Originally created 01/22/06

Across Georgia



Pilot walks away from airplane crash

WALTHOURVILLE - A small plane crashed and burned just outside the Liberty County Airport in southeastern Georgia on Saturday afternoon, Walthourville Fire Capt. Shawn Smith said.

Several people saw the single-engine plane go down at 12:16 p.m. as it was approaching the runway, he said.

The pilot walked away from the crash and was taken to the hospital with minor injuries. There were no other people on board, Capt. Smith said.

The cause of the crash was under investigation, but Capt. Smith said weather did not appear to be a factor..

Savannah crime rate increases slightly

SAVANNAH - Crime in 2005 increased slightly across Chatham County, and by almost 5 percent in Savannah.

The jump comes after three consecutive years of drops in Savannah, and a year after the city's lowest crime rate in 26 years.

The Savannah-Chatham Metropolitan Police Department released final year-end numbers Friday afternoon.

All violent crime categories increased between 2004 and 2005 in the newly combined Savannah-Chatham Metropolitan Police Department.

Homicides jumped from 24 to 31. Rapes rose from 76 to 86. Aggravated assaults were up from 419 to 478.

Lawyer files federal suit against president

ALPHARETTA - An Alpharetta lawyer has filed a federal lawsuit against President Bush, challenging the constitutionality of the administration's secret wiretapping program, which he says sidesteps other branches of government.

Mark Guzzi said that Mr. Bush has abused his presidential powers in allowing telephone and Internet surveillance, and that the practice violates his First Amendment protection of free speech and Fourth Amendment right to privacy.

Mr. Guzzi, 40, is assistant general counsel for the Georgia Department of Corrections, but he filed the lawsuit as a private citizen. The National Security Agency is also named as a defendant.

Son finally gets dad's WWII Purple Heart

BRUNSWICK - More than 60 years after Elton Tucker was wounded in World War II, his son finally has his late father's medals.

The Purple Heart and a Bronze Star were among the medals U.S. Rep. Jack Kingston, R-Ga., passed on to Tommy Tucker, Elton Tucker's oldest child, during a ceremony Friday at Glynn County's war memorial.

"It's something I've always wanted. It's after his time, but I know he's with us,'' said Tommy Tucker, a geography teacher at Brunswick High School.

- Edited from wire reports