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Parents remember son killed in car accident on the way to take his final exam

The family of a high school senior from Floyd County, Georgia, is planning his funeral just days before they were planning to see him graduate.

>> Read more trending news

His family told WSB-TV they're overwhelmed by the support they've received.

Blue ribbons are everywhere near Model High School, even on the school itself, to honor Caleb Keller, 18.

"He was a very special kid," said his mother, April Helton. "He said, 'I'm going to make it, I'm going to walk across that stage,' and we are all just so excited."

But four days before graduation, the high school senior died in a two-car crash on the way to take his finals.

Floyd County authorities said Keller crashed his car into another truck at Mango Road and Wayside Road at around 10:30 a.m.

He died Tuesday morning.

His family said he was on his way to school to take his finals, but the road was wet.

"The road right there is a gravel road, and it had washed, and he just lost control," said his father, Clint Helton.

His family said the community has placed hundreds of blue ribbons for Keller all across the county, including some at his high school.

They are thankful and hopeful that Caleb's friends can still enjoy the graduation ceremony.

"We want this to be bright and happy for them because that's what Caleb would want," April said.

His parents want everyone to know through their pain and their heartbreak, they feel incredibly proud of their beloved son.

"Even though Caleb's not going to be there to walk with them, he's just as much a part, and he's there," April said.

The other driver involved was released from a hospital after the crash with minor injuries.

SeaWorld, Busch Gardens: Free admission available for veterans now through July 4

From now through July 4, U.S. veterans and up to three guests can get free admission to SeaWorld Orlando, Busch Gardens Tampa Bay as well as other SeaWorld Parks & Entertainment properties across the U.S.

>> Read more trending news

SeaWorld said in a news release that this new offer joins the ongoing Waves of Honor program that offers complimentary admission to any U.S. active duty military, activated or drilling reservist, or National Guardsman once per year, for the military personnel and as many as three direct dependents.

Veterans must redeem their complimentary single-day ticket(s) online at www.WavesofHonor.com. The free tickets are available online only, not available at the front gate for each park.

In addition to SeaWorld Orlando and Busch Gardens Tampa Bay, the free admission offer is available at SeaWorld San Antonio, SeaWorld San Diego, and Busch Gardens Williamsburg.

Active military and veterans can always receive discounted admission tickets through MWR and ITT offices on U.S. military bases as well as www.WavesofHonor.com. These offers are available year-round. Each park may have various discounted admission products throughout the year that are also available online at www.WavesofHonor.com

Rottweiler dies agonizing death in hot car at county jail, woman visitor arrested on the spot 

A Georgia woman left her Rottweiler in her car for five hours while she was in court at the Gwinnett County Jail, causing the dog’s death, sheriff officials said.

>> Read more trending news 

Connie Wright Gomez, 46, has been charged with aggravated animal cruelty.

Gomez went to the jail as a “court visitor” around 1:30 p.m. Wednesday afternoon, leaving her dog, Rambo, in her car, she told deputies. She left the windows open about an inch.

Around 6:30 p.m., deputies heard Gomez mention she had left her dog in the car. One of the deputies went with Gomez to the car to check on the dog because the weather had been warm all day, with a high temperature of 82 degrees. When they arrived at the car, Rambo was dead.

When temperatures outside range from 80 degrees to 100 degrees, the temperature inside a car parked in direct sunlight can quickly climb to between 130 to 172 degrees, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

Gomez was arrested and booked into jail. She is being held on a $16,700 bond.

Gwinnett County Sheriff Butch Conway expressed dismay at the case.

>> Related: Dog dies after being left in Animal Control officer’s truck

Conway started the Operation Second Chance “jail dogs” program, which matches jail inmates with adoptable dogs and cats. The inmates train and socialize the animals. 

“I hope this poor dog’s horrific death reminds pet owners to make responsible choices for their pets,” Conway said. 

N. Korea says it’s still willing to meet with Trump after sudden cancellation of summit

North Korean leader Kim Jong-un said he is still willing to meet with President Donald Trump, after Trump abruptly canceled a summit Thursday, which was scheduled for June 12 in Singapore.

