WBRZ http://www.wbrz.com/ WBRZ Local News Local News en-us Copyright 2014, WBRZ. All Rights Reserved. Feed content is not avaialble for commercial use. () () Thu, 17 Apr 2014 15:04:17 GMT Synapse CMS 10 WBRZ http://www.wbrz.com/ 144 25 New era begins with Port Allen Mayor Richard Lee http://www.wbrz.com/news/new-era-begins-with-port-allen-mayor-richard-lee/ http://www.wbrz.com/news/new-era-begins-with-port-allen-mayor-richard-lee/ Local News Thu, 17 Apr 2014 7:09:33 AM Hunter Robinson New era begins with Port Allen Mayor Richard Lee

PORT ALLEN - Richard Lee was sworn in as the new mayor of Port Allen Tuesday. He joined us on 2une In Thursday to talk about his vision for the future of the city.

Lee's swearing in signals the end of nearly a year of constant fighting and scandal among city leaders in Port Allen. He will serve the remainder of ousted mayor Deedy Slaughter's term. She was recalled in voters at the end of last year. She ran again to get her old job back but only received 33% of the vote to Lee's 58%.

The new mayor says he hopes to restore the city's damaged image.

"The main thing is unity and moving the city in a positive direction, creating an attractive atmosphere for the city and attracting businesses so we can grow and prosper," Lee said.

Check out the video for more information.



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Police exchange gunfire with group, officer injured http://www.wbrz.com/news/police-exchange-gunfire-with-group-officer-injured/ http://www.wbrz.com/news/police-exchange-gunfire-with-group-officer-injured/ Local News Wed, 16 Apr 2014 8:46:24 PM Trey Schmaltz Police exchange gunfire with group, officer injured

BATON ROUGE- A narcotics search warrant ended with an exchange of gunfire where a Baton Rouge Police officer was injured.

The incident happened on 36th at Cain Street, near the intersection of North Acadian and Gus Young.

Police said they only could release preliminary information and more is expected to be released Thursday. But, a spokesperson did say the officer was not severely injured and will be okay. The exact injury was not released.

Multiple people were detained and no one else was wanted in connection with the incident.
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Sunshine Bridge construction creates problems for drivers http://www.wbrz.com/news/sunshine-bridge-construction-creates-problems-for-drivers/ http://www.wbrz.com/news/sunshine-bridge-construction-creates-problems-for-drivers/ Local News Wed, 16 Apr 2014 7:52:47 PM Ryan Naquin Sunshine Bridge construction creates problems for drivers

DONALDSONVILLE - Structural repairs to the Sunshine Bridge are creating long commutes and no room for error for drivers.

Since February, the bridge has been down to one lane in each direction and with a 13-and-a-half feet height limit.

Tuesday, an 18-wheeler clipped the overhead metal barrier, which caused parts and cables to come crashing to the ground and stopping traffic for more than an hour.

It is a chance people who use the bridge have to live with everyday.

"I get off at three o'clock and it takes me two hours to just get home," plant worker Gregory Chatman said. "It's jammed packed. It's tight."

St. James Sheriff Willy Martin believes the $25.1 million project could lead to more accidents.

"I don't know what the purpose is for the 13'6'.' I don't know if it could be 14'6''. Obviously, I'm concerned about this happening again," Martin said. "If we have emergencies when we really need to move traffic through there, get an ambulance through there, police officers through there, we are concerned about that."

The state Department of Transportation does not have any plans to raise the height barrier.  The agency and Louisiana State Police blame the accident on the driver who went out of his route and crossed the bridge when he should not have.  Troopers cited the driver.

"We never want to close a roadway. We never want to close a bridge, but public safety is our number one concern," Trooper Jared Sandifer said. "If we are made aware of a situation where people might be placed in danger, we are going to close that road and we are going to open it in a safe manner."

Martin believes things will get worse before they get better.

Industrial plants near by will soon have turn arounds, which will put even more cars on the bridge.

"You might want to thought about your route going the Gramercy bridge. We'll do whatever we can to alleviate the problem. But it's going to be here for a while until that construction is complete," Martin said.

The construction is to be completed by late summer 2015.


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Parents, students, and faculty respond to school's abrupt closure http://www.wbrz.com/news/parents-students-and-faculty-respond-to-school-s-abrupt-closure/ http://www.wbrz.com/news/parents-students-and-faculty-respond-to-school-s-abrupt-closure/ Local News Wed, 16 Apr 2014 8:45:13 PM Brittany Weiss Parents, students, and faculty respond to school's abrupt closure

BATON ROUGE - The Career Academy Public Charter High School in Baton Rouge is closing because there is no building to accommodate the students.

