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Source: MedleyStory

Gastonia man needed stitches after hit with neighbor's machete

A Gastonia man has gashes in his head and needed stitches after he said his next door neighbor attacked him with a machete two days ago.

Chad Morgan said the man, Walter Preslar, grabbed him, pulled him into his apartment then attacked him.

"I believe he was dragging me in there to kill me. I really believe that," said Morgan. He said he's still shocked his neighbor attacked him with a machete Wednesday night.

“This was just totally unprovoked," said Morgan.

Morgan said his aunt died and he was on the phone Wednesday making arrangements with relatives. He said he was pacing in front of Preslar's apartment right next door.

"[He] started raising cane because he thought I was looking through his window," Morgan told Channel 9.

The two men then had an argument at Preslar's front door and witnesses told police that Preslar pulled Morgan inside.

"When he originally hit me, I went to my knees. When I realized he was dragging me into his house, I got up," said Morgan.

Preslar told Channel 9 that Morgan came into his apartment and he needed the machete for self-defense.

“I grabbed this and said, ‘Get out of here,’" said Preslar.

Preslar said he hit Morgan in the head with the handle.

"I just took the hatchet like this and bopped him on the head, made him leave me alone," Preslar said.

Both men fought until neighbors broke it up and Morgan needed four stitches in his head.

Police charged Preslar with assault inflicting serious injury. He is out on bond and the two men are living next door to each other again.

"I am moving out as soon as I can," Morgan told Channel 9.

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Published: Fri, 31 Oct 2014 17:17:24 -0400

Teacher accused of using hot sauce to discipline autistic student

A mother is calling for a teacher to be fired after the way she said her son was disciplined.
The mother told Channel 9 a teacher used hot sauce on her son to prevent him from touching his nose in class.
The accused teacher used to work at Weddington Hills Elementary in Concord but is now at another school.
The boy's mom is angry over what happened to her son and she wants more action taken.

"She took advantage of him, and she needs to be held accountable," Cindy Joseph said.
She calls the incident that happened earlier this month as outrageous behavior.
Her 11-year-old son DJ has autism and can't speak so while Joseph said he couldn't tell her about what happened in class on Oct. 7.
But the principal caught the teacher putting hot sauce on DJ.
"She was reported of putting hot sauce on DJ's fingers because he kept digging in his nose," Joseph said.
She didn’t believe it at first but the principal told her they found the bottle of hot sauce in the classroom.

"I don't think she should be allowed to be teaching period, with any kids, whether they have a disability or no disability and she should not be allowed to have a license," Joseph said.

School officials wouldn't talk about any specific incident but confirmed the teacher now works at Royal Oaks Elementary.
They also confirmed the teacher was suspended on Oct. 8 -- the day after the alleged incident.
Joseph is glad her son is OK but said the school district shouldn't take any more chances.

"I feel in my heart she doesn't need to teach period,” Joseph said. “She needs to be held accountable for her actions."

Now, she wants to file abuse charges against the teacher.

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Published: Fri, 31 Oct 2014 17:16:48 -0400

Rivera: Hardy should be allowed to play if trial pushed back

Carolina Panthers Head Coach Ron Rivera addressed reports Friday that defensive end Greg Hardy's appeal won't be heard until after the season.

Hardy appealed for a jury trial after a judge convicted him of assaulting his girlfriend.

That trial is set for Nov. 17, but Channel 9 reported in September there is a good chance it would be pushed back because of the backlog in the courts.

After a series of domestic violence cases in the NFL, Hardy put himself on the commissioner's exempt list after playing in Week 1. That decision removed him from the team's active roster.

Rivera was asked Friday if Hardy should play if his trial is pushed back.

Past coverage:

He explained that based on the NFL’s new domestic violence rules, Hardy would have already served the 6-game suspension by Nov. 17.

“Do you think he should be allowed back at that point?” a reporter asked Rivera.

“My personal opinion, yes I would like to, but you know again I don't set policy,” Rivera said.

