ON AIR NOW

LISTEN NOW

Weather

cloudy-day
36°
Clear
H 50° L 31°
  • cloudy-day
    36°
    Current Conditions
    Clear. H 50° L 31°
  • clear-day
    50°
    Today
    Clear. H 50° L 31°
  • clear-day
    52°
    Tomorrow
    Mostly Clear. H 52° L 30°
LISTEN
PAUSE
ERROR

Wsb news on-demand

00:00 | 00:00

LISTEN
PAUSE
ERROR

Wsb traffic on-demand

00:00 | 00:00

LISTEN
PAUSE
ERROR

Wsb weather on-demand

00:00 | 00:00

Traffic

Click to interact Tap to interact

Traffic App

Events

Traffic Team fundraisers to benefit Toys for Tots Captain Herb loved so much. He loved his family, his job, his colleagues and his community. One of the many charities he helped was metro Atlanta Toys for Tots. To honor his legacy, the WSB Traffic Team still hosts his annual toy drive at Fred’s BBQ House, and it’s quite a show! Bring the family, and plan to join them and the Douglas County community this holiday season on Saturday, December 8th in Lithia Springs. There’s a ride for motorcycles & Jeeps, a raffle, events for the kids, and MORE! Join the Facebook event and see more details here. Another Toys for Tots event is their 3rd Annual Swing for a Cause golf tournament at Bear’s Best Atlanta in Suwanee. The first date was rained out, so the tournament is now Friday, December 14th, tee off at 11:00 a.m. To register, click here. A huge ‘thank you’ and congratulations to our Traffic Trooper Mike Haney “Disc Golf Driver” and to Steve Winslow for putting together another successful disc golf tournament back in September. The group raised more than $6,000 for metro-Atlanta Toys for Tots and, not to mention, a truckload of toys that were also donated! To see some pictures from that day, view the Facebook album here. Call our traffic center with traffic incident 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! The app provides real-time, traffic incidents recorded by WSB radio traffic reporters.

