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Truck driver who caused crash that killed nursing students weeps in court

A truck driver who caused a crash that killed five nursing students wiped away tears in court Wednesday.

John Wayne Johnson and the company he worked for, Total Transportation of Mississippi, are facing a civil lawsuit from crash survivor Megan Richards, of Loganville.

Johnson pleaded guilty to several charges, including five counts of first-degree vehicular homicide, and is serving five years in jail for the crash.

He wept as lawyers played audio of state troopers questioning him the morning of the crash on Interstate 16 in April 2015.

"For what it's worth, very sorry, emotional to the families and all. It is something that definitely not intentional. I say, I can't explain why, how what, and being in shock right now,” he said in the recording.

Johnson was driving a tractor-trailer when he plowed into two cars carrying seven students from Georgia Southern University.

Two of the students survived.

The trucking company has already admitted responsibility for the wreck and reached multi-million dollar settlements with the one survivor and the families of the other students.

Now a jury will decide how much compensation Richards should receive for the injuries she suffered in the horrific crash.


Wednesday, jurors heard from a medical experts and a witness who pulled Richards from the fiery wreck.

Army Sgt. William Robenolt graphically described the chaos he witnessed that day.

Robenolt compared the scene to an Army vehicle hitting a roadside bomb in Afghanistan.

“A lot of noise, a lot of people, a very chaotic scene. You could hear the fire from the car, you could hear things falling, melting and falling off the car. You could hear the sounds of metal just expanding and contracting from the heat and popping,” he said.

Richards' lawyers say she still suffers from a traumatic brain injury.

Johnson, along with Richards and her family, could take the stand as soon as Thursday.

Stay with and watch Channel 2 Action News for complete coverage as this trial continues.

Falcons WR Julio Jones misses practice with toe injury

Falcons All-Pro wide receiver Julio Jones was held out of practice on Wednesday after aggravating his sprained toe in Saturday's playoff win over Seattle.

Jones is expected to play in Sunday's NFC championship game against Green Bay. He did not appear to favor the injury as he walked through the locker room before the practice.

First injury report of NFC Championship week for Falcons— Zach Klein (@ZachKleinWSB) January 18, 2017

Jones participated in a walk-through session early Wednesday before missing the regular practice.

Coach Dan Quinn says the plan is to "get him more work as the week goes on."


Jones missed two games with the toe injury. He still finished second in the NFL with 1,409 yards receiving on 83 catches.

Defensive tackle Jonathan Babineaux (shoulder), wide receiver Taylor Gabriel (foot) and safety Keanu Neal (foot) were limited.

#Falcons Pro Bowlers @M_Ryan02, @devontafreeman & @alexmack55 prepare for the NFC Championship #RiseUp— Anthony Amey (@AnthonyAmeyWSB) January 18, 2017

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

World’s primates in crisis, on track for extinction, new study warns

Half of the world’s primates, including gorillas, apes, monkeys, lemurs, and others are in crisis and on track for extinction, mainly due to a growing human population and habitat loss.

Some “60 percent of primate species are now threatened with extinction and 75 percent have declining populations,” according to a new study published Wednesday in the journal Science Advances. That means around 300 of the world’s 500 species of primates are currently threatened or endangered, the survey found.

>> Read more trending stories 

Nonhuman primate species are essential for a healthy environment and balanced ecosystems, which humans also need to survive, the study said.

"This truly is the 11th hour for many of these creatures," study co-leader Paul Garber, an anthropology professor at the University of Illinois, told USA Today.

Garber also said many primate species will disappear quickly, over the next 25 years, unless the world takes action.

“Raising global scientific and public awareness of the plight of the world’s primates and the costs of their loss to ecosystem health and human society is imperative,” the study warned.

The threats to primates’ existence also include industrial agriculture, cattle ranching, logging, mining, oil and gas drilling, hunting, illegal trade in primate parts, and as pets.


Arrest warrant: Alexis Manigo told a friend that she was kidnapped newborn Kamiyah Mobley

Kamiyah Mobley knew she was abducted from a Jacksonville hospital as a baby more than a year before she was told by investigators, an arrest warrant for her accused kidnapper says.

The arrest warrant for 51-year-old Gloria Williams says that Kamiyah, who was renamed Alexis Kelli Manigo, told a friend a year and a half ago that she was kidnapped from a Jacksonville hospital as a baby.


