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WSB Traffic Trooper Luncheon Our next traffic team event is when we host our regular Traffic Troopers to lunch! WSB “Traffic Troopers” as Herb Emory affectionately nicknamed them, are regular callers to the traffic center who report crashes, trip times, or just whatever they see along their regular routes around town. Call our traffic center 24/7/365 at 404-897-7358. You can ALSO get through to us using the “Triple Team Traffic Alerts” app, free in your phone’s app store! Be on the look out this summer for more information on how you can participate in our Tossing for Tots Disc Golf Tournament. It will take place in early fall, and all proceeds benefit Atlanta-area Toys for Tots. We’ll meet up in Henry County! HERB EMORY MEMORIAL TOYS FOR TOTS DRIVE The WSB Traffic Team THANKS YOU for your generosity this past Christmas season! Despite having to reschedule our event due to snow, our community raised $56,000 plus thousands of toys for metro Atlanta children!

The Gridlock Guy- Doug Turnbull

  • Campaign season: where ads drench the airwaves like May weather drenches shirts. Accusations and proclamations fly and snippets of headlines, bills, and quotes quickly frame and cram a candidate’s point into a 30- or 60-second avail. With local races, people (and admittedly this writer) barely know the candidates and the commercials become a main “CliffsNotes” of what the candidate and their opponents believe. Of course, falling hook, line, and sinker for facts in campaign ads is akin to believing the artisanal chef in Taco Bell commercials. This is certainly true with one such claim from Georgia gubernatorial candidate Clay Tippins about Republican primary front-runner Casey Cagle. This is verbatim from a heavy-rotation radio ad: “Casey spent $250,000 of your tax money on private planes to beat the traffic, because Casey’s statewide, billion-dollar-a-year tax increase to fix Atlanta traffic … didn’t fix a thing.” This line has more holes than a tin can in Brian Kemp’s yard. First, does commissioning a private plane for this really make sense? Doing so may be wasteful, but flying to different corners of the state saves far more time than the delays traffic causes. Have you ever heard the saying, “As the crow flies”? And did Cagle really fly over only Atlanta (whose traffic the ad singles out) just to avoid the bad traffic? That’s a very short distance for a plane flight. The ad connects two potential truths — Cagle’s private, taxpayer-funded flights and the bad Atlanta traffic — and makes a likely false axiom. Classic move. The next part of the commercial really sinks low and is dangerous to the notion of an informed populace. The ad claims that the $1 billion transportation funding bill that Cagle championed did nothing to help traffic. This is simply untrue. The 2015 Transportation Funding Act increased gas, electric vehicle, heavy vehicle and hotel taxes to fund mostly a backlog of road maintenance. At the time, GDOT Commissioner Russell McMurry said just that to the AJC. “We may be able to do other projects outside of maintenance … but not like rebuilding 285 or something huge like that.” Actually, I-285 is getting some love. The bill required GDOT to develop not just a plan for routine maintenance, but also a 10-year strategic plan to move Georgia forward. In the fall of 2016, McMurry exclusively shared highlights of this plan with WSB and the AJC. Parts of it include the Express Toll Lanes being added to I-85 up to Hamilton Mill Road and the Transform I-285/GA-400 project. There are longer term plans to build four additional toll lanes around some of I-285, redo the I-285/I-20 interchange in Fulton, add toll lanes to GA-400, widen I-16 and I-75 in central and south Georgia, build new lanes along I-85 up to the South Carolina line, and add more capacity to Spaghetti Junction in DeKalb. These are just the big projects. The plan is comprehensive and makes bolder moves than the voter-rejected 2012 TSPLOST plan. Traffic is getting worse in Atlanta, as the population grows. If the government doesn’t move forward with infrastructure and transit plans and if the private sector doesn’t change its behavior and policies, the jams grow worse, faster. Tippins’ correlating the worsening traffic to Cagle’s failed plan is typical political theater, but incredibly misleading. Infrastructure plans don’t eliminate current traffic; they build for the future growth. And we can’t forget the importance of routine maintenance and how cash-strapped GDOT has been in staying ahead on it. Decreasing fuel revenue has hampered GDOT’s budget, so the 2015 plan was a big shot in the arm. Without enough funding, road-paving, grass-cutting, pothole-filling, bridge-inspecting and the like do not happen on schedule. The roads are in bad enough shape — does defunding their maintenance even more help traffic? Most Georgians, especially Atlantans, agree that traffic is bad and that government should have at least some role in maintaining and building the roads. While there are many disagreements about how to do this, spreading false narratives about efficacy just keep Georgia standing still both literally and figuratively. Fixing our biggest traffic problems starts with making a move, not rebuffing all ideas.