The Gridlock Guy- Doug Turnbull

  • Traffic problems sometimes happen in chronological clumps. There will be a string of days with multiple rollover wrecks or a drive time where multiple vehicles lose different kind of debris in the road. Three different livestock truck crashes took place in Metro Atlanta in a five-month period, as you may recall. But these repetitive occurrences are often coincidental and not caused by some underlying common denominator. But one breakout of wrecks recently could be different. » RELATED: 3 taken to hospital after 7-vehicle wreck on I-285 North in DeKalb I-285/eastbound and westbound between Flat Shoals Parkway (exit 48) and I-20 (exit 46) in DeKalb has seen several bad wrecks recently. They have been epic, with several multi-car, multi-tractor trailer, multi-injury melees that each have blocked several lanes and caused severe jams. Triple Team Traffic’s morning WSB Skycopter anchor, Smilin’ Mark McKay, saw the first in this pattern on “Getaway” Wednesday morning, November 21st. A huge wreck shut down I-285/westbound just before Flat Shoals. 'It was carnage in the way of vehicles and debris all over the place,” McKay explained on the latest WSB Traffic Podcast. 'The insight that we had - it started as a medical emergency and we just went over there to make sure that everything was clear.” It had cleared, but the distraction likely caused the bigger problem. “What I noticed, was a firetruck on the scene of the multi-vehicle crash was facing the wrong direction.' McKay, who saw this unfold from the WSB Skycopter, continued, 'Imagine what they heard behind them, when everything started screeching and crashing.' The interstate was shut down from 8 a.m. until at least 10 and caused massive delays on both I-285 and I-20 in the area. On the morning of Black Friday, just two days later, I flew over another crash at the exact same location. This one had about seven vehicles and shut down all but the right shoulder. Fortunately, volume was light, so the delays were far less. Then this past week saw two more big wrecks in the opposite direction. At about 2:45 p.m. Monday, a crash shut down all of I-285/eastbound east of Flat Shoals. » RELATED: Gridlock Guy: Hooking up with I-285 needs to get easier Jason Durden was over it first in Newschopper 2 and he saw two tractor trailers wedged against the left side wall and multiple vehicles crushed in front of a car carrier on the right side of the road. I flew in the WSB Skycopter up over the severe backups that ended up jamming I-75 both ways in Clayton County and the onlooker delays on I-285/westbound ended up jamming I-20 both ways in DeKalb. The road did not fully open for three hours. Then on Wednesday, I flew over another mix of cars and a tractor trailer I-285/eastbound, just a little bit ahead of the previous one. That blocked two right lanes for about two hours and jammed traffic before I-675. This got McKay and me thinking about what the cause for all this could be. This area has been a continuous work zone for a few years, as crews are rebuilding the Flat Shoals bridge. But the lane shifts on I-285 are gone and the interstate has been repaved. In fact, the area is even smoother now than a few months ago. I reached out to GDOT’s Natalie Dale for an explanation. She shared crash data from the last five years for that interchange and it showed that, year to date, there were 70 less crashes here than in 2017. This is probably due to this zone being much harder to drive a year ago when there was more construction. Commuters on social media agree that it is now easier to drive. Two truckers that drive here often tell me that the biggest problem is people driving too fast and too close around their big rigs. When cars weave quickly in and out of traffic, trucks cannot react evasively quickly and they can wreck or turn over. This stretch of I-285 often runs quicker than, say, the north side Perimeter. But many trucks use it, as there are many trucking depots on Moreland Avenue and Jonesboro Road and because trucks have to divert onto I-285 to connect with I-20, or vice-versa. Combine these factors and the recipe makes these big, chain reaction-wrecks more likely. Another factor these last two weeks could be the increase in drivers from out of town traveling through Metro Atlanta for the holidays. Unfamiliar drivers on I-285/westbound come around a sharp curve and immediately up to the Flat Shoals ramp. I-285/eastbound motorists may run up on sudden right lane delays ramping to I-20. This can cause sudden lane changes and trigger wrecks. And keep in mind that many truckers are from out of town. One local rig driver told me that the angle of the lanes almost pulls his wheel in one direction, so he has to work harder to keep his ride straight. The only change in conditions the last two weeks on I-285 near Flat Shoals has been the addition of out-of-town drivers. Maybe this string of melees is a coincidence, mixed with some unfamiliarity. The Thanksgiving crash count the past three years in the area was similar. Really, there is no clear causation for this preponderance of wrecks. Captain Herb Emory might have said that someone sprinkled some voodoo dust down there. Regardless, everyone should exercise some extra caution on I-285 in both directions near Flat Shoals in DeKalb and should always drive severe care around tractor trailers. And truck drivers should do the same.  » RELATED: Tire blowout caused crash, I-285 shutdown in Cobb County Doug Turnbull, the PM drive Skycopter 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.