The warrant, which was released after Williams was extradited to Jacksonville on Tuesday, details tips that led to the discovery of Kamiyah.

Williams' arrest report says on Aug. 8, 2016, an anonymous tip came into the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children that Mobley was living in Walterboro, S.C.

The witness told investigators that Manigo told her she was kidnapped from a Jacksonville hospital, and that Manigo's mother told her she was really Kamiyah Mobley.

#KamiyahMobley knew she was abducted as an infant a year and a half before she was told by #JSO, documents say— ActionNewsJax (@ActionNewsJax) January 18, 2017

Another tip came in on Nov. 8, 2016. A man told investigators that Williams admitted to him that she stole a baby from a hospital in Jacksonville and claimed her as her daughter.

Jacksonville Sheriff's Office detectives traveled to Walterboro on Jan. 10 and checked with Colleton County High School.

They found Manigo had a fraudulent Social Security card and birth certificate. The Social Security number listed with Alexis Kelli Manigo's name was issued to a man in Virginia, who died in 1983.

Oral DNA swabs were sent to the Florida Department of Law Enforcement and those confirmed that Manigo was Kamiyah Mobley, which Jacksonville Sheriff Mike Williams announced Friday.

Mobley visited Williams in the Colleton County Jail before Williams was extradited.

"I still feel the same about her. There's nothing different," she said. "My feelings toward my mother will never change. I'll probably cry more than I have in the past definitely but it's nothing we can stop. I'm just gonna take it and keep going."

Mobley said she is still processing the news. 

"If you call me Alexis, call me Alexis. If you call me Kamiyah, I'm still gonna answer," she said.

Williams made her first appearance in Duval County court on Wednesday. She is being held without bond for kidnapping and interference with custody charges.

This is a developing story. Action News Jax will have much more on the arrest warrant beginning on CBS47 Action News Jax at 5.

Just In:Gloria Williams arrest warrant shows birth cert. & SSN used for Alexis belonged to dead man @ActionNewsJax— Paige Kelton (@PaigeANjax) January 18, 2017 Gloria Williams' arrest warrant details alleged confession of #kamiyahmobley kidnapping @ActionNewsJax @WOKVNews— Lorena Inclán (@LorenaANjax) January 18, 2017 Just In:Second witness says Gloria Williams "confessed to him that she 'stole' a baby from a hosp. in Jax." @ActionNewsJax— Paige Kelton (@PaigeANjax) January 18, 2017

Dream comes true for NC teen with cerebral palsy

A teen who is his high school's No. 1 basketball fan got to get out of the stands and onto the court Tuesday night.

>> Read more trending stories 

Mitchell Greathouse attends every sporting event at Freedom High School in Morganton, North Carolina, to cheer on the teams, but on that special night he got to put on a jersey and play alongside the basketball team.        

Mitchell has spastic quadriplegic cerebral palsy and trained hard to get into the game.

He accepted a challenge to be in the game from the basketball coach.

The challenge was that if he achieved a 50-step goal in his gait trainer, he could suit up for the game.

The next day, Mitchell accomplished that goal.

The entire community came together to make Mitchell's dream come true.

“The sweetest, most social young man that you'll meet,” Mitchell’s grandmother, Gigi DeHart, said. “He has a smile that's infectious.”

Mitchell’s first play was executed perfectly, an assist putting 2 points on the board.

He got many cheers, even from Freedom High's rival team, Patton High School.

Coach Casey Rogers said this moment was much bigger than the game, it was one young man's living example to his peers of triumph over adversity.

“They learn about how someone's spirit and strength, and courage can affect so many people around them,” Rogers said.

Penn. mall once worth $190 million sold to bank for $100

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

One of the biggest indoor malls in Pennsylvania sold at auction Wednesday for $100.

>> Read more trending stories  

The 1.1 million-square-foot Galleria at Pittsburgh Mills was bought by Wells Fargo Bank, which foreclosed on it last year.

Wells Fargo was the only bidder and essentially bought the mall from itself.

The mall, which opened in 2005, is located in Frazer Township, Pennsylvania. It was developed by Johnstown-based Zamias Services Inc. and Mills Corp., a Virginia firm that has since gone bankrupt.

The mall was once worth $190 million but recently appraised at just $11 million, according to the Associated Press.

Pittsburgh Mills Limited Partnership, which is owned by Zamias, owes Wells Fargo about $143 million including deferred payments and interest on a $133 million loan taken out in 2006.