“Why do you think he should be allowed to?” a reporter asked.

“Well just because he's been out and you know if things would have transpired and gone a certain way then his availability might be now so we'll see. Again I don't set the policy,” Rivera said.

Channel 9 checked with the DA’s office and they said they haven't made an official decision on whether to postpone Hardy's trial.

Signup for breaking news alert to get the news if Hardy’s trial is pushed back.

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Published: Fri, 31 Oct 2014 17:16:35 -0400

Halftime dedication set for coach Mo Collins

West Charlotte High School will honor beloved football coach Mo Collins, who was a former Oakland Raiders lineman, Friday night.

ARTCILE: Students, teachers remember West Charlotte head coach
Collins died suddenly last weekend.
There will be a special ceremony for Collins during halftime at the football game.

In his playing career, Collins won an NCAA national championship with the University of Florida and he was a starter for the Raiders in a Super Bowl.

But most recently, made an impact in Charlotte where he was promoted from assistant to head coach of the West Charlotte Lions in February.
Watch Eyewitness News at 10 and 11 p.m. for complete coverage of the dedication.

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Published: Fri, 31 Oct 2014 16:53:54 -0400

4th Meck Co. sheriff in past 30 years to be elected next week

There’s about to be a new sheriff in town.

Since 1982 Mecklenburg County has had only three sheriffs. This year, with Chipp Bailey retiring from office, either Democrat Irwin Carmichael or Republican Chris Hailey will become the fourth.

Hailey is a former North Carolina state trooper who also headed CPCC's continuing education training programs for law enforcement officers. Carmichael owns a string of martial arts schools and said his 28 years as an unpaid reserve officer with the Sheriff’s office gives him an advantage.

"I've been able to work in the different areas. I've been able to work in arrest processing. I've been able to work in the courthouse," Carmichael said.

Carmichael has the endorsement of the current sheriff and said he wants to keep most of the programs of Chipp Bailey in place. His opponent, Hailey, has a different take.

"There's change that needs to be made here in Mecklenburg County," Hailey said. He's campaigning on a plan to create new satellite sheriff's offices with facilities for temporarily housing arrestees. Hailey said it will speed up arrest processing which ties up officers for too long.

"If it's gonna take anywhere from two to four to six hours to process an arrestee and to get back into your community, that's a problem," Hailey said.

Carmichael disagrees with Hailey's plan.

"His vision is going to decentralize the Sheriff's office. It's not the right time for that," Carmichael said.

Neither candidate has ever led an organization the size of the Sheriff's office -- with more than 1,000 employees and a $100 million budget. Both are trying to convince voters they can.

"For the last 28 years I've been accumulating the skills to hold this office," Carmichael said.

Asked if he can win as a Republican in a county dominated by Democratic voters, Hailey said, "Absolutely. We're going to win this race."

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Published: Fri, 31 Oct 2014 16:50:58 -0400

Experts say women voters could decide NC Senate battle

The Senate race between Kay Hagan and Thom Tillis has been one of the most heated in the country this election season.

With just four days left, some political analysts believe its women voters who could decide the winner.

Channel 9 anchor Blair Miller broke down what’s at stake and why women are key to the candidates.

Hagan brought Hillary Clinton to Charlotte last weekend. Thom Tillis’ wife Susan is also busy on the campaign trail.

A new poll this week shows women voters support Hagan over Tillis -- an 18 percent lead.


Not much change from a poll two months ago where Hagan had a 19 percent lead with women.

Stephanie Schriock is the president of Emily's List, a D.C.-based political action committee focused on getting women elected.

“It is clear that women will decide who wins this election,” said Schriock.

Schriock said some women voters are frustrated with Tillis because of his work on education or equal pay.

“Campaigns are about records and his particularly when it relates to the families of North Carolina has not been good,” Schriock said.

WSOC-TV Senate Showdown - Part 1

WSOC-TV Senate Showdown - Part 2

But on the Republican side, national party leaders said they are gaining ground.