  • If one commutes enough in Atlanta, they’re sure to get in a crash — I’ve been in my share. The feeling of confidence and safety behind the wheel completely vanishes when bumpers connect. Suddenly, involved parties are standing on the side of the road, eyeing damage, dialing phones, waiting, and running late. Happy Monday! Drivers in wrecks, however, can take some steps to improve the commute around them, shorten their wait times, make themselves safer, and ensure they satisfy their insurers. First, Georgia law 40-6-275 explicitly states that any drivers in a wreck on a public road must, “… remove said vehicles from the immediate confines of the roadway into a safe refuge on the shoulder, emergency lane, or median or to a place otherwise removed from the roadway…”. Big exceptions to this include injuries to the licensed driver of the car (though another licensed driver is permitted to safely move it) or if the vehicle is incapacitated. The “Steer and Clear” law is often ignored, but it’s vital. The WSB Traffic Team and I see many minor wrecks stay in travel lanes for far too long, causing big jams on interstates and side roads. Drivers that violate “Steer and Clear” can get a ticket. People do not need to wait for first responders’ arrival to try and move their cars. When calling the police about a wreck, be very explicit about the exact location and the types of vehicles involved. Almost every driver has a smartphone and a mapping app to find their location (might I suggest the WSB Triple Team Traffic Alerts App?). If you’re stuck in travel lanes or another dangerous spot, call the GDOT HERO Units at 511. If police and/or HEROs don’t respond quickly, keep calling. HERO trucks (or the new GDOT CHAMP vehicles in some outlying areas) heighten their response times when traffic is interrupted. And stay in the vehicle — do not get out to take pictures or make calls, until having moved safely out of the road. Also, turn on the hazard lights, to warn passing motorists of the problem. Law enforcement sometimes struggles in responding to non-injury fender-benders, especially those that are not blocking lanes. Crashes right on county or city lines can cause jurisdictional squabbles. Georgia State Patrol handles some agencies’ interstate wrecks, such as Atlanta, Cobb, and Gwinnett — but they often do not on weekends and nights. Add in personnel shortages, and response times can really disappoint sometimes. So know that calling the police is not always imperative in a wreck. State law 40-6-273 does say to call the police immediately when, “… in an accident resulting in injury to or death of any person or property damage to an apparent extent of $500.00 or more …”. If the wreck is more minor than that, law enforcement sources tell the AJC that drivers only must exchange license, insurance, and tag info. This is particularly true if drivers are not trying to claim any piece of the wreck on their insurance. If drivers want to claim a wreck on their insurance, AAA, which helps provide auto, life, and home insurance, has some advice. If those in the crash do not request the police at the scene, the parties should go together to the police department. “This helps the insurance company with its investigation and helps determine who is not at fault in the loss,” AAA spokesman Garrett Townsend told the AJC. Drivers can help their own cause by taking pictures at the crash scene. AAA’s policy is to request a police report for a wreck, but customers should submit their own on a claim, if they have one. Every driver should know what their insurance company requires, so they know how to handle crashes. Drivers knowing and following Georgia law will help traffic move better and keep them safer. Contacting 511 for wrecks on interstates and major highways clears lanes faster. Knowing the law and their respective insurance company’s rules will make the claim process easier. Put these things into practice and crash scenes become safer and less of a hassle than they normally are.