The building is rented out by East Baton Rouge Parish Schools and it is asking for the building back for a new magnet middle school set to open in August.

"It's a shame we're in the predicament we're in," said Career Academy Principal Mandy LaCerte. 

Before Career Academy opened three years ago, the parish was discussing bulldozing the property at 4375 E. Brookstown Drive because it was in such disarray. The Louisiana Resource Center for Educators stepped in and invested about $650,000 of private funding and grants to fix it up. The school was in need of paint, wiring, Internet and desks. Many of the items needed were donated, including a mock hospital room by Baton Rouge General.

About 240 students currently attend Career Academy, a school that provides students with opportunities for both college and career readiness. The current senior class will be able to graduate, however about 200 students will need to find a new school next year.

"It's a month before school lets out," said one student. "We had plans to come back to Career Academy. Where are we going to go?"

Nancy Roberts, executive director of LRCE says the contract with the school district stated the district could take back the school whenever it wanted.

LRCE has been in talks with the Recovery School District to relocate all Career Academy facilities to the Capitol High campus to be closer to their Career and Technical Labs, but an agreement was not reached.

Career Academy officials, along with the LRCE, said the school will close May 23.

School administrators say they are working to place students, faculty and staff in the event a building is not secure by the end of the school year.


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Man in 20s faces 6th DWI http://www.wbrz.com/news/man-in-20s-faces-6th-dwi/ http://www.wbrz.com/news/man-in-20s-faces-6th-dwi/ Local News Wed, 16 Apr 2014 6:46:08 PM Zach Correa Man in 20s faces 6th DWI

DENHAM SPRINGS - a 29-year-old faces his 6th DWI offense after State Police arrested him for causing a head-on wreck on February 1, 2014.

State Troopers arrested Lee Edward Easley today on charges of DWI, reckless operation, negligent injuring and possession of marijuana.

Investigators said Easley was driving high on narcotics back in February when he lost control and crashed head-on with another car. Both Easley and the driver of the other car were transported to the hospital with moderate to severe injuries.

A toxicology report following the head-on collision determined Easley was high on several drugs. He was booked into the Livingston Parish Jail earlier today.


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16-year-old triple murder suspect moved to adult jail http://www.wbrz.com/news/16-year-old-triple-murder-suspect-moved-to-adult-jail/ http://www.wbrz.com/news/16-year-old-triple-murder-suspect-moved-to-adult-jail/ Local News Wed, 16 Apr 2014 3:28:24 PM Trey Schmaltz 16-year-old triple murder suspect moved to adult jail

BATON ROUGE- Sheriff's deputies escorted a 16-year-old accused triple murderer into the adult prison Wednesday afternoon.

Inside, Nakeydran Williams will await trial for a shooting in Baker nearly three weeks ago where four other teenagers were shot.  Three died in the incident and a fourth survived.

For the shooting, Williams is being tried as an adult for three counts of murder and one count attempted murder, a sheriff's office spokesperson said. 

"This is a senseless tragedy," said Sheriff Sid Gautreaux. "Three young lives lost, and countless others ruined. If convicted, this young man could spend his life behind bars."

The tragedy sparked a community-wide discussion on violence. 

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Toddlers make the most bogus 911 calls http://www.wbrz.com/news/toddlers-make-the-most-bogus-911-calls/ http://www.wbrz.com/news/toddlers-make-the-most-bogus-911-calls/ Local News Wed, 16 Apr 2014 4:34:37 PM Rebecca Buchanan Toddlers make the most bogus 911 calls

PORT ALLEN - Emergency dispatchers say toddlers are the biggest culprits of bogus 911 calls.

At the West Baton Rouge Dispatch Center, dispatchers say more than half of the calls they get are non emergency calls from kids with deactivated cell phones. All cell phones can make emergency calls, even when they're deactivated.

The call cannot be returned, and locating the phone is more difficult. Often, dispatchers only have the location of the tower where the phone call was transmitted. This makes it difficult for dispatchers and responders to find the caller.

"When you're working other calls that are valid calls and then this continues to happen like the other day with those 41 calls in a row and we had several emergencies working. It gets frustrating because you want to get it stopped but then it's finding out where it's coming from. That takes a little process," says Brian Doiron, WBR Dispatch Coordinator.

The West Baton Rouge Sheriff's Office asks parents to take the batteries out of old cell phones, if they are allowing kids to play with them.

