums by 30 percent in 2020, cut taxes by $700 billion and reduce the deficit by $331 billion. His statement omits any mention of the CBO prediction that 22 million more Americans would be uninsured in 2026 than under President Barack Obama's health care law. ___ 4:20 p.m. The Senate health care bill would result in 22 million more uninsured Americans over the next decade compared to current law. That's according to an analysis Monday from the nonpartisan Congressional Budget Office. The figure may further complicate Senate GOP leaders' plans to pass their bill this week. It's barely an improvement upon the health care bill that passed the House — which would have resulted in 23 million more uninsured. Several GOP senators have said they want to see their bill cover more people than the House version. And President Donald Trump himself called the House bill 'mean' — though he's lent his support to the Senate version and is lobbying for passage. ___ 2:15 p.m. The nation's largest doctors' group is outlining its opposition to the Senate Republican health care bill. The American Medical Association sent a letter Monday to Senate leaders saying the draft legislation violates the medical oath to 'first, do no harm.' The letter says the Republican plan is likely to lead to higher costs and greater difficulty in affording care for low- and middle-income patients. The doctors' group says the Senate bill's Medicaid payment formulas threaten to 'limit states' ability to address the health care needs of their most vulnerable citizens' and won't keep up with new medical innovations and epidemics such as the opioid addiction crisis. The letter is signed by Dr. James L. Madara, the group's CEO. The AMA has about a quarter-million members. __ 2 p.m. One of the nation's biggest health insurers says the Senate health care bill will 'markedly improve' the individual insurance market's stability and moderate premium hikes. Blue Cross-Blue Shield insurer Anthem says the bill will help in part by appropriating money for cost-sharing reduction payments and eliminating a health insurance tax. Cost-sharing reduction payments help cover expenses like deductibles for people with modest incomes. President Donald Trump has discussed ending these payments, and insurers planning to return to the exchanges next year want a guarantee that the payments also will return. Anthem Inc. sells coverage in key markets like New York and California. It has said tough market conditions have forced it to pull out of exchanges in three states for 2018: Ohio, Wisconsin and Indiana. __ 1:10 p.m. Senate Republicans have issued a revised version of their health care bill. The changes include a penalty for people who let their insurance lapse. Under the new package, people who lacked coverage for at least 63 days in the past year and then buy a policy would face a six-month delay before it takes effect. Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell released his initial measure last week. It had no penalty for people who let their coverage expire. The waiting period is designed to prompt healthy people who might not otherwise buy insurance to do so. That helps insurance companies pay for sicker customers who are more expensive to cover. McConnell is hoping to push the measure through the Senate by the end of this week, but some Republicans are rebelling. __ 12:55 p.m. An outside group backing President Donald Trump will begin targeting more Republican holdouts on the Senate's health care bill. America First Policies is expanding its campaign against Nevada Sen. Dean Heller to include Kentucky Sen. Rand Paul, Texas Sen. Ted Cruz, Utah Sen. Mike Lee and Wisconsin Sen. Ron Johnson. Those lawmakers came out against the bill as written when it was made public last week. A senior official with America First Policies says online and social media ads will remind voters that Republicans have promised to repeal President Barack Obama's signature health care legislation. The official demanded anonymity to discuss the plan. The group also is preparing radio and television ads to run ahead of the vote, which could come at the end of this week. — Julie Bykowicz __ 11:19 a.m. A conservative Republican senator who doesn't back the GOP health care bill is using unusually sharp tones to criticize party leaders. Wisconsin Sen. Ron Johnson is accusing top Republicans of trying to jam the legislation through the Senate. He says the leadership effort is 'a little offensive' and says conservatives haven't had input into the proposal. 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While the group's members differ over the concept of federal spending limits on the health program for low-income people, the board agreed that the inflation adjustments in the Senate bill 'are insufficient and unworkable.' Medicaid has become perhaps the key sticking point in the congressional debate. The group said Congress should focus on stabilizing insurance markets for now, and tackle Medicaid overhaul later in a more thoughtful manner. __ 2:54 a.m. Senate Republicans skeptical about a GOP health overhaul bill are expressing some doubt about holding a vote on the measure this week. Lawmakers are awaiting a key analysis from the nonpartisan Congressional Budget Office. President Donald Trump is making a final push to fulfill a key campaign promise, insisting that Republicans are not 'that far off' and signaling that last-minute changes are coming to win votes. So far, five Republican senators are expressing opposition to the Senate GOP plan that would scuttle much of former President Barack Obama's health law. That's more than enough to torpedo the measure developed in private by Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell. The holdouts are expressing willingness to negotiate, but many of them are pushing revisions that could risk alienating moderate Republicans in the process.