  • Traffic just keeps getting worse, and now with temperatures rising, the smog level is going to do the same. The commuting grind only continues in parking decks and black tops around Atlanta’s work campuses. As the economy is booming, employers are seeking our region to set up shop, but are faced with major commuting issues. Enter Georgia Commute Options, stage left. GCO has a new, employer-focused initiative called, “Clear the Deck,” their executive director, Malika Reed Wilkins, told the AJC. “We’re asking property managers and employers to have a fun week where employees do not drive, even if it’s just one day, whether it’s to telework, carpool — take a couple of cars off the road or in the parking deck, and to use that week to see if they can reduce parking consumption.” Long commutes are annoying, but having to make that grueling, upward spiral to find a spot that barely fits a vehicle and is oh-so-close to the lousy parking job in the adjacent space sends frustration levels through the sunroof. So GCO has seven worksite advisors that are meeting in person with employers to try to get them to change their organizations’ commuting habits the week of May 14-18. “We’re really trying to change travel behavior amongst motorists who drive by themselves everyday,” Wilkins said, also noting that this is one of several campaigns planned this year, including pushes to mass transit and biking. Rosalind Tucker manages GCO’s relationship with employers and has helped contact more than 250 of them in the area. The worksite advisors or consultants in her department have been meeting with employers and property managers for two months getting them ready for this campaign. GCO has developed a webpage for these different work sites to log their progress and have a competition of sorts. “Some of the employers have chosen to do internal competitions, where they are using their own budget to reward employees for not driving that week,” Tucker said. One of the big employers committing to “Clear the Deck” is the U.S. Forest Service, which has droves of employees, Tucker said. “For them, it’s really looking at how they can eliminate some of the parking issues and not have to seek out additional parking, which will cost them more money.” A GCO survey of commuters found that the length of a commute is a big determining factor in what job an employee chooses. So employers have multiple monetary incentives to think outside of the box on teleworking and commuting rewards programs to recruit good workers and keep them. However, much of the responsibility for improving the commute still falls on the drivers themselves. We talked to both GCO and a successful converted employee a month ago; the driver in that interview switched to MARTA out of necessity, following the I-85 bridge collapse. Then they stuck with it. But, as my column stated then, MARTA numbers are down not only after the bridge re-opening, but year-to-year from the beginning of 2017 to 2018. So not enough people stuck with their new commute option when they had been forced to it. Wilkins remains hopeful in the overall mission of GCO, especially through this “Clear the Deck” push. “The hope is that employees will love the new commute option, whether it’s transit, carpool, teleworking, etc. — and begin to take advantage of that and begin to start a new commute.” If you own a business or want to encourage your boss to try “Clear the Deck” next week, go to gacommuteoptions.com/clearthedeck. There certainly are many drawbacks to carpooling, mass transit, and even teleworking. But there are also many benefits. Having multiple commuting options is key to improving Atlanta traffic. Doug Turnbull, the PM drive airborne anchor for Triple Team Traffic on News 95-5 FM and AM-750 WSB is the Gridlock Guy. He also writes a traffic blog and hosts a podcast with Smilin’ Mark McKay on wsbradio.com. Contact him at doug.turnbull@coxinc.com
  • April is Distracted Driving Awareness Month — and rightfully so. Gov. Nathan Deal affirmed this week that he is definitely going to sign Georgia’s new hands-free driving bill, which limits phone usage to one swipe of the screen. That law goes into effect July 1st. We will talk more in the near future in this column about how this affects the driving experience. This month ends properly with a stellar partnership between Atlanta Motor Speedway and EndDD.org. End Distracted Driving has an obvious goal and a great spokesperson. AMS brought in Joel Feldman this week to speak to both Alpharetta High School and Locust Grove High School about the dangers of texting and driving. Feldman told the AJC he was a distracted driver for many years, until a distracted driver killed his daughter, 21-year-old Casey, in a crosswalk in 2009. Casey’s death moved Feldman to not just become an advocate against distracted driving, but to actually go to school and get a master’s degree in counseling. This degree has led Feldman to make his presentations discussion-based and not lectures. Feldman has done about 600 distracted driving presentations, he estimated, since her death. And he thinks having kids and parents in the same talk is vital. “Teens, of course, are inexperienced, so when they drive distracted, it adversely affects them more. Some studies suggest that teens’ serious crashes — 60% are related to distracted driving.” Feldman said that, maybe surprisingly, studies show that drivers 19-39 years old text behind the wheel more often than drivers aged 16-18. Feldman led an exercise at Alpharetta High School on Tuesday night that awkwardly opened eyes. “I asked the kids who were there, ‘Raise your hand if your mom or dad, who you’re sitting here with, drives distracted,’ and all the hands shot up. And the moms and dads looked a little embarrassed.” Feldman noted the mixed message parents send about safety. “When you’re a parent with your kids in the car, you’re not only putting them in danger, but you’re teaching them it’s okay to drive distracted.” Feldman shared the contradiction one girl pointed out to him. Her mom would always ask whose parents’ house she was going to for a sleepover, but would never ask who is driving her or if they drive distracted. Feldman, a Pennsylvanian, pointed out the irony of how much Southern people value