  • One of the most frustrating aspects of Atlanta traffic is how much I-285 affects so many other roads. Wrecks and construction on I-285 jam up intersecting interstates, but the bigger sin of I-285 is just trying to hook up with it. Pardon the entendre. » RELATED: Georgia DOT: We’re ready for winter weather An annoying aspect of everyday rush hour is the right-lane jam that occurs when certain freeway traffic lines up to ramp onto I-285. This has become even more of a problem as more freight traffic clogs Georgia’s roads with the deepening of the Port of Savannah. And most of those commercial rigs have to bypass downtown Atlanta — via Atlanta’s bypass, of course. Another thing making I-285 merging worse is just the sheer increase in population not just in the City of Atlanta, but in all of the satellite cities in the suburbs. There are many more jobs in an array of places all over metro Atlanta, meaning there are many more rush hour directions for traffic flow. For example, both I-75/southbound in Cobb and I-85/southbound in DeKalb are usually slow in PM drive, as they ramp to I-285. This is going against the normal outbound PM drive flow. And when the ramps aren’t slow, they take no time getting that way when problems happen near I-285 or on the Perimeter. But the delays pop up outside of rush hour and at random times. On Wednesday mid-morning — well before the roads really got into the bad Thanksgiving travel mode — the I-75/southbound right lanes were already slow below Delk Road down to I-285. It was just volume. In fact, more than half of the interstate volume seemed to be exiting onto the Perimeter. So that got me down a traffic wormhole. Why do interchanges have such little real estate dedicated to feeding onto other freeways? The traffic volume seems to demand more capacity. And I-285 interchanges seem to be the most lacking. Spaghetti Junction (the I-85/I-285 interchange in DeKalb) generally gets the most flack. One measure of its jam is the American Transportation Research Institute’s study of trucking bottlenecks. ATRI ranked Spaghetti Junction as causing the worst freight gridlock of any interchange in the nation in both 2017 and 2018. This increasing gridlock, of course, adds costs to the companies that operate the trucks and the buyers of those products. And the Spaghetti Junction ramps aren’t just slow during rush hour. As noted above, the non-rush hour directions get backed up and a small crash on a weekend or midday weekday can snarl one of those ramps easily. » RELATED: Cobb gives 7 free time extensions to GDOT I-75 at I-285 in Cobb, the Cobb Cloverleaf, was ninth in the 2017 ATRI study and up (or down) to fifth in 2018. It may have gotten worse because of the three-plus-year I-75 Peach Pass Lanes project. However, those new lanes do give some added capacity in that interchange and improve the overall traffic on I-75. But they only run in one direction, so if traffic queues up in the other way, it doesn’t have the benefit of the lanes. As part of GDOT and the Atlanta Regional Commission’s extensive 10-year traffic plan, rebuilds of both the I-20 at I-285 interchange in Fulton (17th-worst on ATRI’s 2018 list) and Spaghetti Junction are on the drawing board. The Spaghetti Junction rebuild really simply involves more ramps and an integration into future toll lanes that GDOT will build along I-285. They also want to make a HOT lane-only set of ramps to I-285, similar to what exists on the new toll system in Cobb and with the HOV system on I-75’s Brookwood merge with the Downtown Connector. The I-20 at I-285 rebuild in Fulton County is even more urgent. There is no “spaghetti” in that junction. It’s more like a couple of breadsticks and some Spaghetti O’s. That interchange has only one lane in any direction to make the transition. It is the worst in PM drive, when I-285 is stacked both ways trying to ramp onto I-20/westbound. A search of the GDOT projects site shows that widening is part of this interchange rebuild. That certainly will mean better-moving ramps and more lanes to push through the increasing traffic volume. But this may be years away. I-285 is either the most or second-most important metro Atlanta interstate and improving it is always a moving target. Funding for new projects comes from the same pie that has to repave it every few years — and cut the grass, and replace signs, and rehab bridges. The Transform I-285/GA-400 project is still in its early stages, but will be the first measure after the Peach Pass lanes in Cobb to make interacting with I-285 better. But there is no doubt that the future projects just detailed will also make a dent in this problem. But as things stand today, hooking up with I-285 needs to be much smoother and easier. » RELATED: GDOT releases Northwest toll lanes holiday schedule  Doug Turnbull, the PM drive Skycopter 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.
