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Archive for March, 2012

Investigators found liquor bottles, straw with bath salts in Grooms’s car

Thursday, March 22nd, 2012

WILMINGTON, NC (WWAY) — Thomas Grooms was driving south on River Road last year when witnesses say he hit and killed Trey and David Doolittle. Witnesses today explained in great detail what they believe happened that Sunday morning when the Doolittles were hit and killed while riding their bicycles.

Investigators explained the scene of the accident on river road to the jury, including what was found inside Thomas Grooms’s car.

Highway Patrol collected a straw in the car with white powder and sent it to the SBI.

“When it was seized, initially I thought it was cocaine,” a trooper told jurors.

Troopers say after a field sobriety test, they believed Grooms was impaired at the time of the crash. It turned out the substance inside of the straw was now cocaine, but mephedrone, known more commonly as bath salts, but that information was not disclosed to the jury yet.

Investigators also say they found an empty Southern Comfort bottle in the back seat, a bottle of Bacardi 151 in the car and a bottle of wine in the trunk.

Investigators say according to instruments inside Grooms’s car, he did not brake before or after hitting the two cyclists. Troopers explained this is evident by the fact that air bags did not deploy.

A woman who was out with Grooms the night before the accident also testified today. She said she shared drinks with him saturday night, but did not believe he was impaired and unable to drive when they left the restaurant.

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One lane on Wrightsville Beach drawbridge closed until 4 p.m. today

Thursday, March 22nd, 2012

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CUE Center hosts national conference

Thursday, March 22nd, 2012

WILMINGTON, NC (WWAY) — Since it began, the non-profit CUE Center for Missing Persons has helped more than 9,000 people. Some of them are in Wilmington this weekend for the CUE Center’s eighth annual National Round Table Conference.

The conference is a chance for law enforcement, search and rescuers and even the families of missing people to come together to support each other.

“I think without the CUE Center and Monica Caison we would have never recovered Allison,” Lisa Valentino said.

Valentino knows what many people attending the conference are going through. Her sister Allison Jackson Foy disappeared in Wilmington back in July 2006. Foy’s body was found two years later. Along the way Valentino says the CUE Center and founder Monica Caison helped her and her family.

“From the moment we called them she was here with us while my family and I were in Wilmington,” Valentino said. “For 10 days, from morning until night, we searched in the worst areas of Wilmington to the best areas. That help and that education and that advocacy continued throughout those two years before she was recovered.”

The CUE Center is locally based, but has grown into a national organization.

With more than 1,600 active cases, this weekend is about raising awareness, improving communication among agencies and supporting the families of those missing.

“We teach them how to be advocates for their family member that’s missing or their loved ones so that when they leave here they can go back to their community and deal with their law enforcement and the media and how to keep their family and missing loved one in the public’s eye,” CUE Center Board member Faith Wilson.

The conference kicked off this afternoon with training for search and rescue units.

Tomorrow law enforcement leaders will welcome more than 200 families of the missing.

Saturday at 7:30 p.m. there’s a vigil at Riverfront Park in honor of those victims. The public is welcome to attend.

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Restaurant holds fundraiser for baby who needs heart transplant

Thursday, March 22nd, 2012

WILMINGTON, NC (WWAY) — We told you earlier this month about a baby named Hannah who needs a new heart. Tonight, you can help.

Four-month-old Hannah Dombrowski was born with an inoperable tumor on her heart. She is waiting for a transplant at Duke Hospital in Durham until a heart is available.

The Chick-Fil-A on Oleander Drive in Wilmington is hosting a benefit for Hannah and her family tonight. From 5 to 8 p.m., proceeds from food purchased at the restaurant will go toward Hannah’s medical care.

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Media seek to force UNC to turn over records

Thursday, March 22nd, 2012

RALEIGH, NC (AP) — Lawyers for The Associated Press and other media outlets are asking a judge to force the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill to hand over public records related to athletics violations by the school’s football program.

Wake County Superior Court Judge Howard Manning ruled in April 2011 that UNC violated state public records law when administrators refused to provide records of phone calls and parking tickets received by football payers.

A motion filed Thursday asks Manning to order the university to hand over the remaining documents, including records for business calls made from the personal cell phone of former head football coach Butch Davis.

Earlier this month, the NCAA hit the program with a one-year postseason ban for violations that included academic fraud by players and their university tutors.

(Copyright 2012 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.)

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