>> Read more trending news

"We express our willingness to sit down face-to-face with the U.S. and resolve issues anytime and in any format," North Korea’s Vice Foreign Minister Kim Kye-gwan said in the statement, according to South Korea’s Yonhap News Agency.

He also said the North was frustrated with the cancellation because they had been preparing for the meeting with Trump.

"Despite all of this, the U.S.' unilateral decision to scrap the talks causes us to reconsider whether all of the efforts and the path we have taken is really the right one or not," he said in the statement.

Yonhap also reported that Kim said the sudden cancellation of the summit next month underscores the urgent need for a meeting between Trump and Kim

In canceling the summit, Trump also left open the possibility that the meeting could be rescheduled

(Previous story)

President Donald Trump said Thursday that he remains open to meeting with North Korean leader Kim Jong Un, hours after he canceled their planned summit in Singapore in a letter released by White House officials. 

“I believe that this is a tremendous setback for North Korea and, indeed, a setback for the world,” Trump said Thursday at a news conference. “I hope that Kim Jong Un will ultimately do what is right not only for himself, but perhaps most importantly what is right for his people, who are suffering greatly and needlessly.”

He added that “our military ... is ready,” should North Korean officials respond to Thursday’s cancellation with a show of force. Japanese and South Korean officials have also vowed to respond if “foolish or reckless acts be taken by North Korea,” Trump said.

Still, the president didn’t rule out the possibility of meeting with Kim.

“A lot of things can happen, including the fact that, perhaps, it’s possible the existing summit could take place or a summit at some later date,” Trump said. “Nobody should be anxious. We have to get it right.”

The president wrote in his letter to Kim that his decision to cancel the planned June 12 meeting came “based on the tremendous anger and open hostility” displayed in a recent statement from North Korea.

>> From Jamie Dupree: President Trump scraps summit meeting with Kim Jong Un

In the statement, the North Korean government referred to Vice President Mike Pence as a "political dummy" and said it is just as ready to meet in a nuclear confrontation as at the negotiating table.

“I feel it is inappropriate, at this time, to have this long-planned meeting,” Trump wrote. “Please let this letter serve to represent that the Singapore summit, for the good of both parties but to the detriment of the world, will not take place.”

Senior North Korean diplomat Choe Son Hui told North Korea’s state-run news agency on Thursday that, “Whether the U.S. will meet us at a meeting room or encounter us at nuclear-to-nuclear showdown is entirely dependent upon the decision and behavior of the United States,” The Associated Press reported.

>> Reports: North Korea demolishes nuclear test site

Trump responded to the comment in his letter Thursday, telling Kim that, “You talk about your nuclear capabilities, but ours are so massive and powerful that I pray to God they will never have to be used.”

The letter was released just hours after reports surfaced that North Korea had demolished a nuclear test site in the country's northeast region. The closing of the testing site had been announced as a step leading up to the summit between President Donald Trump and North Korea’s leader Kim Jong Un, the Associated Press reported.

Trump earlier this month announced that a historic meeting between him and Kim would take place in Singapore in June.

Read the full letter released Thursday by White House officials:

Check back for updates to this developing story.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

Disgraced movie mogul Harvey Weinstein to face rape, other charges in New York

Disgraced movie mogul Harvey Weinstein is set to turn himself in to authorities on Friday to face charges related to sexual abuse allegations in New York, according to multiple news reports.

>> Read more trending news

Weinstein is expected to face first-degree rape and third-degree rape charges in one case, and a first-degree criminal sex act charge in another case, law enforcement officials told The New York Times.

The Times is reporting that the sex act charge is related to an incident with Lucia Evans, who told the New Yorker and investigators that Weinstein assaulted her during a casting meeting.

It’s unclear which of Weinstein’s many victim over two decades may be at the center of the rape case.

(Previous story)

Two unidentified law enforcement officials told The New York Times on Thursday that Weinstein is expected to surrender to authorities Friday morning.