“I think people of North Carolina know how important their state is,” said Republican National Committee Chairman Reince Priebus.

Priebus said Tillis is gaining momentum with women voters and that it’s Hagan who is struggling.

“I think Kay Hagan's problem is that she's supported policies that women aren't excited about and we're doing better with women. I think it's obviously important that we do that,” Priebus said.

But in a race that's been full of harsh TV ads many voters are just ready for it all to be over.

This week's poll also shows this race still very tight, but the advantage goes to Hagan with a lead of 4 percentage points.  

Despite that, national GOP leaders are predicting Tillis will come out on top by 2 points.

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Published: Fri, 31 Oct 2014 16:39:17 -0400

Monroe man accused of stealing $32K in food stamp benefits

A Union County man is facing fraud charges after investigators said he stole tens of thousands of dollars in food stamp benefits.

Deputies arrested Victor Ramos Thursday after they said DSS workers tipped them off to possible criminal activity. Investigators said Ramos first applied for food and nutrition services at Union County DSS in 2010, and made several false statements on his application.

"He didn't inform DSS that his wife was actually employed, and the number of children that were living in the home," said Capt. Ronnie Whitaker.

Whitaker said Ramos also claimed he was unemployed when he actually ran a denture and veneer business, Art Ceramic Dental Clinic, out of his Monroe home.

"You have someone that's kind of double dipping, so to speak. He's earning an income and there's money coming into his home, and yet he's still getting these benefits from social services. That's taxpayers' dollars," Whitaker said.

Investigators said Ramos collected more than $32,000 in food stamp benefits before anonymous tips to DSS resulted in employees there asking for new documentation.

Detectives said Ramos then suddenly canceled his application, which raised a red flag and launched a criminal investigation.

Channel 9 went to Ramos' home Friday seeking comment, but no one answered the door. Neighbors said they were shocked by news of his arrest, calling Ramos a family man.

"They're good people. His daughter and my little sister play together, and his wife just had a baby," said Kione Lyles.

Ramos was released from the Union County Jail on a $10,000 bond.

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Published: Fri, 31 Oct 2014 16:25:34 -0400

Retailers, websites declare ‘Black Friday’ a month early

Stores and websites are declaring a new Black Friday moving up the traditional kickoff to holiday shopping a month early.
Competition is driving Walmart, Amazon and a handful of others to drop their prices Saturday.
Eyewitness News reporter Ken Lemon talked to some excited shoppers, while others aren't ready to give in this early.
Economists said Walmart can increase its holiday sales by $600 billion by offering Black Friday deals a month early.

Operators of the nation’s largest retailer said as soon and they put away the Halloween items, they will roll back prices on more than 20,000 items.

They are trying to stay ahead of the growing holiday competition.

"They got to make money somehow,” said Robert Jenkins, a shopper. “I guess they are starting early."

Some shoppers are happy about big price breaks on TVs and video gaming systems.

"Everybody wants to get everything done before the holidays get here,” Jenkins said. “I guess they will have a little extra time."

"Everybody's money is tight,” said Elizabeth Messer, a shopper. “To offer discount prices from here on out to Christmas, it's wonderful.

Other shoppers said they are familiar with the Black Friday crunch and they won't miss the scores of shoppers fighting for door buster deals.

"I'm a fan of the deals,” Leticha Chandler said. “I'm not a fan of the long lines."

The owner of Jenn's Sugarlicious Bakery said it should drive more traffic into her store near the Walmart.

Her business increases by 50 percent when Walmart has special discounts.

"I think when you are shopping you want to eat something sweet and it will put you in the spirit," said owner Jennifer Barnes.

The deals are not just in the store. Walmart has also extended discounts online and so has Amazon and that is why Walmart is starting early this year.

Office Max and Office Depot are also offering deals starting Saturday.

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Published: Fri, 31 Oct 2014 16:19:56 -0400

Latest social media reports on the Virgin Galactic SpaceShipTwo crash

A Virgin Galactic space tourism rocket exploded after taking off on a test flight in Southern California's Mojave Desert, a witness said Friday.

