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    A driver lost control of the box truck he was driving, and crashed into a home in DeKalb County, according to police and several eyewitnesses. The driver has been taken to the hopsital. There are no reports of other injuries at this time. 
  • Holiday travel is big this year. AAA reports a record breaking 107.3 million Americans will celebrate the holidays away from home. Some 3.1 million Georgians will travel over Christmas and New Year’s.  While all modes of travel are seeing an increase, most people plan to drive to their destinations. AAA reports an estimated 3.2 million people will drive, and 2.8 million of them will be from Georgia. That means the roads in metro Atlanta will be packed. The busiest travel days here will be Dec 20th and 21st as commuters mix with holiday travelers. 'It looks like Americans have more money to finance their travel plans, the economy is stronger and there is also growing consumer confidence,” says Garrett Townsend with AAA. You will be paying more at the pump if you are among the millions who are driving. We are seeing year end gas prices at the highest levels since 2014. This December, the national average price per gallon is $2.47 – that is 28 cents more than last December.  If you are flying, overall airfares are lower this year than last. AAA reports they are nearly 20 percent cheaper this year than last and hotel rooms are also cheaper this year. You can expect to pay more for a rental car. The daily car rental rate has increased 11 percent since last year. That is the biggest increase in five years. This year marks the ninth consecutive year of rising yearend holiday travel. Across the board this year, travel has increased year over year for every major holiday weekend.
  • Gwinnett County police arrest a man they say would follow women home and attack them in their own driveways. Boris Demarcus Bell, 33, is accused of assaulting and robbing at least six women over the span of a week – all within a few miles of one another. Several were followed home from the Kroger on Herrington Road. “If you look at the map involved in all these crimes, his house is right in that general area,” says Cpl. Michele Pihera. The first victim, who wants to protect her identity, was unloading her groceries on Dec. 10 when she was jumped from the front door of her home. “With his arm, he strangled me onto the ground and then held me down on the ground,” she tells WSB’s Sandra Parrish. She recounted the attack still sporting a black eye. “It was terrifying. While I was on the ground…in and out of consciousness, I would have these moments of clarity. I just thought, ‘this guy is probably going to kill me’.” The suspect stole her purse and other valuables. After calling police, she was able to track her phone, using the “Find My iPhone” application, to the Kroger where another victim was eventually attacked. Six days later, four more women were followed home and attacked. Pihera says after the most recent attacks, an alert with a description of the suspect and his vehicle went out to all police and Bell was located during a traffic stop Tuesday morning not far from where all the attacks occurred. “There was some evidence recovered that does positively link the suspect to this crime series,” she says. The first victim is relieved at the news. “I’m just really grateful to be alive and to be safe, and I’m just really glad that they caught him,” she says.
  • A Gwinnett County teacher and football coach is accused of exposing himself outside a busy shopping center in Lawrenceville. Reeves Blankenship, 24, is a science teacher and assistant football coach at Brookwood High School.  According to arrest warrants, he is charged with one count of public indecency outside the Hobby Lobby on Lawrenceville-Suwanee Road Tuesday afternoon.  A woman called 911 to report he was committing an “act of lewd exposure”. Blankenship was booked into the Gwinnett County Jail and given a $2,500 bond. The news has left Brookwood parents like Denise Frandsen in shock. “It makes you kind of wonder and worry about every single person that’s there and is my kid safe at school,” she tells WSB’s Sandra Parrish. Blankenship’s attorney, Phyllis Miller, issued a statement Wednesday afternoon:  “This is a fine young man that I have known most of his life. We intend to defend him to the full extent of the law. We ask that he be given the benefit of the doubt until all the facts are out and the investigation is complete.”
