September 21, 2010

Supreme Court May Rock & Roll On Illegal Music Download Case

Kazaa.jpgOver the last several years, the 4 big record labels (Sony BMG, Universal Music, Warner Music and EMI) have aggressively pursued file sharing companies like KaZaA and Grokster as well as those who downloaded the music for their personal use.

The US Supreme Court recently took the first step toward hearing one of the more than 40,000 music download cases that have been filed by the music industry companies against individuals who downloaded music from the internet.

In each of these law suits, the music companies allege that the person downloading the music violated US copyright laws, which imposes shockingly strong penalties, up to $150,000 per violation. In these music download cases, many young people downloaded hundreds of songs, and the music companies contend that each downloaded song constitutes a violation.

Continue reading "Supreme Court May Rock & Roll On Illegal Music Download Case" »

August 30, 2010

Juror Faces Criminal Contempt For Facebook Post

facebook juror.jpgA young female juror near Detroit will face a contempt of court hearing this coming Thursday. Her crime? She defied a judge's Order that she not discuss the case on which she was sitting - a criminal trial against a 40-year-old Clinton Township resident charged with a misdemeanor and a felony for resisting arrest. Hadley Jons, 20 of Macomb County, Michigan, received the same warning as all of the other jurors chosen to hear the criminal trial. But, apparently, she was the only juror to post her thoughts about which way she would vote on Facebook.

On Facebook, Jons wrote that she was "actually excited for jury duty tomorrow. It's gonna be fun to tell the defendant they're GUILTY. :P."

The defense lawyer's son, Jaxon Goodman, found the post on-line on August 11th. The defendant's lawyer, Saleema Sheikh, informed the judge before court the next morning. The judge then questioned Jon's if she had posted anything about the case on Facebook. She originally denied it, but then she reportedly put her face down and failed to answer when the judge read the post out-loud in open court.

Continue reading "Juror Faces Criminal Contempt For Facebook Post" »

August 23, 2010

Guilford Teen Charged With Texting While Driving & Hit and Run

Hit & Run.jpgAs safety advocates and parents continue to preach the dangers of texting while driving, teenagers continue to test the texting laws to the detriment and harm of everyone else. Last week, Justin Wallace, a 19 year old Connecticutt man, showed up in Superior Court to be formally charged with a host of minor crimes arising out of his texting while driving hit & run fiasco with a pedestrian.

In the early evening of July 24, Lori Walsh was walking single file with her dog and two children down Tanner Marsh Road. At the same time, Wallace was driving his father's 1997 tan Toyota Camry in the same direction as the mother and children were walking. Wallace was sending and receiving text messages on his cell phone as he drove down the road. He knew it was against the law but didn't think he would get caught.


View Larger Map

Continue reading "Guilford Teen Charged With Texting While Driving & Hit and Run" »

August 16, 2010

Fatal Crash On NC Highway 43 Near New Bern Blamed On Hydroplaning

dump truck wreck.jpgLast Friday afternoon just after 4 pm, a 2004 Nissan Maxima driven by Temikia Gooding, 23, of Kinston, hydroplaned on a rain slick highway near New Bern, crossed the center-line, rotated counter-clockwise, and was struck by a large dump truck driven by Charles White, 49, of New Bern.

The front of the dump truck impacted the Maxima on the passenger's side of the vehicle. The driver of the Maxima and her passenger, Alsheen Wooten, 27, of Vanceboro, were killed in the crash. The truck driver reported that the Maxima suddenly crossed into his lane of travel, and that he did not have time to avoid the collision.

The Maxima was traveling north on NC Highway 43, and the dump truck was traveling south.The investigating North Carolina State Trooper concluded that the driver of the Maxima was driving too fast for the rainy conditions. The investigating Trooper indicated that no charges would be filed against the driver of the dump truck. Knowing what to do if your vehicle hydroplanes is critical for safe driving on wet roads.

Continue reading "Fatal Crash On NC Highway 43 Near New Bern Blamed On Hydroplaning" »

July 31, 2010

Laura Fortenberry's Death Should Lead Lawmakers To Change North Carolina Law

Laura Fortenberry.jpgThe recent death of a Gaston County teenager, Laura Fortenberry, age 17, should lead North Carolina lawmakers to change the current law regarding how long a convicted drunk driver must wear an ankle alcohol monitoring bracelet.

Last Sunday night, on the Dallas-Cherryville Highway around 9 p.m., a habitual drunk driver, Howard Pasour, 28, of Bessemer City, tried passing several vehicles on the two lane road. While making the passing maneuver, the drunk driver crashed head-on into the vehicle in which Ms. Fortenberry was riding as a passenger. Ms. Fortenberry was killed in the crash.

The drunk driver has three previous convictions for drunk driving. His last conviction for DWI was last year in 2009. When he got his driver's license back this time in November, 2009, a judge ordered that he wear a continuous alcohol monitoring bracelet so that authorities could keep track of his whereabouts and make sure that he was not driving drunk. So where was the monitoring bracelet?