respect, but still rampantly text and drive. “It’s disrespectful, if you think about it, to the people driving in your car and those on the road, not to look at the road all the time, but to look at your phone.” We curse others who text and drive and worry for our safety. But, Feldman asked, how can we properly drive defensively on the minefields that are our roads, when we do the same? At the end of Feldman’s Alpharetta High session, the parents and the kids all pledged that they would not drive distracted. Gearheads have had that same opportunity at AMS’ Motorama this weekend. EndDD.org has had a booth with literature, bumper stickers, reminders, and the pledge in place all weekend for the festival goers. AMS will have the EndDD.org back in the fall for more programs. “I wish there were more organizations around the nation, like the speedway, that would set these things up and organize it and make it easy for me to get into schools.” Feldman said that he tailored his message for the car-centric crowd at AMS this weekend similarly to his charge to parents. “People look up to you because of your experience, so when people see you using your phone, what message does that send to others, who are not as confident?” Finally, Feldman said the tenet of his campaign is caring for others. Whether one is abstaining from texting or imploring their friends and family members to do the same, caring is the core. Feldman suggested speaking to people in a more loving, non-confrontational manner and sharing apps that block incoming notifications on phones while driving. “We wouldn’t let our friends drive drunk; why would we let them drive distracted?” Much like Jenny Harty turned to activism after her daughter’s crash injuries, Feldman has turned his daughter’s tragedy into a life-saving remedy for thousands. Harty is also involved with EndDD.org and campaigned for Georgia’s hands-free bill. Take the anti-distracted driving pledge on EndDD.org. Doug Turnbull, the PM drive airborne anchor for Triple Team Traffic on News 95-5 FM and AM-750 WSB, is the Gridlock Guy. He also writes a traffic blog and hosts a podcast with Smilin’ Mark McKay on wsbradio.com. Contact him at doug.turnbull@coxinc.com.
  • So much attention is paid to, well, the lack of attention drivers are paying behind the wheel and the havoc that carelessness causes. But what about the wheels themselves? Those deserve equal notice. Bridgestone Tires flew some other media and me out to test some of their new tires at Texas Motor Speedway in Fort Worth last week. We tested three different types of tires on four different courses to compare Bridgestone’s new lines for passenger, truck, and high performance tires in varying conditions. NFL Pro Bowlers DeAngelo Williams and Vince Wilfork (with his two Super Bowl rings) ran the same tests the day before. “I’m thinking, ‘It’s the car and not the tires’,” Williams said about ride performance, after driving both slicked-down sporty courses and rugged off-road terrain. He noted all the enhancements people make to vehicles’ bodies, engines, brakes, and shocks to make their rides better. After the test, he understood the importance of good rubber. “In this case, the car had to keep up with the tires.” Wilfork, after teasing Williams’ cautious driving, likened having good tires to having the proper football cleats for playing in rain and snow — they are essential. Wilfork’s many games with the New England Patriots in Foxborough, Mass., give him authority on the issue. But what can normal drivers do in everyday conditions to maximize fuel mileage, decrease the chance for flats, and prolong the life of their tires? “The most important thing about tires is inflation pressure. The tire can’t function without the proper inflation pressure — they can’t give you the life that you want,” Keith Willcome, project engineer for Bridgestone Americas, explained. Automakers list the recommended PSI for a vehicle’s tires on the info sticker inside the driver’s side door. He said that the PSI on tires’ sidewalls is the maximum pressure for that tire, not the optimum one for the vehicle model. “Check them once a week — when you get gas is a good time to do that.” Keep a simple pressure gauge in the car at all times and out in the open as a reminder. Under-inflated tires can overheat and damage the side walls and they get lousy gas mileage. Willcome also said that while checking the pressure, drivers can also visually inspect tires for other signs of trouble. “Look at your tire and make sure you don’t see any cuts, scrapes, bulges, bumps, cracks forming.” Then there’s the penny trick, he said, which at the very least can show when a tire tread is legally on its last legs. “Basically you take a penny and stick Lincoln’s head upside down in the tread. If you see all of Lincoln’s head, then your tire is worn out.” A tread depth of less than 2/32 of an inch on normal vehicles is illegal and very dangerous to that car and others around it. Georgia law also says buses and tractor trailers must have 4/32 of an inch of tread depth. Proper tread depth allows tires to grip the road and handle rain and snow properly. Willcome said a driver should know best when tires are amiss. “If you’re going to have a tire problem, oftentimes that will be preceded by some kind of vibration.” Willcome continued, “You drive it every day, you know how it feels, so pay attention to how it feels. If something changes, you need to evaluate that — maybe take it to a mechanic, take it to your local tire professional. Let them take a look at it and make sure it’s good.” Regular alignments and rotations, which you can also tell you might need when the car is vibrating, help keep tire wear even and prolong tire duration. Having mechanics regularly up close with your tires means they are more likely to notice irregularities. Drivers themselves do not have to be experts. “Even if you don’t understand what’s going on, so you know when you need service — if there’s something going on with a tire, a belt, anything on your car, you just want to be aware.” Then Willcome really sold the point: “Just like distracted driving is bad, driving without awareness of your vehicle is not a good thing. Just pay attention and make sure your vehicle is up to snuff.”