At least one was dead and another was injured, California Highway Patrol said. The SpaceShipTwo rocket is typically flown by a crew of two pilots and has been under development at Mojave Air and Space Port in the desert northeast of Los Angeles.

>>Photos: Crash of SpaceShipTwo

Below are the latest updates on the crash from social media. Check back frequently for updates.

Published: Fri, 31 Oct 2014 15:16:12 -0400

Gas falling under $3 nationwide: What to know

For the first time in nearly four years, the national average for a gallon of gas is at $3.
AAA expects prices to fall below the benchmark soon.
It hasn’t been there since December 2010.
Prices fell 33 cents this month, thanks to falling oil prices.
Channel 9 just checked on prices in the Charlotte area.
Charlotte drivers are paying about $2.85 per gallon of regular gas.
Statewide, drivers are paying $2.92 per gallon.
South Carolina drivers are paying one of the lowest averages in the nation at $2.74.
You can find the cheapest gas prices in your neighborhood by clicking here.

Here are a few things to know about cheap gas:

  • Crude prices came off the boil. Oil fell from $107 a barrel in June to near $81 because there's a lot of supply and weak demand. U.S. output has increased 70 percent since 2008, and supplies from Iraq and Canada have also increased. At the same time, demand is weaker than expected because of a sluggish global economy.

  • In the past, a stronger economy in the U.S., the world's biggest consumer of oil and gasoline, typically meant rising fuel demand. No longer. Americans are driving more efficient vehicles and our driving habits are changing. Michael Sivak of the University of Michigan Transportation Research Institute calculates that the number of miles travelled per household and gallons of fuel consumed per household peaked in 2004.

  • The drop from last year's average of $3.51 per gallon will save the typical U.S. household about $50 a month.

  • The drop will save the U.S. economy $187 million a day, and also boost the profits of shippers, airlines, and any company that sends employees out on sales calls or for deliveries.

  • It will take an extra 1.5 years to make purchasing a higher-priced, better-mileage Toyota Prius instead of a Toyota Corolla pay off.

  • New York's average of $3.37 is the highest in the continental U.S. South Carolina and Tennessee are the lowest, with an average of $2.75.

  • Politicians are either going to take the credit for lower gasoline prices or blame the other party for not helping them fall further. Don't listen. There are small things politicians can do over long time horizons, like implement fuel economy standards or ease drilling regulations, but the decline in prices is mainly due to market forces.
  • Gasoline is cheaper than milk again. In September the national average price of milk was $3.73 per gallon. The annual average for milk is on track to be more expensive than the annual average for gasoline for the first time since 2011. The gap is even bigger for some bottled water lovers. A case of a dozen 1.5 liter bottles of Evian on costs $38.99, which makes for a price per gallon of $8.20.

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Published: Fri, 31 Oct 2014 12:46:16 -0400

MONDAY: 9 Investigates: Texas schools targeting NC teachers

Your child's favorite teacher may be on his or her way out of Charlotte.

“I’m doing the same job I was doing in Carolina. I'm just being appreciated here more in Texas,” on teacher told Eyewitness News.

Teachers are leaving North Carolina over something you may be taking for granted.

“(I’m) 38-years-old. I shouldn't have to call my mom asking for grocery money,” said another teacher.

Channel Nine's Paige Hansen traveled to Texas to investigate the job offers our teachers couldn't turn down.

She uncovers why our school system may soon lose even more quality teachers.

See her full report at 5 p.m. Monday on WSOC-TV.

Read our past 9 Investigates:

Published: Fri, 31 Oct 2014 12:37:42 -0400

Reports: Google fined $2,000 for catching woman's cleavage in Street View

Google's Street View is one of the key features that separated it from other map services. Detailed pictures of how streets actually look helped users get a feel for a place.

But sometimes those pictures get a little too personal.