  • The public should be careful of what they touch. As the opioid drug epidemic grows, Marietta police are warning of a possible hidden danger that could be lurking in public places such as restrooms, hotel rooms, even rental cars. Officer Chuck McPhilamy tells WSB, 'What happens to the average hotel worker that's at any hotel in the city cleaning a room that happened across some residue?'   Anyone who comes in contact with drug residue could be at risk.  McPhilamy says drugs laced with Fentanyl can be absorbed simply by touching it. He says 'That changes the game,' and 'changes our concern level.'  McPhilamy says, 'It can be inhaled through your nose or your mouth, it can be absorbed through your skin or your eyes.' A concern is the average person may have no idea what the drugs look like.  McPhilamy says, 'Fentanyl itself can come in so many different forms it's not like I can tell you just look for one substance.' There have been no reports of this happening in Georgia.  McPhilamy says he doesn't want to cause a panic, but he wants people to be aware. Even if a person is not a drug addict, they may come across people who use or sell these potentially dangerous drugs.  He says, 'I think we're talking about two different cultures intersecting.' If anyone sees something that looks suspicious, police say call 9-1-1, and if one should start feeling ill, get medical attention immediately.    
  • After going 0-for-four in special U.S. House elections, Democrats are left licking their wounds.   The latest in a string of stinging defeats was Republican Karen Handel's win over Jon Ossoff in Georgia's 6th district runoff.   WSB Political analyst Bill Crane says, 'The Republicans taking all four of the seats that were created by appointments to the Trump administration gives them some gloating points.'   Despite spending about $30 million on the 6th district election, Democrats still couldn't take the seat away from Republicans. Crane says, 'For all of those resources, it did not substantially move the needle.'   Ossoff got 48% of the vote in April's special election, and had about the same number in the runoff.   Several factors may have cost Ossoff the race, including the fact he does not live in the 6th district. Crane says, 'In a close election any number of things can be the paper cut that wounds.'   The loss in the 6th district race could be a bad sign for Democrats ahead of the 2018 midterm elections, but Crane says Republicans still must deliver on their promises.   As for the chances we'll see a Handel-Ossoff rematch next year, Crane says don't bet on it. He says Handel will be tough to beat 'unless the Republican Congress can't deliver on any of its agenda.
  • A few keystrokes online could match you up with a life insurance payout you did not even know you were due. Georgia leads the nation when it comes to matching people with misplaced life insurance. This is thanks in part to a service launched a year ago by the State Insurance Commissioner and the National Association of Insurance Commissioners (NAIC). The ‘Life Insurance Policy Locator’ is a free service that “streamlines and simplifies the process for consumers,” State Insurance Commissioner Ralph Hudgens said in a statement.  The Commissioner’s office said that with the new service, Georgian’s requests are encrypted and secured to maintain confidentiality. “Participating insurers will compare submitted requests with available policyholder information and report all matches to state insurance departments through the locator,” the statement read, “Companies will then contact beneficiaries or their authorized representatives.” State Deputy Insurance Commissioner Jay Florence tells WSB the service is invaluable. “People thought that it was worthwhile during their life to spend this money to give you a benefit upon their death,” Florence says, adding, “Whether it’s large or small, obviously they had something in mind – a need that they wanted to fill.  “If you’re talking about a widowed spouse, a life insurance benefit can mean all the difference in the world.” In the year since it has launched, one out of every six Georgians using it found something a loved one left for them. According to Consumer Reports, an estimated $1 billion in benefits from life insurance policies are unclaimed.  “The largest life insurance policy that we’ve seen come back has been over $640,000,” says Florence. Since the service went live last December, 589 Georgians have received more than $6.6 million in policy payouts. For a link to the Locator, located on the front page of the state insurance commissioner’s website, click here. 
  • The vote tally is certified in the Atlanta mayoral race, and Keisha Lance Bottoms' margin of victory has grown. Was the vote a tale of two Atlantas?  WSB Political analyst Bill Crane is unsurprised by Atlanta's election map, which shows a pretty distinctive geographical split.  'You can almost see at the precinct level, if you were to match up census tracks and ZIP codes, more affluent and whiter neighborhoods voted for Mary Norwood, and less affluent and blacker neighborhoods voted for Keisha Lance Bottoms. But that map, geographically, has largely been in place since the 1970s,' Crane says. North and east Atlanta went mostly Mary Norwood, the south and west to mayor-elect Keisha Lance Bottoms. Election officials in Fulton and DeKalb counties on Monday certified their election results, with Bottoms in the lead by 832 votes. The Associated Press points out that the outcome practically mirrored her 2009 loss to current Mayor Kasim Reed by 714 votes. Crane says coded language played a role on both sides of the mayoral race, adding, “Race became a pretty dominant issue in social media discussion, and indirectly in the advertising about who was a Democrat and who was a Republican.” Atlanta's last white mayor, Sam Massell, left office in 1974 and was succeeded over the next four decades by Maynard Jackson, Andrew Young, Bill Campbell, Shirley Franklin and Kasim Reed. The AP says Atlanta’s population today is 53 percent black, with black Atlantans still constituting a majority of registered voters and overall turnout. The runoff election saw 92,169 votes cast, The AP reports – less than 20 percent of the Atlanta’s roughly 500,000 residents. “We still more likely view things – as general voters – as who most and best understands me, who’s most like me, and who is most likely to best represent me,” Crane explains, adding, “And when you get to that simplistic view, race calculates much higher than a lot of other factors.” Crane says until Atlantans blend more and learn to trust each other, racial politics will keep coming into play.