According to the public sale notice, Wells Fargo is allowed to buy the property from itself without paying any cash, instead crediting the purchase against the $143 million owed.

It's possible the bank will try to revive the property.

Restaurant owner criticized for offering stereotypical special on MLK Jr. Day

A Texas restaurant owner said she didn't think she did anything wrong when she promoted a holiday special on Facebook.

>> Read more trending stories 

Sabrina Pyle, owner of Azle Café in Azle, Texas, was hoping to draw in more customers on Martin Luther King Jr. Day when she offered a unique meal.

"I came up with this incredible, ingenious idea for what I thought would bring people in for lunch," Pyle told WFAA.

The special consisted of chicken and waffles with a side of watermelon. 

Social media users quickly pointed out that the offering was problematic. The stereotype that black people have an affinity for fried chicken and watermelon emerged during times of slavery in America and after the Civil War to portray people who belong to the racial group as lazy and dirty.

"It's a way to express racial (contempt) without getting into serious trouble," a University of Missouri professor said in a 2013 NPR interview. "How it's possible to be both a taboo and a corporate mainstream thing just shows how complicated race in America is."

"To use something like chicken and waffles and a side of watermelon as a Martin Luther Ling Special is disgusting," Brad Pelt told WFAA. "It's not okay."

Pyle said the action was "distasteful" on her part. 

"I just didn't think it through," she said. "I wasn't thinking about the historical (context). I was thinking, 'We have margaritas and tacos on Cinco de Mayo, so, let's have some fun with Martin Luther King Day.'"

Pyle, who was called a racist by social media users, deleted the post on Monday. 

"I am, by far, not racist," she told WFAA.

Hero grandfather stops woman from kidnapping his granddaughter at the park, police say

An Auburn, California, grandfather enjoying the duck pond at a park with his two grandchildren won a "tug of war" with an apparently sober stranger who tried to run off with his three-year-old granddaughter, whom the accused addressed by a different name.

>> Read more trending stories

KTXL reported that Lindsay Frasher, 28, was arrested, police say, after she "approached one of the children, called her by a different name and tried to take her."

"Ms. Frasher approached one of the children, called her by a different name and tried to take her," Auburn Police Department Sgt. Gary Hopping said in a statement.

Hopping described the ensuing struggle between Frasher and the grandfather as a "tug of war over the little girl."

Locals were disturbed by the news that a park they frequent was the scene of an attempted kidnapping and that the person responsible was a complete stranger, whom police say was sober and not believed to be suffering from mental health issues.

The Sacramento Bee reported that, according Hopping, the grandfather "was able to retain possession of the child" and successfully kept Frasher from running away until police arrived on the scene.

"Just even letting them run off far enough to where I can't get to them fast enough makes me nervous," mother Cheyanne Martinez said.

Currently, Frasher is being held at the Placer County Jail in lieu of $420,000 bail, according to KTXL.

She has been charged with kidnapping.

Disturbingly, a former high school classmate told KXTL that she was not surprised.

The former classmate, who did not wish to be identified, said she hopes Frasher will get counseling.

Restaurant donates food to homeless after canceled event

A local restaurant served meals to the homeless near the Jacksonville Landing after the restaurant could not serve food at an event near the area where the deadly double-shooting happened on Martin Luther King, Jr. Day.

Glen Miller, a What's Cookin' employee who posted the Facebook video Wednesday that shows workers donating food, said the food would've gone to waste since the restaurant could not serve it at the canceled event at the Art Bar.


In the video, some of the workers gave food in to-go boxes to homeless individuals at the Jacksonville Landing and Hemming Park.

What's Cookin' calls itself an American  and Southern cuisine restaurant located in Hyde Park Jacksonville. On Mondays, the restaurant provides food for Art Bar's Open Mic, which is located at the Jacksonville Landing.  

Millar said in the Facebook post to not let "a few bad apples" keep people from attending the Monday night event.

Mom of teen killed at Jacksonville Landing: 'My son is not a gang member'

The double-shooting happened on Jan. 16, Martin Luther King, Jr. Day, at the Landing, leaving a 13-year-old boy injured and a 16-year-old boy dead. 

The mother of Khamoi Petersen, the 16-year-old, said her son tried to get help from officers because he "saw something" at the Jacksonville Landing before the shooting.

"He asked the police officer. He said he was in fear for his life," she said. "And (the officers) walked off on him." She said as soon as the police walked away, gun shots rang out.

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