Gizmodo reports Google had to pay a $2,000 fine after a Street View camera captured a woman's cleavage. The woman was sitting outside her door when the picture was taken. 

She originally claimed that the photo triggered a bout of depression, Gizmodo reports. A judge disagreed and gave Google a relatively light sentence of $2,250 Canadian dollars, which translates to about $2,000 U.S. dollars.

Read Gizmodo's full story and see the offending photo.

Published: Fri, 31 Oct 2014 11:06:15 -0400

Fear of spiders surgically removed from man's brain

A 44-year-old business man had his lifelong fear of spiders abolished overnight.

The bad news?

The cure was simply an unanticipated side effect after having part of his brain surgically removed.

The magazine New Scientist released the story on Halloween citing a medical journal report that was originally published in January by Nick Medford at the Brighton and Sussex Medical School in the United Kingdom.

According to the New Scientist article, the man started having seizures and brain scans showed abnormalities in his left amygdala.

The amygdala is the center for emotions, emotional behavior, and motivation, according to the University of Texas Medical School at Houston.

It controls fear responses, the secretion of hormones, arousal and the formation of emotional memories.

Doctors determined it was necessary to remove the damaged are of the man’s left amygdala.

According to New Scientist, after successful surgery, the man soon noticed a “ ‘stomach-lurching’ aversion to music – which was particularly noticeable when he heard the song accompanying a certain TV commercial – but he also discovered he was no longer afraid of spiders.”

The report goes on to state that the man eventually got over his aversion to music, but that his arachnophobia never returned. He is able to touch and observe spiders at close range and ‘actually finds them fascinating.’

The man has reported no other changes to fears or anxieties. For example, he has the same level of anxiety about public speaking post surgery. 

Published: Fri, 31 Oct 2014 10:30:35 -0400

Man arrested wearing 'Go Directly To Jail' Monopoly shirt

In the world of ironic mugshot photos, this one takes the cake.

According to police reports, Micah David Dailey, 20, of Cape Coral, Florida was arrested on October 28 for marijuana and drug equipment possession.

It should come as no surprise  since he was appropriately dressed for the occasion, wearing a green T-shirt with the Monopoly board game phrase 'Go Directly to Jail.' Just like in the game, he was also not allowed to pass "Go" and collect $200. 

He's facing one misdemeanor and one felony charge.

Published: Fri, 31 Oct 2014 09:52:24 -0400

Halloween freebies! Where you can score free stuff

In honor of Halloween, many companies are giving away free stuff on Friday.

The following is a list of companies offering freebies, with restrictions. It’s important to note that most of the offers are based on location, so to be sure it’s suggested to call ahead before making a special trip. 

  • Chipotle: Show up in costume at any participating Chipotle after 5pm and get a burrito for only $3.
  • Outback Steakhouse: Bring the kids in their costumes and they'll eat free as long as you buy one entree.
  • Build-A-Bear: Free sweet treats for kids, no purchase necessary.
  • Petco: Get a pound of free dog treats from the Treat Bar through today with a $10 purchase and this coupon.
  • Wendy's: You can purchase a Halloween Frosty coupon book for $1 and get coupons for free Frosty's. Proceeds go to the Dave Thomas Foundation for Adoption.
  • Sonic: Corn dogs or only 50 cents each all day long.1
  • IHOP: Kids can create their own "scary face" pancake for free.
  • Jamba Juice: From 2-7pm, kids can get a free smoothie.
  • Bass Pro Shops: Get a free 4x6 Halloween photo between 5-8pm Friday, or Noon-5pm Saturday and Sunday. Other free kids events will be happening from 4-8pm as well.
  • Boston Market: Free kid's meal with the purchase of any regular meal and this coupon.
  • Olive Garden: Free kid's meal with the purchase of an adult entree and this coupon.
  • Carraba's Italian Grill: Free kid's meal with the purchase of an adult entree.
  • Sbarro: Kids in costume get a free slice of cheese or pepperoni pizza.
  • Starbucks: Get a Franken Frappucino or any other grande Frappucino for only $3 after 2pm.
  • Krispy Kreme: Show up in costume and you can pick a free doughnut of your choice, including the special edition Ghostbusters doughnuts.
  • AAA Holiday Safe Ride Program: Members and nonmembers in Arizona, Florida, Georgia, Tennessee, Nevada, Utah, Northwest Ohio, Northern California, and some parts of Virginia can call their closest AAA branch for a free ride and tow all weekend long. Be safe and avoid driving intoxicated this weekend.