  • “The right of way is given, not taken.” My dad shared this saying with me some 25 years ago and I seem to remember him telling me this in the presence of my grandmother, who is an avid reader of this column. I found it so profound (or as profound as an eight-year-old can find something, anyway) that I presented it in my second grade show-and-tell session that week. My classmates found it less impressive. I’m sure someone with a new pack of Nickelodeon Gak stole the show. » RELATED: Is the 'Tollercoaster' Atlanta's next 'Spaghetti Junction'? Kurt, a regular Gridlock Guy reader, wrote me last week with a great list of suggestions for column topics and most had to do with the right of way rule on the Georgia roads. I am happy to oblige — and I welcome your suggestions any time, as well. Arguably the most often application of right of way is in merging from a smaller road to a bigger highway. Merging incorrectly can create danger for cars both with and without the right of way. Here is what the 2018 Georgia Driver’s Manual states: “When the roadway you are traveling on is merging into other traffic without stopping, adjust your speed and vehicle position to allow you to merge into the new lane safely.” As you may have known, the traffic on the faster highway has the right of way. But in the spirit of “the right of way is given,” this oncoming traffic has equal responsibility. “If traffic from another roadway is merging into the roadway you are traveling on, safely change lanes away from the merging traffic if possible. If it is not possible to change lanes away from the merging traffic, adjust your speed and vehicle position to safely allow the traffic to merge.” Right of way also very much comes into play at intersections. Very simply, traffic with a green light has the right of way. But the driver’s manual is very clear that proceeding under green is not an automatic right, without a previous application of common sense. “At intersections with traffic control lights, wait until the intersection is clear of traffic or approaching traffic before entering. Do not proceed ‘just because’ you have the green light.” Also remember that turning right on red is only okay after coming to a complete stop and oncoming traffic leaves a safe gap. Do not impede or slow that oncoming traffic. Red lights always yield to green. The same holds true for flashing yellow left turn signals. Those beacons only permit that maneuver after the predominant, oncoming traffic allows it. » RELATED: Decatur beginning right-of-way acquisitions for long-planned project Four-way stops may be one of the most egalitarian times in traffic, so the driver’s manual spells out right of way in detail. “At a four-way intersection where all drivers are faced with stop signs, all drivers must yield to pedestrians; otherwise the vehicles should proceed through the intersection in a ‘first to arrive, first to proceed order.’ If two vehicles reach the intersection at approximately the same time, yield to any vehicles on your right.” And the manual urges absolute common sense. “If another driver tries to take your turn, even if you have the right-of-way, let the other driver proceed. It might prevent a traffic crash.” The right of way is given, not taken, yes. Pedestrians always have the right of way. If they have the “walk” signal in a crosswalk, they get to walk, even if vehicles have a green turn signal in that direction. This is obviously for safety reasons. And if they are jaywalking, drivers are still required to slow down and be safe around them. Cars almost always win the battle against people on foot, if they connect. We need to drive with that truth in mind. Illuminating one’s turn signal does show the intention to turn or change lanes, but it does not afford the right to do so. Drivers already in the right of way position must allow that to take place. The desire to do something does not create the right to it — imagine if society worked that way. We discussed roundabouts two columns ago, and the right of way in those is very simple: whatever traffic is already in the traffic circle has the right of way. This very similar to the rules of merging onto highways. The basic premise of the “right of way” is to settle traffic “tiebreakers” and make the roads safer. But the right of way is not an entitlement. Driving without entitlement might be the biggest salve to our overall traffic pain. If drivers practiced both yielding to and having the right of way correctly, the whole traffic ecosystem would flow much better. And we would feel better, too.  » RELATED: What to do at an intersection when the power goes out Doug Turnbull, the PM drive Skycopter 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.