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Painful lesson learned after drive-by shooting http://www.wbrz.com/news/painful-lesson-learned-after-drive-by-shooting/ http://www.wbrz.com/news/painful-lesson-learned-after-drive-by-shooting/ Local News Wed, 16 Apr 2014 3:45:56 PM Rob Krieger Painful lesson learned after drive-by shooting

BATON ROUGE- An 18-year old is learning a painful lesson after he was injured during a drive-by shooting last night.

It happened on Avis Ave, near Staring Lane, where police say someone opened fire from a car, hitting three people. One man was seriously injured.

Darrell Oby's son was shot in the leg while trying to escape the bullets. He said his son was in the wrong place at the wrong time, but also hanging out with the wrong people.

"Ain't nothing wrong with being cool with whoever you're cool with, but if they're living a certain type of lifestyle, you just don't know, you could be with them, innocent, doing nothing, an innocent situation, and you never know what's gonna happen," said Oby.

Now Oby hopes his son will let the bullet be a reminder in life, helping him to make smarter choices.

"I think he learned, and some of the things I've already told him about being in these situations I think he got a first hand taste of that," said Oby.

Police have not released a motive or possible suspect. If you have information that could help contact BRPD.

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Career Academy closing, parent meeting tonight http://www.wbrz.com/news/career-academy-closing-parent-meeting-tonight/ http://www.wbrz.com/news/career-academy-closing-parent-meeting-tonight/ Local News Wed, 16 Apr 2014 3:39:39 PM Russell Jones Career Academy closing, parent meeting tonight

BATON ROUGE - Administrators for the Career Academy Charter High School in Baton Rouge announced they would close at the end of May because they had to move facilities and there were no buildings to house their 243 students.

A spokesperson for the charter school said the EBR Parish School System needed the Brookstown campus for a new middle school opening in August. Career Academy had been in talks to relocate to the Capitol High School campus, but said Wednesday an agreement couldn't be reached with the Recovery School District.

"The circumstances of our closing are tragic. The children are not responsible for this failure. In the future I hope that local and state organizations can work together to provide more opportunities to help students succeed," said Nancy Roberts, Executive Director of the school's governing board.

Administrators said Career Academy students will be able to enroll in other EBR schools, including charter schools, even if deadlines for enrollment have passed.

The school planned a parents' meeting for 6:30 p.m. Wednesday at the Louisiana Resource Center for Educators on 5550 Florida Blvd.


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Police connect dots on murder, theft http://www.wbrz.com/news/police-connect-dots-on-murder-theft/ http://www.wbrz.com/news/police-connect-dots-on-murder-theft/ Local News Wed, 16 Apr 2014 3:08:56 PM Jason Newton Police connect dots on murder, theft

PLAQUEMINE, La. - Deputies are connecting the dots concerning a theft and a murder in Iberville Parish.

Avery Hastings, 42, was found dead in January after being shot several times, his body dumped in a sugar cane field in Rosedale, near Grosse Tete. Mark Roy, his work supervisor, was arrested last night. Now there's suspicion that his murder may be part of an attempt to cover-up a theft.

Both Roy and Hastings were contract workers at Dow Chemical in Plaquemine.

The Iberville Parish Sheriff's Office said Roy is a main suspect in a theft in January at Dow, where an excavator was taken from the property."

The excavator is valued at over a $100,000 and detectives suspect both men were involved in the theft.

"Yes, we think they're connected," said Maj. Ronnie Hebert, with the Iberville Sheriff's Office. "In fact we know it's connected."

The investigation led to Roy being arrested at his home in Breaux Bridge. The excavator was also found in St. Martin Parish. Deputies said the investigation is far from complete.

"In the scheme of things, there was more than one person involved in the theft of this equipment," Hebert said.

Deputies said they expect to make more arrests in the case.

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Schools remain gun-free after weapons bill pulled http://www.wbrz.com/news/schools-remain-gun-free-after-weapons-bill-pulled/ http://www.wbrz.com/news/schools-remain-gun-free-after-weapons-bill-pulled/ Local News Wed, 16 Apr 2014 12:03:13 PM Schools remain gun-free after weapons bill pulled

BATON ROUGE- A Chalmette lawmaker shelved his proposal to let school employees who have a concealed handgun permit to go to work armed.

Rep. Ray Garofalo pulled his bill Wednesday after getting negative feedback from the House criminal justice committee.

Garofalo said he wanted to send a message that violent criminals who come to schools will meet armed resistance. But members of the committee said the bill was not a solution to violence at schools and would only add new risks.

Garofalo said he'll try to develop a compromise.