Published: Fri, 31 Oct 2014 09:42:04 -0400

Police: Student sexually assaulted at Winthrop University

A woman's screams at 2 a.m. may have saved her life.

Police said a 19-year-old student at Winthrop University was sexually assaulted when she was walking home to her dorm early Friday.

The student was walking from Richardson Hall to Margaret Nance Hall when she heard a noise behind her, police said. She was approached in an alley behind her dorm.

Winthrop University Police Chief Frank Zebedis said the woman had never seen the suspect before.

"He presented what she thought was a weapon, approached her, grabbed her and guided her to an isolated area where the assault took place," Zebedis said.

The area where the student was walking was well lit and considered safe, police said.

The victim screamed, and the noise alerted several students inside the dorm right where it was happening. They called 911. Two Winthrop police officers on patrol were there in only seconds.

When officers arrived, they saw 24-year-old John Roddey Jr. walking away from the scene. He was stopped and later arrested.

EXCLUSIVE VIDEO: Police arrest man after sex assault on Winthrop campus

On Friday, he stood in court with his father, who broke down in tears after hearing the charges against his son.

"I'm just trying to understand it all," said John Roddey Sr.

Police wouldn't discuss what weapon Roddey might have used to threaten the victim. Zebedis said Roddey drove to the campus and parked before the attack, but that the car was not part of the crime.

He is not a student at Winthrop, but attends classes at York Technical College in Rock Hill.

Winthrop students reacted with shock when Channel 9 told them of the assault. A campus-wide alert did not go out about the incident, either by email of mobile app.

That was a concern for freshman Taylor Smith.

“They usually will give us text alerts like saying something happened, but I didn't get anything," she said.

Police said such an alert was unnecessary because the arrest happened so quickly, there was no danger to students or anyone on campus.

Carolyn Wilkerson said such an incident is extremely rare, but still unnerving.

"I always feel safe. I mean they tell us that would never happen," she said.

The victim will be OK physically, police said. She told them the suspect assaulted her and took pictures of her during the crime.

She was taken to Piedmont Medical Center to be treated.

In court, Roddey told the judge he had never been arrested. A check of his background revealed no criminal record.

Roddey asked for a public defender. His father left the courtroom in tears, escorted by a Rock Hill police officer.

Roddey could face a maximum of 30 years in prison for first-degree criminal sexual conduct and 30 years on the kidnapping charge.

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Published: Fri, 31 Oct 2014 09:07:58 -0400

Father’s birthday gift to teen daughter makes her instantly wealthy

This will be one birthday Deisi Ocampo will never forget.

That’s because her father gave her two instant scratch-off lottery tickets for her 19th birthday. While one was not a winner, on the second ticket, Ocampo hit the jackpot.

The lottery ticket was worth $4 million.

Ocampo told “Good Morning America” that she was shaking and sweating when she realized how much she had won.

Still, the level-headed young woman is being practical about her winnings. She says she will keep her job and share the money with her father, so their family can buy a new home. She also wants to use some of the winnings to pay for college, where she plans on becoming a nurse.

Published: Fri, 31 Oct 2014 08:51:59 -0400

Parents prank boy into thinking he has Ebola

A video posted to YouTube shows two adults pranking a young boy into making him think he has Ebola.

Seen wearing a surgical mask, one of the adults in the video reads a thermometer and another adult voice off-camera says he's got Ebola which causes the child to burst into tears.

Reaction to the video is mixed. Many commenters on the video think the adults went too far in their prank.