News

  • Police took a middle school student into custody Friday morning on suspicion of firing shots at Indiana’s Noblesville West Middle School, leaving at least two people injured. >> Read more trending news Update 7:44 p.m. EDT: Jason Seaman, the teacher injured in the shooting, released a statement Friday evening: “First of all, thank you to the first responders from Noblesville and Fishers for their immediate action and care. I want to let everyone know that I was injured (but) am doing great. To all the students, you are all wonderful and I thank you for your support. You are the reason I teach.” Update 2:50 p.m. EDT: The Indianapolis Star identified the teacher injured in Friday’s shooting at Noblesville West Middle School as Jason Seaman. The newspaper reported he was shot three times while knocking the gun out of the hands of a middle school student who fired shots at the school. Jason Seaman’s brother, Jeremy Seaman, told the newspaper that he was not surprised by reports of his brother’s actions. Students have told several news stations that his quick thinking saved an untold number of lives. “He’s not really ever been the person to run away,” Jeremy Seaman told the Star. “When the safety of the kids is at hand, it’s not surprising to me that he was going to do what he had to do.” Jeremy Seaman told the Star that his brother was undergoing surgery Friday. Update 2:39 p.m. EDT: Noblesville police Chief Kevin Jowitt said at a news conference Friday afternoon that the student who opened fire at Noblesville West Middle School earlier in the day asked to be excused from class before returning with a pair of handguns.  Jowitt said the student was quickly taken into custody. Update 2 p.m. EDT: A Noblesville West Middle School student told WXIN that a science teacher sprang into action Friday after a student opened fire at the school, knocking the gun from the shooter’s hand and likely saving lives. The seventh-grade girl, who was not identified, told the news station that “this science teacher bravely swatted that gun away from the gunman’s hands, saving everyone else in that room.” Another seventh-grader, Ethan Stonebraker, told The Associated Press that the shooter walked into his science class while students were taking a test. 'Our science teacher immediately ran at him, swatted a gun out of his hand and tackled him to the ground,' Stonebraker said. 'If it weren't for him, more of us would have been injured for sure.' It was not immediately clear if the teacher was the same one injured in Friday morning’s shooting.  Police said a juvenile and an adult teacher were injured when an unidentified male student opened fire at the school around 9 a.m. Another student also suffered an ankle fracture, according to officials with Riverview Health. Update 11:43 a.m. EDT: Vice President Mike Pence thanked law enforcement officers and shared condolences after a shooting at a middle school in his home state, Indiana. “Karen and I are praying for the victims of the terrible shooting in Indiana,” Pence wrote on Twitter Friday, referring to his wife, Karen Pence. “To everyone in the Noblesville community -- you are in our hearts and in our prayers.” Update 11:28 a.m. EDT: Noblesville police Chief Kevin Jowitt confirmed that a teacher and a juvenile were injured Friday morning in a shooting at Noblesville West Middle School. Police did not identify either of the victims. They were taken to IU Health Methodist Hospital and Riley Hospital, respectively, Jowitt said. Officials with Riverview Health said earlier Friday that a second student was treated for an ankle fracture after the shooting. Authorities had a suspect, identified as a male student, in custody Friday morning. Jowitt said Noblesville West Middle School had been cleared by 11:30 a.m. However, he added that authorities also received reports of a threat made at Noblesville High School. Police are investigating the report. Update 11:18 a.m. EDT: Indiana Gov. Eric Holcomb said he and other officials are monitoring the situation in Noblesville after at least two people were injured in a shooting at Noblesville West Middle School on Friday. Authorities are expected to provide additional details about Friday’s shooting in a news conference later in the day. Update 10:55 a.m. EDT: Chad Lancaster, whose eighth-grade daughter and sixth-grade son attend Noblesville West Middle School, told the Indianapolis Star that his daughter called her mother, his ex-wife, while hiding under a desk amid reports of an active shooter on campus. He told the newspaper he has been unable to get in touch with his son. “This is surreal,' Lancaster told the Star. 