  • Transportation is a unity ticket of sorts. Candidates may have nuanced disagreements about how to tackle Georgia’s - and namely, Metro Atlanta’s - transportation and traffic issues, but their views are largely similar. This is why transportation, for as big as the problem is, isn’t a centerpiece in most campaigns. » RELATED: How Georgia counties voted in the 2018 Georgia Gubernatorial election Clay Tippins’ ill-fated gubernatorial campaign was one exception to this strategy, with his transportation-fueled attack on former Lt. Gov. Casey Cagle. The primary race didn’t work out well for either. AJC transportation reporter David Wickert did a great piece on where both Brian Kemp and Stacey Abrams stand on transportation. At the time of the deadline, the governor’s race is technically undecided, though Kemp has an almost certain clear path to victory. But whoever takes the governor’s mansion will change the trajectory that outgoing Governor Nathan Deal has set. “In one-on-one conversations with Secretary Kemp, I think he is planning to continue existing GDOT plans for greater use of reversible lanes,” CSI Crane principal and WSB Radio political analyst Bill Crane said. “And though he sees the benefits of greater connectivity between Georgia's population centers, I'm not sure he is sold that we need more than 'good roads' to do that.” Wickert’s piece explained how some of the state’s long term plans received approval, but not very transparently, something both Kemp and Abrams said they would change. Kemp also wants to see more public-private partnerships on projects, particularly mass transit. Abrams, meanwhile, wants to set aside $150 million in government bonds for transit. “[To] ensure that the state remains a key investor in transit through our bonding capacity; general fund incentives where appropriate; and inclusion of transit as a permitted use of motor fuel taxes, without sacrificing our current efforts on roads, bridges and economic development projects,” Abrams told the AJC. Former state representative Geoff Duncan won the Lieutenant Governorship, succeeding Cagle, and Crane said this could impact transportation legislation going forward. “The Senate has a new L.G., who isn't Lieutenant Governor Cagle on these issues. That may as a result be new committee chairs, though I know Senator Brandon Beach would prefer to remain in his position, he was among the most visible Cagle supporters.” Crane said the Lieutenant Governor chooses the committee chairs in the state Senate and Cagle was very much a proponent of expanding transportation funding. » RELATED: Strong support for transit across metro Atlanta, survey shows With Republicans maintaining state House control, not much should change. “House leadership will be changing less, and it may sound odd, but we may end up with House Speaker David Ralston as the most visible spokesperson for further state investment in transit and transportation in the near term,” Crane said. Outgoing Representative Meagan Hanson, R-Brookhaven, centered her campaign on transportation, in hopes of winning some purple votes. Her TV ads focused almost solely on mass transit expansion. But despite that popular stance, she lost her seat to Democrat Matthew Wilson. This election is (mostly) in the books, but another special one on the horizon may do much more to shape the Atlanta transportation landscape. “The Gwinnett MARTA referendum in March rises significantly in importance. There are clearly some watershed changes in demographics and voting patterns underway there. But very little has been done to promote the referendum or benefits of expanding connectivity/transit into Gwinnett,” Crane explained. “We are now just under 120 days from that special election. My concern, as an advocate of transit options, connectivity and being competitive with the other great cities of the world, is that ifthe referendum fails in Gwinnett, MARTA may become landlocked in its current footprint for another decade or so. We are already behind the eight ball in terms of system size, expansion, etc...on that front.” In a few short paragraphs, Crane encapsulates very well how subtle changes after elections can sway Atlanta and Georgia’s traffic trajectory. Big questions on mass transit expansion, for example, get answered as low as the county commission level, where those leaders decide what happens in their areas. County commissioners are also stakeholders in the Atlanta Regional Commission, which works cooperatively to plan Atlanta’s traffic plan for decades down the road. Most people agree that Atlanta’s traffic absolutely must improve. But the path to get there may take some different turns in the coming months. » RELATED: MARTA's final Atlanta expansion plan: A detailed look Doug Turnbull, the PM drive Skycopter 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.