  • The supplies are nice, but the Red Cross does not need blankets, water, or diapers. What they can really use is cash.  'We can turn that into help that's needed immediately,' says Sherry Nicholson, with the Red Cross in Atlanta.  She tells WSB that getting items to the Houston area, and areas devastated by Hurricane Harvey, is difficult. Distributing those supplies is even more difficult, and the tractor-trailers carrying those loads can create blocked roads and trouble for law enforcement.  Besides, she says, anything that is needed can be purchased, and at a lower price by the Red Cross.  Take, for example, someone who arrives at a shelter soaked, with only the clothes they have on.  'A Red Cross worker steps up, wraps a Red Cross blanket around that person,' Nicholson says, 'and can give them a meal, can give them a comfort kit, which contains all those things we take for granted, like toothpaste, toothbrush, deodorant. All those things we take for granted.'  It costs the Red Cross about $17 to provide that. The recipient gets two blankets; one to line their cot and another to cover themselves.  Through the donations of restaurants, hotel chains and suppliers, the agency can buy what is needed.  They also send supplies to the disaster area, with one of those distribution centers located in our area.  A Red Cross Center located in Union City has sent truckloads of needed items to the Houston area.  Those items, like meals and blankets, have gone out. Cleaning items will go later.  'The mops, the shovels, the brooms, the bleach, as people are able to get back and maybe clean a little bit,' Nicholson says.
  • We have warned you about skimmers. The latest device that crooks use to steal credit card information is called a Shim.   A shim is exactly what you might think. It is a thin, small card, wedged into an ATM or at a gas pump. Once inserted, it steals information.   'It's inserted into the Dip and Wait card slot,' says Dottie Callina of the Better Business Bureau, “in an ATM, at a gas pump or, really, anywhere.'   Unlike skimmers, which can be bulky and very noticeable, shims are almost undetectable.   'Where it is, it intercepts data off your chip,' Callina tells WSB, 'your credit card or debit card chip, the EMV chip, the one that's supposed to protect everybody.'   The BBB is telling people that, if possible, they should use tap and pay, like Apple or Samsung pay, to avoid the scam. In addition, they warn, if the card is not going into the reader smoothly and something appears to be blocking it, there may be a shimmer inside.   The scam has been used in other parts of the United States and in Canada, but has not been repoened in the Atlanta area. Yet.

