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Local News for Wednesday, July 13th

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In news today…

Drivers who feel the need for speed better hit the brakes or be ready to see blue lights in their rear-view mirror during Operation Southern Slow Down. From July 18 – 24, this speed enforcement and education campaign, formerly called Operation Southern Shield, returns in five southeastern states: Alabama, Florida, Georgia, South Carolina, and Tennessee.

State troopers and local law enforcement officers will conduct concentrated enforcement on interstates and state highways in these five states for the entire week in a team effort to stop the increase in drivers traveling at speeds well above the legal limit. Law enforcement agencies in the southeast and across the nation have seen a substantial increase in the number of vehicles traveling at speeds above 100 miles per hour in the last two years.

Federal highway safety data shows that the youngest drivers on the road are involved in speed-related fatal crashes more than any other age group. Thirty-five percent of male drivers and 18 percent of female drivers in the 15-to-20-year-old age group were involved in fatal crashes nationwide in 2020.

In the southeast, the number of people killed in speed-related crashes in Alabama, Florida, Georgia, South Carolina, and Tennessee increased by 14 percent in 2020 compared to 2019. There were 1,611 persons killed in traffic crashes that involved speeding in these five states in 2020 and 1,418 persons killed in crashes involving speeding the prior year.

Operation Southern Slow Down began in 2017 when the five states in NHTSA’s Region 4 decided to hold a week-long joint speed enforcement and education campaign in the third week of July with the goal of reducing crashes and saving lives.

From NewsChannel 9…

Firefighters were able to save a man drowning in the Tennessee River according to CFD.

In a press release, CFD says someone called 911 reporting an overturned kayak and a man struggling in the water.

One of the fire department’s fireboats responded to the call according to the press release.

The man was reportedly not wearing a life jacket and tried to swim back to the recreation area due to his kayak having a hole in it.

CFD says the man was extremely fatigued when they got him, though he is alert and conscious.

From the Cleveland Daily Banner…

Tim Siniard reports: Garett Hammontree has resigned from the Charleston City Commission, citing “personal reasons.”

In a letter read aloud Tuesday night, July 12, by Charleston Mayor Donna McDermott during the commission meeting, Hammontree, who was not present at the meeting, stated it had “been an honor to serve the city and its people, but, for personal reasons,” his “resignation is unavoidable.”

Although Hammontree did not elaborate regarding the reasons for his resignation, McDermott and Vice Mayor Frankie McCartney confirmed to the Cleveland Daily Banner they had learned from the Charleston Police Department several weeks ago that Hammontree was under investigation.

However, McDermott and McCartney did not disclose details.

Due to the vacancy, McDermott said a search for Hammontree’s replacement has begun and that candidates interested in the commission seat may pick up a questionnaire at city offices.  

The candidate selected will serve the remainder of Hammontree’s term and will run for election in 2024.

Hammontree was selected by the commission in 2020 to fill a vacancy caused by the death of longtime Charleston Mayor Walter Goode.