Continue reading "Laura Fortenberry's Death Should Lead Lawmakers To Change North Carolina Law" »

July 26, 2010

Truck Strikes Motorcycle Near Rockingham, North Carolina on US 220

motorcycle crash near rockingham.jpgOn Saturday afternoon, a pick-up truck driver failed to see an oncoming motorcycle before making a left hand turn and caused a severe collision. The pick-up truck driver, Doris Collins, 70, of Nicole Lane, in Rockingham, North Carolina was headed southbound on U.S. Highway 220 in Richmond County just before the crash.

A motorcycle driven by Doug Franklin, 35, of Greenfield Road, in Hamlet, North Carolina was headed northbound on U.S. 220. Also on the motorcycle was a young juvenile passenger.


View Larger Map

The northbound motorcycle had the right of way, but the southbound truck crossed into the oncoming lane and struck the motorcycle.

Continue reading "Truck Strikes Motorcycle Near Rockingham, North Carolina on US 220" »

July 21, 2010

Winston-Salem Jury Awards $6 Million Against Sports Bar & Drunk Driver

tanker explosion.jpgA wrongful death claim brought by a Forsyth County, North Carolina widow on behalf of her deceased husband recently resulted in a $6,000,000 jury verdict. The case is Roadway Express and Constance Sue Horn, Individually and as Administratrix of the Estate of Mark Joseph Horn v. Mickey Joe Hayes and The Inzone, Inc.

In the early morning hours of March 7, 2004, Mark Horn drove his Roadway Express tractor trailer northbound on US Highway 52. At the same time, defendant Mickey Hayes, who had been drinking at The Inzone sports bar for several hours prior to entering the highway, was racing another vehicle headed northbound on US Highway 52. Witnesses reported observing the racing cars traveling at speeds over 100 miles per hour. As defendant Hayes came up behind Mr. Horn's tractor trailer, he attempted to pass him in the emergency lane on the right hand side of the highway.

As defendant Hayes got along side of the tractor trailer, both vehicles were approaching a bridge, and defendant Hayes veered in front and cut the tractor trailer off at the last minute. Mr. Horn swerved and crashed through the bridge, and his tractor trailer exploded and burst into flames as it impacted the roadway below the bridge. Mr. Horn died in the crash.

Continue reading "Winston-Salem Jury Awards $6 Million Against Sports Bar & Drunk Driver" »

July 10, 2010

Four Witnesses Watched Trucker Hit Cary Motorcyclist on I-85

Cary Motorcyclist.jpgThe North Carolina State Highway Patrol reported that four (4) separate witnesses called them about the horrendous crash caused by tractor-trailer driver Michael Gray Rigsbee, 38, of Creedmore. Rigsbee struck a motorcycle ridden by Sean Christopher Newman, 38, of Cary near mile marker 220 in Henderson, North Carolina. The collision sent Newman into the median. Newman was thrown from his motorcycle, and authorities say he was killed instantly.

Continue reading "Four Witnesses Watched Trucker Hit Cary Motorcyclist on I-85" »

July 9, 2010

Cary, NC Motorcyclist Killed By Hit & Run Tractor-Trailer Driver

Cary Motorcyclist Killed by Hit & Run TT.jpgThursday evening, around 7 pm on I-85 southbound near Henderson, NC, a tractor-trailer driven by Michael Gray Rigsbee, 38, struck a motorcyclist. The impact near mile marker 220 caused Sean Christopher Newman, of Cary, to lose control of his motorcycle and crash into the median. The severe impact instantly and tragically killed Newman. Unbelievably, the truck driver did not stop after the collision.

North Carolina State Highway Patrol Troopers caught up with the criminal truck driver approximately 20 miles further down the interstate. State Troopers charged the truck driver with 2nd degree murder, careless and reckless driving, and felony hit & run. The truck driver is currently behind bars in the Vance County Jail under a $120,000 bond. Let's hope he stays there.

Continue reading "Cary, NC Motorcyclist Killed By Hit & Run Tractor-Trailer Driver" »

July 8, 2010

Defective Bicycle Sold In North Carolina Recalled By CPSC

bike - defective.jpgAs parents and students begin preparing for the coming school year, the Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC) announced a voluntary recall for a single speed bicycle sold by Campus Cruisers LLC of Boulder, Colorado.

Although the bicycle is popular among high school and college students, the CPSC has received several reports of crashes caused by the bicycle's front fork cracking and breaking. This type of front fork failure is extremely dangerous because such a break generally causes the rider to go head first onto the ground or pavement. Serious head and neck injuries can result from this type of crash. The bicycle was sold to independent bicycle dealers in North Carolina and in other states from March 2010 through May 2010. The cost of the bicycle was approximately $450. The bicycle was manufactured by a company in China.