News

  • The 58-year-old Uber driver who allegedly raped a 16-year-old girl while taking her home did not have any red flags in his background that would have disqualified him from the ride hailing service.  Abdoulie Jagne, of College Park, had been driving for the company for several months. He was permanently banned from Uber after his arrest Thursday morning, according to a statement released by Uber.  The only blemish on his record was for not having evidence of auto registration in 2015 when he was living in California, according to California court records obtained by the AJC. RELATED: Pregnant woman: “I kept bleeding” after being attacked by Uber driver RELATED:Jailed ex-Uber driver faces additional burglary, peeping Tom charges RELATED: Uber driver carjacked at Cascade Road gas station According to Uber’s policies, that would not have automatically disqualified him from being a driver.  Drivers for the ride hailing app are automatically barred if they have more than three minor traffic violations in the past three years. Minor violations include speeding tickets and non-fatal accidents, among others.  A driver also cannot have had their license suspended or revoked in the last three years, or have received a ticket for DUI, speeding over 100 mph, reckless driving, or have been in a hit-and-run in the past seven years. Any conviction of a felony, driving-related offense, violent crime, sexual offense, or child abuse or endangerment in the past seven years would also disqualify a driver.  The company uses a third party, Checkr, for background checks, according to Uber. The process screens national, state, and local databases including the National Sex Offender website and the PACER database of court records.  “What’s reported here is horrifying beyond words. Our thoughts are with the rider and her family during this time.'  Any behavior involving violence, sexual misconduct, harassment, discrimination, or illegal activity while using Uber can result in immediate deactivation, according to driver policies.  That includes physical contact, touching or flirting, or inappropriate and abusive language, among other offenses.  Early Monday morning, Gwinnett County officers were dispatched to an apartment complex off Old Norcross Tucker Road in unincorporated Tucker. There, they found the 16-year-old girl who said she was sexually assaulted by her Uber driver.  The girl, who officers said was intoxicated, said she was at a local bar drinking with friends, when one of them scheduled an Uber ride to get her home.  When officers arrived on the scene, the 16-year-old’s pants were around her ankles. The victim was taken to a local hospital for treatment and evaluation.  With information obtained by Uber, investigators determined the rape probably occurred somewhere on South Norcross Tucker Road between Jimmy Carter Boulevard and Old Norcross Tucker Road.  The victim’s friend, also a minor, helped police identify Jagne as a suspect. According to Cpl. Michele Pihera, there is no bond for Jagne and he is being held at the Gwinnett County Jail. He made his first court appearance Saturday and has a hearing scheduled for Dec. 27, Channel 2 Action News reported. Detectives want to know if any other woman has been sexually assaulted by Jagne. They are asked to call 770-513-5338.
  • A man is in jail after he struck and killed a crossing guard near a Cobb County school, police say. Channel 2 Action News received the mugshot of Lamonte Whitaker, who has been charged with vehicular homicide.    Police said he hit Edna Umeh in late November by Lindley Middle School in Mableton. RELATED STORIES: Students witness deadly accident involving school crossing guard Family demands action after school crossing guard killed by 'aggressive' driver Family pushing for change after crossing guard killed by hit-and-run driver  
  • He may have been an unknown soldier in life, but Glenn McCoy Shelton’s death brought hundreds of strangers together to honor the former Marine with a dignified sendoff. >> Read more trending news Shelton, 68, a Vietnam veteran and a Purple Heart recipient, died Nov. 26, WXIN reported. Indiana Funeral Care organized Saturday’s gathering by spreading the word on social media. According to his obituary, his “family information is unknown.” 'He fought for us so we could stand here today and so I thought, he was abandoned in life at some point but we don't want him to be abandoned in death,' Sara Thompson, general manager for Indiana Funeral Care, told WTHR. “Essentially, we have date of birth and his last known address and that is essentially it. We were able to find out he is a veteran and that he is a Marine, served in Vietnam and during that time was awarded a Purple Heart,' Thompson told WTHR. Birth indexes in Kentucky list a Glenn McCoy Shelton, an African-American born April 16, 1949, in Louisville. Reached by telephone Sunday afternoon by Cox Media Group, Thompson confirmed this was the same person. According to a Virginia marriage certificate, Shelton was the son of Alvin John Shelton and Christine Elizabeth Bright. His first marriage, on June 5, 1981 in Roanoke, Virginia, was to a divorcee, Selma Jean Chilous Davis. Shelton’s mother died in 2001. Because Shelton had no direct relatives who contacted the funeral home, Indiana Funeral Care arranged the ceremony. It had to move the site of the service to the Allison Christian Church in Indianapolis “due to overwhelming support by the community,” the funeral home noted in a Facebook post. “It’s just absolutely wonderful,” Russell Pryor, commander for the VFW District 11, told WXIN. “It shows me that no matter when you served, who you served with or where you served, we’re here to support you.” Shelton was buried at the Indiana Veterans Memorial Cemetery in Madison. Because Shelton was one of 361,794 veterans to receive a Purple Heart, his funeral services were paid for, WTHR reported. People who attended Saturday’s event received a dog tag with Shelton’s name engraved, WXIN reported.