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, the 2014 Ebola epidemic is the largest in history, affecting multiple countries in West Africa. It has also been the focus of media reports in the United States since a man who contracted Ebola in Africa flew to Dallas where he later died in a hospital. Two nurses who attended to the man also contracted Ebola but have since recovered.

Published: Fri, 31 Oct 2014 08:46:11 -0400

Powerful cold front to bring snow to mountains, possibly Charlotte

The big story is the powerful cold front and the storm that will form overhead and pass through Friday night into Saturday afternoon.

Here is the breakdown by area:


Rain showers will affect trick-or-treaters Friday night as temperatures fall into the 40s. The changeover from rain to snow will occur by 8 p.m. to 10 p.m. for the highest peaks and the lower elevations will changeover around midnight.

Once the snow starts, it will be off and on right through Saturday afternoon. Accumulations of 2-3 inches are expected at the lower elevations and close to six inches or higher in the peaks.

Road crews in mountains ready for snow, strong winds

Winds will also be a problem and with leaves still on the trees at lower elevations, power outages are a possibility. A clear-out will occur Saturday night into Sunday morning.

Winter Storm Warnings are in place for Ashe, Avery and Watauga counties until 8 p.m. Saturday. The main concerns will be heavy snow accumulating in higher elevations.


The first rain showers will occur around 8 p.m. and should be fairly light, though a steadier rain won’t be far behind. There may be a lull overnight before the rain picks up again Saturday morning.

This will be a very vibrant, energetic storm and as it passes overhead there is a small window Saturday morning where we may see a few wet snowflakes with the heavier showers.

Channel 9 meteorologist Steve Udelson said he’s only seen a complete changeover a few times and never in early November. 

The rain will end Saturday night and the temps Saturday night and Sunday night will be near or below freezing in Charlotte.

Once the storm is gone, sunshine will come back and the region will warm to about 70 degrees by next Tuesday.

Also, don't forget to fall back one hour Saturday night.

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Published: Fri, 31 Oct 2014 08:42:58 -0400

Florida man mistakes ex-girlfriend for intruder, shot her

Police say a man shot his girlfriend Thursday as she tried to get her things from the Florida home they once shared.

Deputies said the victim was shot shortly after she broke into the Mount Dora home she used to share with her boyfriend in order to collect some of her things.

"She has a key, but he changed the locks and an officer told her that since this is her residence that she is allowed to break in, and she cannot get in trouble for it," said Linda Stevens, the victim's friend.

Deputies said the victim recently moved out of the home but showed up about 12:30 p.m. to collect some belongings.

Friends said she had no idea her ex was in the home when she got there.

Investigators said the victim broke in and went into the master bedroom. At some point, the woman's ex-boyfriend, T.J. Schaus, who was sleeping, woke up and fired at least one shot, striking the victim, authorities said.

"I was protecting myself. I did not know who it was," said Schaus.

Schaus said he was asleep when his estranged girlfriend came to their home.

"She came into the room and went straight into the closet, so I just caught a glimpse of her. I did not know who it was," said Schaus.

Schaus said his automatic reaction was to protect himself, so he grabbed the gun he keeps by his bed and fired.

"I asked, 'Who the hell is in my house?' No reply. And that's where I keep all my weapons, in the master bedroom closet, and then I shot," said Schaus.

He said he quickly realized his mistake.

"Once I heard her scream, I hit my knees and started crying," said Schaus. "Once I did it I felt freaking horrible cause I would never do that to her."

Stevens said she was outside when she heard the shot.

"I ran to the third house down and then I called the cops from my cellphone, but I hid behind the house because I didn't know if he was going to shoot me or not," said Stevens.

The woman was flown to a local hospital with serious injuries, authorities said.

Friends said the victim and her boyfriend broke up last week.

Schaus has not been charged in the shooting. Deputies are still investigating.

The victim's name and condition have not been released. She was airlifted to a hospital and underwent surgery.

Published: Fri, 31 Oct 2014 08:40:45 -0400