Originally created 06/13/05

Across the southeast



Good Samaritan's widow settles suit

WILMINGTON, N.C. - The widow of a man who died two years after contracting a rare flesh-eating disease while helping at the scene of a car crash has settled with a tractor-trailer driver and his employer for $2.3 million.

Ronald Dyson, 56, pulled over to help after a car ran into a utility pole, causing metal cable wires to fall. A tractor-trailer then drove into the low-hanging cables, and Mr. Dyson was lashed and tossed in the air, according to court papers.

The cables were coated with bird droppings that brought on the flesh-eating infection, said Thomas Goolsby, who represented Mr. Dyson's widow. He died in September 2003.

The civil lawsuit claimed negligent and reckless conduct on the part of tractor-trailer driver Kevin Royster and his employer, Sea Lane Express Inc.

No tickets were issued to Mr. Royster or the driver of the car that struck the pole. An attorney for the defense could not be reached for comment.

"I just wanted enough to pay the hospital bills and doctors," said Mr. Dyson's widow, Peggie.

Two more teens are arrested in beating

HOLLY HILL, FLA. - Investigators arrested two 15-year-olds in the beating death of a homeless man, bringing the number of teens facing charges to five.

The two teens made their first court appearances Saturday, and a judge refused to release them. One is charged with second-degree murder, and the other faces an aggravated battery charge.

Authorities said the two teenagers, along with a 14-year-old and 18-year-olds Justin Stearns and Jeffery Spurgeon were involved in the fatal beating May 25.

Mr. Stearns, Mr. Spurgeon and the 14-year-old were indicted Thursday on charges of first-degree murder and murder conspiracy.

Michael Eugene Roberts, 53, was kicked and crushed when teens jumped on a log on his chest in woods where the group was known to hang out, behind a car wash. His body remained in the woods until Mr. Spurgeon's mother called authorities three days later to report she had overheard something about a beating.

No more arrests were expected, but the investigation is continuing, sheriff's spokesman Gary Davidson said.

A touch of the delta goes to Central Park

NEW YORK - It was 88 degrees and humid. Folks were eating fried catfish and hushpuppies and listening to bluesman Terry "Big T" Williams sing about the delta, while the governor of Mississippi greeted old friends.

Just another day in the park - New York City's Central Park.

Like every Mississippi governor since 1979, Haley Barbour showed up Saturday for the annual New York Mississippi Picnic in Central Park. The event was established 26 years ago by Rachel McPherson after she moved to New York for graduate school from Monticello, Miss.

"It bothered me back then that both Mississippi and Central Park had such bad images," Ms. McPherson said. "So we celebrate both of them for a picnic."