  • Multiple passengers at Hartsfield-Jackson international Airport are reporting a complete loss of electricity on Sunday afternoon. Airport officials tweeted several areas in the airport are impacted and that they are working to remedy the situation. As of right now. pic.twitter.com/mCMg26NCeP — Jonathan Suro (@jonathansuro) December 17, 2017 The FlightAware site reports the airport is currently holding all inbound flights 2:15 p.m. due to an equipment outage. Channel 2 Action News has a crew headed to the scene and will bring you the latest updates on this story on wsbtv.com and Channel 2 Action News at 6. A power outage has impacted several areas in the airport. #ATL officials are working to remedy the situation. Additional updates to come— Atlanta Airport (@ATLairport) December 17, 2017 TRENDING STORIES: 2 kids killed, mother seriously injured in house fire Teen busted for allegedly selling pot brownies outside Walmart Mom accused of leaving son in car near drugs while breaking into house
  • It would be nice to play well the next three games, but Jameis Winston knows there's only one way to stop the not-so-quiet chatter about him and the Tampa Bay Buccaneers taking a step backward this year.'You win,' said the young quarterback, dogged by lingering questions about his relationship with coach Dirk Koetter and what's gone wrong in a season that will end with the Bucs (4-9) missing the playoffs again.'The only way that you can stop all the stuff that is coming is you win. Winning takes all of us coming together as a team, and just applying it on the field and going out there and executing to get a win.'That means starting Monday night against the Atlanta Falcons (8-5) — not waiting until next season.The Bucs close with three consecutive games against NFC South rivals chasing playoff berths. Finishing strong not only would impact a tight division race, but also send a message to the Carolina Panthers and New Orleans Saints.'It's not over yet. Everyone else can look at the win-loss column. As a team, we have to come together and keep playing,' Winston said.'We control our destiny right now,' the 23-year-old added, 'and it'll be better with just nine in the loss column than 12.'With Winston throwing for more than 4,000 yards for the second straight season, the Bucs heightened expectations for 2017 by going 9-7 — the club's first winning record since 2010 — a year ago. Injuries, including a shoulder sprain that kept Winston out of three games and most of a fourth, contributed to a slow start this season.An even bigger issue has been inconsistency on offense and defense.Turnovers and poor decision making continue to hinder Winston's progress. And now there's speculation about his relationship with Koetter being strained. Player and coach deny there's a problem.Winston said speculation is rooted in the team's record.'It does concern me that something like that would come out. But, am I surprised? Of course not. I'm not surprised because when you lose, people always try to find something to nitpick and nag at,' Winston said.'Attacking the relationship of a head coach and a quarterback is definitely a way to get this locker room kind of in a panic, but we don't condone that at all,' Winston added. 'Every one of our players stand firmly behind coach Koetter.'Koetter was promoted from offensive coordinator to coach after Winston's rookie year, in part because of the budding relationship between the two.NFL Network was the first to report a possible rift, saying it stemmed from Winston feeling Koetter didn't have his back while he was injured, and that the quarterback also was frustrated about the predictability of Tampa Bay's offense.'I think our relationship has been real consistent. ... But can there be stress? Is it possible? Sure,' Koetter said.'We spend a lot of time together, players and coaches. So, coach to coach, coach to player, player to player when you spend as much time together as we do, of course there can be,' the coach added. 'In specific, as far as my relationship with Jameis, it's been really consistent throughout for the last three years.'Winston agrees.The No. 1 overall pick in the 2015 draft said at times he also had disagreements with his college coach, Jimbo Fisher, at Florida State, where Winston won the Heisman Trophy and led the Seminoles to a national championship.'I wouldn't use friction as a term. I believe when you are communicating with any player, you're going to have some disagreements,' Winston said. 'At the end of the day, as long as we come to a solid agreement and we are out there to win football games ... it really doesn't matter.'The way the Bucs finish the season, however, could determine whether Koetter gets to continue working with Winston. Tampa Bay has made four coaching changes since last making the playoffs in 2007.Raheem Morris was given three years to try to get the franchise back on track. The last two hires before Koetter, Greg Schiano and Lovie Smith, were fired after two seasons.Tumbling back into the NFC South cellar doesn't necessarily mean the Bucs can't change their fortunes quickly. Every season since the 12-team playoff format commenced in 1990, at least four teams have earned postseason berths after missing out the season before.And with Philadelphia winning the NFC East this year, 14 times in the past 15 seasons a team has won its division after finishing in last place the previous year.Koetter said Winston continues to 'grow and get experience' necessary to develop into a top-notch pro.'It's a team game, so as our team has not done as well as we hoped to do this year, there is a lot on the quarterback when things aren't going well,' Koetter said.'It just takes some time,' the coach added. 'I think Jameis is doing some things very well, and he is also some making some mistakes, as we all are, that we need to improve on.'___For more NFL coverage: http://www.pro32.ap.org and http://www.twitter.com/AP_NFL.