'This happens in high school, not here.' Officials with Riverview Health said one of the two people injured in Friday morning's shooting was taken to the hospital and transfered to Riley Hospital in stable condition. A second person, a student, was being treated for an ankle fracture. Officials told the Star earlier Friday that an adult was also injured in the shooting. A suspect, who has not been identified, was in custody after the shooting. Update 10:40 a.m. EDT: Indiana University Health officials told the Indianapolis Star that an adult and a teenager were injured in Friday’s shooting at Noblesville West Middle School. The two have not been identified. Indiana State Police said earlier Friday that they were taken to IU Health Methodist Hospital for treatment of their injuries and that their families had been notified. Update 10:20 a.m. EDT: Indiana State Police confirmed two people were taken to a hospital after authorities responded Friday morning to reports of an active shooter at Noblesville West Middle School. Officials said a suspect was in custody after the shooting. Authorities were expected to provide additional details at a news conference later Friday. Original report: Authorities confirmed around 9:40 a.m. that police had a suspect in custody after responding to a report of an active shooter situation at the middle school. Check back for updates to this developing story.
  • Police are searching for a missing woman with a mental illness.   Police in South Fulton County sent Channel 2 Action News a picture of Lauree Chapman, 62.    She suffers from paranoid schizophrenia.  Police said she was last seen walking around 4 p.m. Thursday on Rock Lake Drive. She was wearing a light blue shirt, tan vest, tan pants, and black sneakers.   Call 911 if you have seen her.  #MISSING: South Fulton Police need help locating Lauree Chapman. She was last seen on the 5000 block of Rock Lake Drive on 05/24/2018. She was wearing a light blue shirt, tan vest, tan pants, and black sneakers. If you know her whereabouts, call 911. Please RT! pic.twitter.com/QL8Vlwo058 — WSB-TV (@wsbtv) May 25, 2018  
  • The Latest on President Donald Trump and North Korea (all times local): 10:30 a.m. The White House says a team is still heading to Singapore this weekend to work on logistics for a possible summit between President Donald Trump and North Korean leader Kim Jong Un. White House spokeswoman Sarah Huckabee Sanders said Saturday that the 'pre-advance team for Singapore will leave as scheduled in order to prepare should the summit take place.' Trump canceled the June 12 summit on Thursday, but then a day later suggested it could be back on track. The White House team will be led by Joe Hagin, who is deputy chief of staff for operations. An advance team goes out ahead of all scheduled presidential teams. ___ 12:30 a.m. President Donald Trump is suggesting the potentially historic North Korean summit he had suddenly called off might be getting back on track. His sights set on a meeting that has raised hopes for a halt in North Korea's nuclear weapons development, Trump welcomed the North's conciliatory response to his Thursday letter withdrawing from the Singapore summit with Kim Jong Un. Rekindling hopes, Trump said it was even possible the meeting could take place on the originally planned June 12 date. The sweetening tone was just the latest change in a roller-coaster game of brinkmanship.
  • The Latest on a shooting at an Indiana middle school (all times local): 10:35 a.m. The family of a student shot during a school shooting in Indiana says she is in critical but stable condition at a local hospital. Ella Whistler was shot in a classroom Friday morning at Noblesville West Middle School near Indianapolis. The family released a statement late Friday night saying Elle is doing well at Riley Hospital for Children in Indianapolis. They say she remains in critical condition but is stable. Her family says they're still processing what happened and why. They're also thanking first responders, police and medical staff. Police say 29-year-old science teacher Jason Seaman tackled the shooter and is being credited with preventing more injuries. Seaman was also shot but is in good condition at an Indianapolis hospital. The suspected shooter is a student. He's in police custody. ___ 12:05 a.m. Authorities say a female student wounded in an Indianapolis-area middle school shooting is in critical condition and a teacher who was also shot is in good condition. Noblesville police Lt. Bruce Barnes said Friday that the girl was airlifted to an Indianapolis hospital. Her identity has not yet been released. Barnes also identifies the teacher as 29-year-old Jason Seaman, who's also hospitalized in Indianapolis. Police earlier said a Noblesville West Middle School student armed with two handguns opened fire inside a classroom. Another student told ABC News that Seaman 'immediately' ran toward the gunman and tackled him to the ground. The suspect was arrested. Barnes says he didn't suffer any 'apparent injuries.