Continue reading "Defective Bicycle Sold In North Carolina Recalled By CPSC" »

July 4, 2010

Motor Vehicle Crashes Are Top Teen Killer In North Carolina

teen driver.jpgThe leading cause of death for teenagers, ages 16 to 19, in North Carolina is motor vehicle crashes. This unpleasant statistic applies across the U.S. as well. In 2008, 9 teenagers died every day from injuries in car wrecks. More teens are killed in car crashes than in any other way. Thus far, almost all states have taken some action to try and reduce teen crashes. But the restrictions vary greatly from state to state.

In North Carolina, the state legislature implemented a graduated driver's licensing (GDL) law that restricts teenagers' right to drive. The law places more restrictions on younger drivers and eases those restrictions as the driver increases in age.

A recent study analyzing the hospitalization rates for teen drivers in North Carolina shows that the GDL system is working. Since the GDL program went into effect, the hospitalization rate for teenagers between 16 and 19 years of age has decreased. The study concluded that the decrease was due to reduced exposure to dangerous situations (e.g. several teenagers in a single vehicle) than to improved driving skills.

Continue reading "Motor Vehicle Crashes Are Top Teen Killer In North Carolina" »

June 27, 2010

"Do As I Say & Not As I Do" - Adults Are Texting & Driving Too

texting while driving adult.jpgA new national study by the Pew Research Center finds that adults are just as likely to have sent text messages while driving as teenagers, and adults are much more likely to have talked on their cell phone while driving when compared to teenagers.

While much attention has recently been focused on teen texting while driving due to several fatal crashes, it appears that adults are just as deserving of similar attention and education. The study's statistics are startling, and it makes this author think that we adults need to look in the mirror before we are so quick to judge our teenagers.

Continue reading ""Do As I Say & Not As I Do" - Adults Are Texting & Driving Too" »

June 26, 2010

Two Critically Injured In Claremont Motorcycle Crash

motorcycle crash near Claremont.jpgOn Thursday morning around 9:50 a.m., a motorcycle driven by Bruce Offenbacker, age 24, rocketed down NC Highway 10 at over 100 mph. On the back of the motorcycle was Offenbacker's 20 year old girlfriend, Jasmine Shope of Newton.

As the motorcycle approached the intersection of Bethany Church Road, Isaiah Edgell, 44, was stopped in his 1989 Mazda pickup truck facing west on NC Highway 10, waiting to make a left hand turn into the Country Market. Iredell County Trooper C.M. Trouille just happened to be sitting in his marked State Highway Patrol vehicle behind the stopped pickup truck. When the pickup truck began to make its left hand turn, the motorcycle collided with the passenger side of the pickup truck at a high speed and with substantial force. Trooper Truoille stated he never even saw the motorcycle before impact. This crash was orignally covered by the Hickory Daily Record. The following video is a good example of how this crash happened:

Continue reading "Two Critically Injured In Claremont Motorcycle Crash " »

June 12, 2010

Stopping Asheville Teens From Texting While Driving

texting-while-driving cartoon.jpgMost adults recognize the dangers associated with texting while driving, but many teens do not appear to appreciate how serious a danger it can be. The facts about distracted driving are startling:

1. Using a cell phone while driving decreases the amount of brain activity connected with driving by 37% (source: Carnegie Mellon);

2. More than 6,000 people were killed by distracted drivers in car accidents in 2008, and more than 500,000 people were seriously injured (source: NHTSA);

3. Drivers under 20 years of age are responsible for the vast majority of distraction related fatal collisions;

4. Texting drivers are five times more likely to cause a car accident serious enough to put themselves in the emergency room (source: Insurance Institute For Highway Safety); and

5. Using a cell phone while driving decreases a driver's reaction time to the same degree as having a blood alcohol concentration (BAC) of .08% - the legal limit in North Carolina (source: University of Utah).

Continue reading "Stopping Asheville Teens From Texting While Driving" »

June 3, 2010

Reckless Truck Driver Kills North Carolina DOT Worker On I-40

DOT Worker KilledI-40 Truck 1 6-2-10.jpgA distracted tractor-trailer driver ran-over and killed a North Carolina Department Of Transportation (NC DOT) worker on Tuesday morning. The crash occurred as several NC DOT workers were beginning to place Work Zone signs and cones in preparation for a lane closure on I-40 West in Duplin County. North Carolina DOT was closing the lane so that workers could perform maintenance on a bridge at the intersection of NC Highway 24 and I-40 West. This is a rural area where Interstate 40 is straight and level, and the line of sight for approaching drivers is at least one-half (1/2) mile. Click here for 27 photos taken at the scene.

ABC News Channel 11 (WBTV) out of Raleigh dispatched a helicopter and crew to the scene and obtained areal footage of the crash site:

">

Continue reading "Reckless Truck Driver Kills North Carolina DOT Worker On I-40" »