  • Democrat Doug Jones, who won election to the Senate from staunchly Republican Alabama, insisted to both parties in politically divided Washington Sunday that he'll leave 'all the options on the table' when it comes to his votes next year on issues from immigration to infrastructure.'I'm going to consider anything,' said Jones, explaining that he doesn't plan on labeling himself a progressive or a conservative Democrat but a 'Doug Jones Democrat.'In an early sign, Jones reiterated that he would oppose spending money to build a wall on the U.S.-Mexico border, as President Donald Trump insists upon, and expressed concern that a sweeping GOP tax cut proposal that was on track for approval this week was being 'plopped into a vote too quickly.' At the same time, Jones said people should not 'expect me to vote solidly for Republicans or Democrats.'The 63-year-old former U.S. attorney made clear he's ready to move forward even though his Republican opponent in last Tuesday's special election, Roy Moore, has yet to concede the race. 'Alabama has spoken,' Jones said. 'I will be ready to go regardless of whether he concedes or not.'Jones' election will cut the Republicans' Senate majority to 51-49, when he takes office in early January.White House legislative director Marc Short said the administration was eager to see whether Jones will 'actually work to represent the people of Alabama' in a bipartisan way or side with liberal Democrats. Trump has also urged Moore to concede the race.'We hope that frankly Doug Jones will help us change the climate here in Washington,' Short said. During the campaign, Trump chastised Jones as a liberal who would be 'terrible' on crime and border security, and a 'puppet' for Senate congressional leaders.But on Sunday, Jones downplayed Trump's earlier criticism as statements made 'in the heat of a campaign,' and described the president's congratulatory call after the election as 'very gracious.'I'm going to be looking at issues on both sides,' he said.Jones defeated Moore, by 20,000 votes, or 1.5 percent, to become the first Democrat elected to represent Alabama in the Senate in a quarter-century. He was lifted by African-American voters, independents and moderate Republicans who turned out to reject Moore, who faced newly raised allegations of sexual misconduct involving teenage girls decades ago.Making his first Sunday talk show appearances since his win, Jones said he looked forward to meeting with Trump and believed his own mandate was to avoid rigid partisan positions in favor of compromise and 'getting things done,' even if meant coming across as 'pure pie-in-the-sky' and sometimes disappointing some of his core constituents.On the one hand, Jones said that he doesn't think Trump should resign over sexual misconduct claims, as some Democrats are calling for.But siding with congressional Democrats, Jones made clear he wants to help devise safeguards for immigrants brought to the country illegally as children, but without funding for a border wall. The Obama administration program which provided those protections, the Deferred Action on Childhood Arrivals program is set to expire in March.'I have said before that I opposed the building of a wall. I think that's an expense that the taxpayers just don't have to incur because I do think you can increase border security without having to go to the incredible expense of building that wall,' Jones said. Referring to a broader immigration overhaul that would likely involve questions of a pathway to citizenship for immigrants living here illegally, he said: 'I think it's going to be very complicated. ...I'm not as sure it's as important as health care and some other things right now.'He pointed to fixing roads and bridges, a priority of Trump's, as a bipartisan issue that could benefit Alabama. 'Let's get on with the real issues that are facing people of this country right now,' Jones said.Jones appeared on 'Fox News Sunday' and CNN's 'State of the Union.' Short was on NBC's 'Meet the Press.