  • Update 10:43 a.m. EST: Joshua Holt’s family has released a statement following the President’s announcement regarding his release from Caracas, Venezuela, calling it a “miracle.” The Holt family stated: “We thank you for your collaboration during this time of anguish,” the Associated Press reports. “We ask that you allow us to meet with our son and his wife before giving any interviews or statements. We are grateful to all who participated in this miracle.” President Trump tweeted he is looking forward to meeting the family at the White House on Saturday night. Original story: Joshua Holt, an American from Utah jailed in Venezuela for over two years without trial, is expected to be released and return to the United States Saturday night.  >> Read more trending news  President Donald Trump tweeted that Holt was a “hostage” in the socialist country. Holt is expected to arrive in Washington D.C., around 7 p.m. on Saturday night and will be reunited with his family at the White House. Holt is a Mormon missionary from Utah who was jailed in 2016 after traveling to Venezuela to marry a woman he met online, according to The New York Times.  He was accused of stockpiling weapons and arrested. Holt has been held in a Caracas jail since 2016.  Senator Orrin Hatch (R-Utah) posted a statement on Twitter, saying Holt’s release is the result of a two-year effort working with the Trump and Obama administrations and Nicolas Maduro, the president of Venezuela.  Hatch says Holt's wife, Thamy Holt, had also been released but it is unclear if she will travel with her husband back to the United States. This is a developing story, check back for updates. 
  • A Utah man jailed in Venezuela on weapons charges nearly two years ago was released Saturday after U.S. officials and his family pressed for his freedom from the South American country. 'We are grateful to all who participated in this miracle,' Joshua Holt's family said in a statement. President Donald Trump said Holt and his family were expected at the White House on Saturday evening. 'Good news about the release of the American hostage from Venezuela. ... The great people of Utah will be very happy!' Trump said in a tweet. The 26-year-old Holt had gone to Venezuela in June 2016 to marry a woman he met online while he was looking for Spanish-speaking Mormons to help him improve his Spanish. Holt's wife, Thamara, also was freed, said Sen. Orrin Hatch, R-Utah, who said Holt soon would be reunited with 'his sweet, long-suffering family' in Riverton, Utah. Their release came after Tennessee GOP Sen. Bob Corker, chairman of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, met with Venezuela's president, Nicolas Maduro, on Friday, two days after the embattled socialist leader kicked out the top U.S. diplomat in the country. Earlier in May, Holt made an emotional plea for Americans' help in getting him out of the Caracas jail, saying in a clandestinely shot video that his life was threatened during a riot in the country's most-notorious prison. The U.S. government at first avoided ratcheting up public pressure on Venezuela amid already strained relations between the two countries, but eventually raised Holt's case to the highest levels of the Venezuela government. Hatch and Rep. Mia Love, R-Utah, also lobbied on behalf of Holt and decried his poor treatment in prison. Holt had planned to spend several months in Caracas in the summer of 2016 with his new wife, Thamara Candelo, and her and her two daughters, to secure their visas so they could move with him to the U.S. Instead, the couple was arrested at her family's government housing complex on the outskirts of Caracas. Authorities arrested him on June 30, 2016 and accused him of using his wife's apartment in Caracas to stockpile weapons and suggesting his case was linked to other unspecified U.S. attempts to undermine President Maduro's rule amid deep economic and political turbulence. His wife also was jailed on allegations of being Holt's accomplice. Holt's mother, Laurie Holt, said all along that her son and his wife were wrongly accused. She worked feverishly to bring attention to her son's incarceration, hosting rallies, fundraisers and doing media interviews. Laurie Holt said her son has suffered numerous health problems in jail, including kidney stones and respiratory problems. He was depressed and at one point lost so much weight that he dropped several pant sizes, she said. In their statement, the Holt family said, 'We thank you for your collaboration during this time of anguish. We ask that you allow us to meet with our son and his wife before giving any interviews and statements. We are grateful to all who participated in this miracle.' ___ Goodman reported from Bogota, Colombia.