  • As transportation officials dig for cheaper, safer ways to improve both traffic flow and safety, there seem to be two trends proliferating at intersections. Local governments and the state DOT have constructed several diverging diamond interchanges (DDIs) at busy interstate interchanges in Metro Atlanta. Those are designed to eliminate left turns across oncoming traffic, a design which decreases wrecks and can improve the wait times. » RELATED: $3.3M Cobb roundabout construction closing road until March 2019 Driving thru DDIs is different, but doing so requires very little maneuvering. Drivers simply follow their lane and have very little confusion about crossing to the other side of the road and then back again. The road does all the work for the motorist. Roundabouts, meanwhile, are showing up in more places in Atlanta, but they require a bit more effort and thought from commuters. Roundabouts have been common in other countries and not just for small, neighborhood intersections. I’ve ridden through some intimidating roundabouts in Grand Cayman and Aruba that are fast, multi-laned, and confusing. But they are constantly moving. And that is the main reason that these intersections are popping up in more places in this metro area. Much like DDIs, roundabouts keep traffic moving and eliminate left turns across oncoming traffic. By decreasing overall wait times and idling time at stop signs and lights and by lessening the likelihood of wrecks, roundabouts seem like a win-win. But they take adjustments from first-time navigators. The first rule for traffic approaching a roundabout is that it must yield. All traffic outside of the traffic circle must yield to traffic inside it. It also must yield to pedestrians or bicycles in the crosswalks on each turn of the roundabout. This obviously is for safety purposes and to prevent any hesitation to the traffic flow. If drivers didn’t know which one had the preferred spot, more crashes would occur and the hesitations would cause more delays. » RELATED: Fayette County postpones Antioch Road roundabout Roundabout confusion is greatest when they have multiple lanes. Multi-lane roundabouts are not common in Atlanta, but as more engineers embrace them, there certainly could be more of them. Roundabouts move one direction: counterclockwise. Drivers entering the traffic circle and progressing just one street over — what would be a right turn in a standard intersection — enter the roundabout in the right lane and then stay there until that first turn. Drivers that are going what would be straight or left would enter the roundabout in the inside or left lane and then turn from that lane onto their desired street. They keep moving and the drivers in that outside lane can continue moving, because they have a designated lane to make that turn, without interrupting the other vehicles. In a double-lane roundabout, the turns onto each street have two lanes: one for the outside lane vehicles and one for the inside lane. This allows seamless transitions, without cars stopping. Quite possibly the golden rule of roundabouts is this: never change lanes. The lane in which one enters the roundabout is the one in which they stay until they exit. This is another genius innovation in this configuration. Eliminating lane changes means removing the friction they cause. Traffic simply keeps moving, until it exits the circle. The lack of traffic lights at intersections also means more efficient traffic flow during non-peak times. Isn’t waiting at a light when there is no traffic a real annoyance? This isn’t a problem at all in roundabouts. Just proceed with caution. One of the most noticeable roundabouts in Atlanta is that at Riverside Drive and I-285. GDOT recently converted that interchange from the standard traffic signal arrangement to a roundabout two years ago. This was done to try to make traffic off of busy I-285 somehow move better onto two-lane Riverside. Many people use Riverside to cut up to Johnson Ferry and commute into East Cobb. Unfortunately, the backup in PM drive from the right lane I-285/eastbound still stretches back about as far as it did with a traffic light. But, there are definitely very few crashes in the interchange. Do not be intimidated by roundabouts. Just follow the few simple rules and embrace them. They are much more cost-effective ways to help traffic than stringing up signals and paving more lanes. But this is Atlanta and embracing the concept of traffic actually moving can seem foreign. » RELATED: Georgia DOT held groundbreaking new Diverging Diamond Interchange Doug Turnbull, the PM drive Skycopter 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.