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  • The son of former Atlanta Braves infielder Keith Lockhart is fighting for his life after he was hit in the face with a baseball.According to a post by the family on social media, Jason Lockhart, 15, was hit on June 17 when he was playing in a baseball tournament in South Carolina.Channel 2 Action News has learned when Lockhart touched home plate, the catcher was throwing the ball back to the pitcher. It hit Jason in the face, breaking his nose.In a Facebook post written by his sister, we learned Jason was initially given stitches but on June 19 when he visited the doctor's office for X-rays, his nose began to bleed profusely. Doctors could not stop the bleeding and even after going to urgent care, he was ultimately taken to the Scottish Rite hospital in Atlanta.A CT scan determined the fracture was more severe than doctors originally thought. The results showed a laceration on his artery. Sydney Lockhart says a surgeon was brought in to stitch up a laceration in his nose and reset his broken nose the next day.In an update on Wednesday, Sydney Lockhart wrote that an artery was cut by the fracture and Jason was sedated for two days. He was put on a ventilator to help his body rest but the bleeding continued.On Friday, he was heavily sedated in a paralytic state and put on life support so doctors could monitor and contain any bleeding. In Facebook post written by his mother, she said doctors determined the blood was coming from his nose, not his brain. Jason also developed a fever, which doctors say is common when the body is fighting a condition as severe as this.Jason was originally scheduled to have surgery Monday but doctors have moved it to Tuesday according to his sister's Facebook page. Sydney Lockhart says although there was no bleeding since Sunday's surgery, his body is responding a bit slower than anticipated. Doctors are also backing off several medications, according to the post written Monday afternoon.The procedure is to remove and replace packing in his nose and will closely look inside to figure out if there is an area behind the packing that could cause more bleeding. TRENDING STORIES: From Mexico to metro Atlanta: Bust nets $1M in meth, $250K in cash Teen missing for more than a year found at Duluth home Police continue to search for duo seen punching woman, daughter Support has been flooding social media with messages from inside the baseball community to friends and family.Keith Lockhart played several seasons for the Braves.Braves Vice Chairman John Schuerholz issued a statement on Twitter offering prayers for Jason and his family and encouraged fans to do the same.The family asks for prayers and support saying:We are really staying positive that this is the best way to give Jason the most comfort possible and the least stress. Thank you again for standing with us in the biggest and scariest situation our family has ever encountered. With Love and Appreciation, The Lockhart family Our top 3 requests or goals right now are: 1. Keeping Jason at this calm paralytic state with no movements 2. No bleeding 3. Making it to Monday and letting Jason's body do all the clotting itself Thanks so much for all the outpouring prayers & support for Jay. It's been rough, a few surgeries but we're confident he's going to be ok.-- Keith Lockhart (@klocky7) June 24, 2017 Jason had a good night last night still had some bleeding but manageable no surgery. Hoping and praying for the same today.#staystrongJ-- Keith Lockhart (@klocky7) June 24, 2017 Jason just came out of surgery Dr.'s located 3 areas of bleeding &stopped the flow of blood. We are all encouraged about today!#staystrongJ-- Keith Lockhart (@klocky7) June 25, 2017 I don't think y'all understand how much of a champion this child is 💛 pic.twitter.com/TaGn7XPFq5-- syds (@SydneyLockhart) June 21, 2017 Braves Vice Chairman John Schuerholz statement on Jason Lockhart, son of Braves alumni @klocky7: pic.twitter.com/JiIxyZgoN1-- Atlanta Braves (@Braves) June 26, 2017
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  • Douglas County, Georgia, has suspended its mosquito control program because officials say the pesticides kill too many honeybees. >> Read more trending news Beekeeper Marilyn Parker said she lost 22 hives last year and nearly that many the year before. She blames it on pesticides used to kill mosquitoes. 'You would just see dead bees. Piles of dead bees. You open the hive and you see nothing but dead bees,' Parker said. Experts say the loss of all those bees is affecting the local honey industry. Parker also says it should concern everyone, because it’s ultimately about protecting what the insects pollinate. 'Everything we eat, we have the bees to thank. At least for every third bite of food that you put in your mouth,' Parker said. She estimates there are at least 1,500 hives in the county. Many metro area municipalities have spraying programs. Douglas County officials are currently exploring other methods of controlling mosquitoes that won't harm honeybees. 'We don't have Zika here in Georgia yet. But when we do, yes, I understand that,' Parker said.
  • DeKalb County police are looking for a man they say opened fire on customer inside a popular Chinese restaurant.Surveillance video shows the armed suspect casually walked in and shoot a man, killing him.All as customers watched in fear.'He goes straight to the victim and shots him point-blank three times,' a DeKalb County detective told Channel 2's Nefertiti Jaquez. We're talking to the lead detective on the case and to those who frequent the popular neighborhood restaurant about the brazen shooting, for the Channel 2 Action News Nightbeat at 11 p.m.