Also in committee, lawmakers stalled a proposal by New Orleans Rep. Austin Badon that would have required people to go through training before purchasing a gun.

Committee members voted 6-6 on the bill, keeping it from advancing to the House floor.

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Man arrested in stabbing of 3-month-old http://www.wbrz.com/news/man-arrested-in-stabbing-of-3-month-old/ http://www.wbrz.com/news/man-arrested-in-stabbing-of-3-month-old/ Local News Wed, 16 Apr 2014 9:57:24 AM Kris Kreutz Man arrested in stabbing of 3-month-old

BATON ROUGE - Police arrested a Baton Rouge man on charges of stabbing his 3-month-old child and beating the child's mother.

Jason Jarreau is facing battery, domestic abuse, and cruelty to juveniles charges.

Investigators say the mother told them that Jarreau struck her while she was holding the baby to keep her from leaving the house Tuesday. She says Jarreau also had a long sword-like object he was using to poke her in the stomach and while doing so, stabbed the baby in the head near the right eye.

Police say they were able to collect the alleged weapon, and found blood on Jarreau's clothing consistent with the mother's story.

Authorities booked Jarreau into the East Baton Rouge Parish Prison early Wednesday.

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Investigators: Shooting a family affair http://www.wbrz.com/news/investigators-shooting-a-family-affair/ http://www.wbrz.com/news/investigators-shooting-a-family-affair/ Local News Wed, 16 Apr 2014 7:06:20 AM Hunter Robinson Investigators: Shooting a family affair

BATON ROUGE - An altercation between family members led to a shooting in Baton Rouge Tuesday night.

Investigators say 53-year-old Jeremy Gray was shot and killed by his stepbrother on Dotson Ave. off Scenic Hwy. just after 10:00 p.m. last night. They haven't determined what caused the shooting, but believe it could have happened in self-defense. The alleged shooter called 911 and remained on-scene until deputies arrived.

The shooting is still under investigation.

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Electrical problem blamed for smoke at school http://www.wbrz.com/news/electrical-problem-blamed-for-smoke-at-school/ http://www.wbrz.com/news/electrical-problem-blamed-for-smoke-at-school/ Local News Wed, 16 Apr 2014 8:47:05 AM Russell Jones Electrical problem blamed for smoke at school

BATON ROUGE - Firefighters said an electrical problem caused smoke at Shenandoah Elementary Wednesday morning, which led to an evacuation of the school.

A St. George Fire Department spokesperson said just after 9 a.m. the school reported smoke had appeared in one of their buildings. When firefighters arrived they said they found a ceiling tile smoldering in one of the classrooms, and quickly extinguished it.

Firefighters said the students and staff were evacuated as a precaution, and there were no injuries.

School maintenance fixed the problem and students were able to go back inside just after 10 a.m.


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Driver ejected, dies in crash in WBR http://www.wbrz.com/news/driver-ejected-dies-in-crash-in-wbr/ http://www.wbrz.com/news/driver-ejected-dies-in-crash-in-wbr/ Local News Wed, 16 Apr 2014 7:57:09 AM Hunter Robinson Driver ejected, dies in crash in WBR

Erwinville - Investigators say an Erwinville man was not wearing his seat belt during a single car crash Wednesday morning in West Baton Rouge Parish.

56-year-old Rurid L. James died when he was ejected during the accident on LA Hwy. 620 east of LA Hwy. 413. According to Louisiana Sate Police, he drove the car off the roadway into a ditch and hit a culvert, causing the vehicle to overturn. It is unknown why he drove into the ditch and investigators are awaiting the results of a toxicology report.

The crash is still under investigation.

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All lanes open on I-12 following 18-wheeler accident http://www.wbrz.com/news/all-lanes-open-on-i-12-following-18-wheeler-accident/ http://www.wbrz.com/news/all-lanes-open-on-i-12-following-18-wheeler-accident/ Local News Wed, 16 Apr 2014 4:23:56 AM Hunter Robinson All lanes open on I-12 following 18-wheeler accident

WALKER- All lanes are now open at I-12 West after it was closed at Satsuma following an 18-wheeler accident Wednesday morning.

State Police say the big rig ran off the road and suggest you use US 190 as an alternate route. If you're traveling westbound on I-12, you should exit at LA-43 (Albany exit).


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One dead, multiple shot at numerous crime scenes Tuesday night http://www.wbrz.com/news/one-dead-multiple-shot-at-numerous-crime-scenes-tuesday-night/ http://www.wbrz.com/news/one-dead-multiple-shot-at-numerous-crime-scenes-tuesday-night/ Local News Tue, 15 Apr 2014 8:46:29 PM Trey Schmaltz One dead, multiple shot at numerous crime scenes Tuesday night

BATON ROUGE- One person was shot dead and at least three others wounded by bullets in a series of shootings late Tuesday evening.