News

  • After DeKalb County School District officials promised efforts to improve their hiring process, the district hired a teacher this summer who had been arrested in 2013 in New York for meth possession. Carl Hudson was arrested in 2013 for possession of methamphetamine, a felony, a few blocks from Flushing High School, where he was principal. According to the New York Daily News, he pleaded to a lesser charge of disorderly conduct and received a conditional discharge, meaning the whole incident would get wiped from his record if he did not have any other legal run-ins over the following year. Hudson’s case is like the series of hiring blunders that led DeKalb officials to admit to gaps in the district’s hiring processes while promising to correct those flaws. According to his resume, he moved to Atlanta in 2016 and found employment with Atlanta Public Schools, beginning as a long-term substitute before becoming a permanent hire, until he left the district this summer to teach math at Tucker High School. Atlanta Public schools officials said he worked for the district just over a year, ending in November of 2017. His arrest, though, was easily found through a Google search and according to Georgia teaching standards should have kept him from being employed by either school district. Superintendent Steve Green said Tuesday that being previously charged with a crime would not make someone ineligible for a job. District officials said they were not aware of Hudson’s arrest prior to hiring him. TRENDING STORIES: Police ID woman run over, killed at gas station; search for driver underway Michelle Obama extends national book tour, adds stop in Atlanta Officer shot in bulletproof vest during traffic stop, suspect killed Atlanta Public Schools officials did not say whether they were aware of his 2013 meth arrest, but said late Tuesday that results of standard background checks met their guidelines. According to the Code of Ethics for Educators, from the Georgia Professional Standards Commission, unethical conduct includes the commission or conviction of a felony, including a situation where the charge is disposed through diversion or similar programs. On his application, Hudson marked “no” when asked whether he had been convicted of any crimes in the last five years. On his resume, instead of listing the name of the high school where he worked, he wrote “NYC DOE High School,” or New York City Department of Education. Efforts to reach Hudson were not successful. District officials said he “walked off the job” Nov. 26. Bernice Gregory, the district’s human resources chief, said changes to the hiring procedure since she arrived at the district in April include having a second person — either Gregory or the director of employment services — perform a second candidate screening to ensure checks and balances on the district’s hiring checklist have been met. That could include a Google search and verifying a person’s job history for the past 10 years, talking to at least one reference who directly supervised the candidate. “We put another set of eyes on it,” Gregory said about the applications. “Once we put their names in Google, you know everything … is going to come up that’s out there.” The district recently joined the National Association of Teacher Education and Certification, which has a database giving the district access to convictions, arrests and charges against a potential candidate. Her staff is set to begin training this week to use that system. She said they also recently signed up for access to the Child Protective Services Information System, which essentially is a child abuse registry for the state of Georgia and would tell district officials whether someone had had as little as a child abuse complaint against them. A question added to applications will ask applicants if they have been asked to resign from a school district. During peak hiring times, Gregory said someone from her department will ask the question again. The district has gotten into trouble for sloppy hiring in the past, including a teacher hired last summer who had been fired from the Toledo, Ohio, school district on allegations that she assaulted students by putting them in headlocks and pushing them against walls. DeKalb County Schools placed Sandra Meeks-Speller on administrative leave on Oct. 10, 2017 pending an internal investigation, shortly after The Atlanta Journal-Constitution requested her personnel file and told district officials what was uncovered online about her past. Diane Clark was removed twice from the district in 13 months. The first time, in November 2016, she was allowed to retire early after several of her Cross Keys High School students claimed she made threatening comments about getting them deported immediately after President Donald Trump was elected. The second time was December 2017, after The Atlanta Journal-Constitution discovered Clark had been brought back to the district as a substitute teacher.  District officials admitted failing to do internet searches was among critical gaps in their background-check process, and promised changes such as verifying the work history candidates provide on their job applications and making direct contact with references.“Our background-check process certainly needs shoring up,” Superintendent Steve Green said last year. “We need to keep up with the times for ways there are to get information. In the old days, if you were cleared to teach in Ohio, you would be cleared to teach here.” District officials said in an email at the time that they would provide training sessions on interview tips, contact state boards where candidates are licensed and provide annual safety awareness training for some human capital management employees.
  • A Kentucky man is facing murder charges after allegedly slashing the throat of his sleeping 3-year-old niece early Saturday morning, news outlets reported. >> Read more trending news  The toddler’s father heard her screams over a baby monitor around 2:45 a.m. and was attacked by Emanuel Fluter, 33, when he tried to save his daughter, The Associated Press reported. Josephine Bulubenchi later died from her injuries at an Albany-area hospital. Fluter, a veteran, who had been living with the family in their rural Clinton County home, had been suffering from mental health issues, the child’s father and Fluter’s brother, Dariu Fluter, told WKYT-TV. “I want people to know that he loved his nieces and loved his nephews,' Dariu Flutur said. 'He loved us. He loved me and his sister.” The family told WKYT they forgive him for the alleged murder. 'He has a mental condition that he suffers with since he was in the army,' Dariu said. 'It's tough for us to understand because of what happened.' >> Trending: Texas firefighters rescue over 100 snakes from burning house, including pythons, boas There were four other children in the room at the time of the attack, but none of them were injured, police said. Fluter is jailed on $1 million bond and is due back in court on Dec. 18.
