published Tuesday, November 5th, 2013

Jury being picked in boater trial — and more Chattanooga region news

Jury being picked in boater trial

GAINESVILLE, Ga. — A man charged in the deaths of two brothers killed in a boating crash on Lake Lanier is set to stand trial.

The Times of Gainesville reported jury selection would begin Monday in the trial of Paul J. Bennett of Cumming.

Bennett is charged in a collision that killed 13-year-old Griffin Prince and his 9-year-old brother, Jake, both of Buford, on June 18, 2012. He faces charges including first-degree homicide by vessel and boating under the influence.

Investigators say Bennett was behind the wheel when his boat slammed into the Prince family's pontoon boat, which was carrying 12 people.

It took dive crews nine days to find Griffin's body.


Man charged in gas station fire

CLARKSVILLE, Ga. — Insurance and Safety Fire Commissioner Ralph Hudgens says a Clarksville man accused in a gas station fire that injured his wife is being held in the Habersham County Jail.

Officials say 37-year-old Austin Dawkins was arrested Friday night and charged with reckless conduct for igniting a cigarette lighter near his gas tank while he was fueling his truck.

WAGA-TV reported that surveillance cameras were recording as gas vapors ignited where Dawkins' 30-year-old wife was standing.

Hudgens says the woman suffered severe burns to her legs, arms, back and head and Dawkins suffered minor injuries.

Hudgens says reckless conduct is punishable by up to a year in prison and a $1,000 fine.

According to jail records, Dawkins is being held on $1,200 bond. It's unclear if he has an attorney.


Teen drowns in college's pool

MILLEDGEVILLE, Ga. — Authorities in middle Georgia say a 14-year-old boy has died after drowning in an outdoor pool at Georgia College.

Baldwin County Coroner John Gonzales says Tyrique Jackson was with two other boys at the Centennial Center Pool when he drowned. Gonzales says the boys ran from the pool when Jackson drowned and told someone what happened.

A student found the boy in the pool and Gonzales says police were unable to revive him. An autopsy for the teen is scheduled for Tuesday.

The Telegraph of Macon reports that the pool is not open to the general public and closed at the end of September.


Winter heating help available

ATLANTA The Georgia Department of Human Services is offering residents help with winter heating bills.

Georgia DHS officials say residents age 65 and older who are homebound may apply for the Low Income Home Energy Assistance Program until Dec. 1. Other eligible families may begin applying for assistance on Dec. 1.

The LIHEAP program is federally funded and helps low-income and elderly people pay power bills through April 30. Officials say that, depending on income, those who qualify typically receive between $310 and $350 toward their heating bills.

To qualify, a family's household income must be equal to or less than 60 percent of the median income for Georgia families.

Applicants must provide heating bills and information on household residents including citizenship status and proof of income.

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