First, Baton Rouge Police were called to two shooting scenes involving three people off Staring Lane. One person was hit on Avis Avenue. A block away, two people were shot on Leonard. At one of the scenes, police had a house roped off with crime scene tape and were moving people away from the area.

Not long after city police officers were dispatched, sheriff's deputies responded to a shooting on Dotson, off Scenic. The sheriff said one person was shot and killed and the shooter was in custody. Investigators are still trying to figure out what brought about the shooting. Sources said the person who was killed was related to the shooter.

Further details about both shootings will likely be released overnight or Wednesday morning. Watch WBRZ's 2une In at 5 a.m. and check back for updates.
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Lee takes reigns of Port Allen http://www.wbrz.com/news/lee-takes-reigns-of-port-allen/ http://www.wbrz.com/news/lee-takes-reigns-of-port-allen/ Local News Tue, 15 Apr 2014 9:52:10 PM Trey Schmaltz Lee takes reigns of Port Allen

PORT ALLEN- The city's newest mayor was sworn in Tuesday evening.

Richard Lee was elected in a special election earlier this month to fill Deedy Slaughter's term after she was recalled at the end of 2013. Slaughter ran for the seat and lost to Lee.

Lee took the oath in front of a packed crowd at city hall. He said he plans to help restore the city's damaged image.

"The main thing is unity and moving the city in a positive direction, creating an attractive atmosphere for the city and attracting businesses so we can grow and prosper," Lee said.
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Man booked for January killing http://www.wbrz.com/news/man-booked-for-january-killing/ http://www.wbrz.com/news/man-booked-for-january-killing/ Local News Tue, 15 Apr 2014 9:47:28 PM Trey Schmaltz Man booked for January killing

PLAQUEMINE- Iberville Parish Sheriff's deputies transferred a man into their jail Tuesday night and charged him with the murder of a man whose body was found in a sugar cane field earlier this year.

Mark Roy, 44, was arrested near Lafayette earlier in the day. He is charged with second degree murder and principal to felony theft.

Investigators said Roy killed Avery Hastings, 42, in January. Hastings' body was found in the field off Sidney Road, near Rosedale.

Previous reports suggested Hastings was murdered and his body was dumped and left for about a week before it was discovered.

More information could be released Wednesday.
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Man accused of hiring hit on murder trial witnesses http://www.wbrz.com/news/man-accused-of-hiring-hit-on-murder-trial-witnesses/ http://www.wbrz.com/news/man-accused-of-hiring-hit-on-murder-trial-witnesses/ Local News Tue, 15 Apr 2014 8:22:02 PM Ryan Naquin Man accused of hiring hit on murder trial witnesses

BATON ROUGE - Authorities charged a man for agreeing to be a hit man for his friend who is behind bars awaiting a murder trial, arrest documents show.

Christopher Smith, 22, was arrested by Baton Rouge Police recently.  Police say Smith was involved in a murder for hire plot with his friend Erick Scott.

Scott is implicated in two separate murder investigations: the October 2011 killing of Justice Thompson and the February 2012 killing Kevin Johnson.  With Scott's trial looming, investigators say Scott hired Smith to kill witnesses.

"Their life is on the line and this is business for them," East Baton Rouge District Attorney Hillar Moore said. "I don't think that you are ever going to stop these issues but just making them understand that we are there that we are out here listening."

According to records obtained by WBRZ News 2, Scott and Smith used monitored cell phones and a written message to outline what they planned to do.  Officers listened to conversations where smith told his accused hit man to harm three female witnesses, the report says.  Police also recovered a torn letter Scott wrote asking Smith to "get [the job] done before my court date".

Investigators also say Scott wrote,"I need the job done because they tryna [sic] get me on some g - expletive" ... and "don't let nobody see this letter."  But, officers say they found the letter in Smith's trash.

Smith and Scott previously had a conversation about the letter, according to police. Scott told Smith he was sending a letter under the name "B. Johnson" titled "Brother's Keeper," the report says.

Police say the letter they found matched the names talked about in the friends' conversation.

Smith is recorded saying he knows about the letter and promised Scott "everything gon' be taken care of," the report says.

Smith is charged with conspiracy to commit first degree murder.  Scott will be charged with solicitation for murder.

The witnesses who were in harm's way have been notified, according to Moore.


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