  • A metro Atlanta woman is accused of stabbing another woman to death at a Rockdale County motel and firing at officers during a chase. It happened at a Motel 6 in Conyers. Right after the murder, a statewide alert helped authorities in another part of the state catch the murder suspect, 42-year-old Joyce Marie Lewis-Pelzer. The alert also sparked new attention being put on the disappearance of another woman seven years ago. Last November, Channel 2 Action News followed up on the disappearance of Shawndell McLeod out of DeKalb County that is being investigated as a homicide. [READ MORE: 6 years later, this missing woman's case is now a murder investigation] While looking into Lewis-Pelzer, Channel 2's Matt Johnson found DeKalb court records that show McLeod took out a protective order against Lewis-Pelzer two months before the disappearance. Lewis-Pelzer is recovering at a south Georgia hospital after the Georgia Bureau of Investigation said she led deputies on a high-speed chase that ended in Turner County. TRENDING STORIES: Police ID woman run over, killed at gas station; search for driver underway Michelle Obama extends national book tour, adds stop in Atlanta Officer shot in bulletproof vest during traffic stop, suspect killed 'Probably eight or nine minutes from mile marker 94 to mile marker 84 -- 10-miles stretch and it reached speeds of 110 miles per hour,' Sheriff Billy Hancock said. Deputies in Crisp County returned fire when she shot at them on I-75 Monday night. Authorities said she tried to head to Florida after stabbing her partner. A statewide alert helped a state trooper locate her car and attempt to make a traffic stop before authorities said Lewis-Pelzer kept going. It took two PIT maneuvers to stop her and the GBI said she fired at least one shot from her car toward deputies. As for the McLeod case, a Conyers police spokesperson said they're working with another department to look at the suspect further to determine her connection to an additional murder. The family of the victim at the motel is out of state and have not been notified of her death as of late Monday night. The accused killer has multiple domestic violence arrests in both DeKalb and Fulton counties.
  • Attorneys for President Donald Trump’s former national security adviser Michael Flynn asked a judged to spare him prison time in a memo filed Tuesday. >> Read more trending news  In the filing, Flynn’s lawyers recommended for a sentence 'a term of probation not to exceed one year, with minimal conditions of supervision, along with 200 hours of community service, CNN reported. His attorneys said in the memo that “General Flynn accepted responsibility for his conduct and that his cooperation “was not grudging or delayed.” >> Related: Guilty: Michael Flynn admits in court to lying about Russian communication “Rather, it preceded his guilty plea or any threatened indictment and began very shortly after he was first contacted for assistance by the Special Counsel's Office.” Flynn is scheduled for sentencing next Tuesday in U.S. District Court in Washington for lying to the FBI about his contacts with Russian officials. Special counsel Robert Mueller, who is investigating Russian interference in the 2016 presidential election, recommended no jail time for Flynn in a filing last week. Original story: Attorneys for President Donald Trump’s former national security adviser Michael Flynn are expected to make a sentencing recommendation Tuesday in a case brought by special counsel Robert Mueller’s office. Prosecutors with Mueller’s team said last week in court filings that Flynn has been cooperative since he pleaded guilty last year to making false statements to the FBI. In light of his assistance, prosecutors asked that Flynn receive little to no jail time for his crime, an argument Flynn’s attorneys are expected to echo, according to The Associated Press. >> Mueller investigation: Report recommends little to no jail time for Michael Flynn Flynn resigned from his post in the Trump administration in February 2017 after serving just 24 days in office. He pleaded guilty in December 2017 to lying to the FBI about his contacts with Russian officials and agreed to fully cooperate with Mueller’s team.  Flynn is scheduled to be sentenced next week by U.S. District Judge Emmet Sullivan, according to court records.
  • A day of shopping at a New Jersey mall took a violent turn for three teenagers, who said they were beaten up by two women over a parking space. >> Read more trending news  The three friends - Taylor McFadden, 18; Tatum Bohanon, 19, and Alexandria 'Allie' DeRusso, 19 – told NJ.com that a car was waiting for their parking spot close to the Deptford Mall entrance, but that they weren’t ready to leave.  The girls think that’s what angered the women, who, at first, walked by their car with two men, and then returned and attacked them, McFadden said. She told NJ.com that one of the women hit Bohannon and the other woman punched DeRusso. “Both of my friends were on the ground at this point, getting punched,” McFadden told NJ.com. “I jumped out of the passenger side and I grabbed my phone so that I could call the police. People started coming over, but I think a lot of people were scared to get involved,” she said. When it was over, all three girls were treated at a local hospital. >> Trending: Father turns in daughter to face charges over starving dogs Authorities are investigating the incident.
  • California state lawmaker Joaquin Arambula was arrested Monday on suspicion of misdemeanor child cruelty, Fresno police Chief Jerry Dyer said. The arrest came after officials at Dailey Elementary Charter School discovered an injury on a child who came into an office Monday afternoon, Dyer said. He did not describe the injury or Arambula's relationship to the child. He was cited for willful cruelty to a child, Arambula, a Democratic state assemblyman, is married with three young daughters. 'Joaquin is a committed father who wants what is best for his children,' his spokeswoman Felicia Matlosz said in a Tuesday statement. 'He is fully supportive of the process, which will show he is a loving and nurturing father.' Arambula is a former emergency room physician who won a 2016 special election to represent part of Fresno and the surrounding rural areas. His father Juan Arambula was a state assemblyman in the early 2000s. Officials at the elementary school reported the child's injury to child protective services, which called Fresno police, Dyer said. Officers called Arambula and his wife, Elizabeth, who both arrived at the scene. The child described how the injury occurred and said Arambula inflicted it, Dyer said. The police determined the injury happened Sunday evening. Arambula was cooperative and cordial, but he did not provide a statement to officers based on advice from his attorney, Dyer said. Officers were 'confident that a crime had occurred' and arrested Arambula on suspicion of willful cruelty to a child, Dyer said. He was taken in a patrol car to police headquarter, finger-printed, photographed and then released because his crime is a misdemeanor. The injury did not rise to the level of a felony. All school district employees in California are considered 'mandated reporters' under state law, meaning they are required to report known or suspected child abuse. They are not responsible for determining if an allegation is valid, according to the state Department of Education's website. They are expected to report if abuse or neglect is suspected or a child shares information leading them to believe it took place. They are then required to call law enforcement or child protective services, and law enforcement is required to investigate. A physical injury inflicted on a child by someone else intentionally is considered child abuse or neglect. Officials at the elementary school and Fresno Unified School District did not immediately respond to requests for comment. __ Associated Press writers Jonathan J. Cooper and Don Thompson contributed.