The Manhattan District Attorney’s Office is expected to bring charges against Weinstein one day after a grand jury convened to hear evidence in connection to allegations of sexual abuse that have been levied against the well-known producer, according to WNBC

Dozens of women came forward to accuse Weinstein of sexual harassment and misconduct after the Times published a report last year detailing complaints of sexual harassment made against Weinstein over nearly three decades. Weinstein, who co-founded entertainment company Miramax, was ousted from his position at The Weinstein Company in the wake of the Times report. 

New York police opened an investigation into Weinstein in 2015, after Filipina-Italian model Ambra Battilana Gutierrez told officers that she was groped by Weinstein without consent.

Authorities outfitted Gutierrez with a wire and had her meet with the producer. In an audio recording of the meeting obtained by The New Yorker, Weinstein could be heard apologizing after he’s confronted about the alleged assault.

>> Harvey Weinstein recording was not enough to charge him, DA says

Despite the recording, no charges were filed against Weinstein.

Prosecutors said that they were never consulted about the New York Police Department’s plan to get Weinstein to admit to the assault on tape and that the tape was not enough evidence to convict the 65-year-old. Police defended their actions, saying that the recording was one of multiple bits of evidence collected by officers and presented to the Manhattan District Attorney for prosecution.

>> Harvey Weinstein investigations launched in New York, London

New York City police said last year that they were working to learn of any additional complaints against Weinstein.

Check back for updates to this developing story.

TSA travel tip: Throwing stars, Freddy Krueger glove should go in checked bag, not carry-on

The Transportation Security Administration recently shared some of the prohibited items it discovered in passengers’ carry-on bags at Hartsfield-Jackson Atlanta International Airport.

>> Read more trending news

Here’s some of what they found:

In this video, a TSA supervisor talks about the variety of tools and weapons on display from passengers’ carry-on bags, including some that are cleverly disguised:

The TSA also posted on Instagram about the Freddy Krueger glove it found in a passenger’s carry-on.

By the way, there is also an entry on TSA’s website dedicated to throwing stars.

Study: Men have better sense of direction than women

Are men or women better navigators? It’s the guys, according to a new report.

>> Read more trending news

Researchers from the University of California at Santa Barbara recently conducted a study, published in the Memory & Cognition journal, to determine which group is better at directions. 

To do so, they conducted two small studies. In the first one, they asked 68 participants to find their way through a computer maze to reach designated locations. They were also required to answer questions about their sense of direction, navigation strategies and whether they played video games. 

In the second one, 72 participants were given a slightly different maze. Unlike the first one, this one did not include “distal landmarks,” such as trees or mountains. However, these subjects were still asked to complete a questionnaire.

After analyzing the results, they found that “men were significantly more efficient than women, even after controlling for the effects of strategy,” the researchers said in a statement

The analysts discovered that men were more likely to take shortcuts to reach their destination, while women were more likely to follow learned routes and wander. They said wandering suggested that someone does not have enough information about a certain area. 

However, they did note their results were based on the average performance between men and women, and some women were just as good at directions as men. 

Although the researchers are still exploring why there are differences between the sexes, they said it “may be related to the difference in the ability to learn the layout of an environment with a given amount of experience.”

They also listed video games as a possible factor. 

“It is also possible that the sex difference in efficiency is due in part to facility with the interface or navigation in virtual environments, as men tend to spend more time playing video games,” they wrote.

They now hope to continue their investigations to examine how people navigate real environments versus virtual ones. 

Police: Driver finds gun stuck in front of his car

Police said a driver on I-5 saw a "black object" moving through the air and, when he pulled over miles later, near Lakewood, Washington, he found a gun stuck in the front of his car. 

>> Read more trending news

The driver continued for about 18 miles after the object struck his car, and then stopped for gas, Washington Trooper Guy Gill said. 

Photos show a gun lodged into the front of the driver’s car. 

“This is a first,” Gill said, tweeting the photo. 

The gun was recovered and turned over to Lakewood police.  

Scientists worry brain-wasting ‘zombie deer’ disease could spread to humans

Deer across North America are dying from a mysterious disease that gradually destroys the animal’s nervous system, and scientists are concerned that the infection could spread to humans. 

>> Read more trending news 

Chronic wasting disease — or “zombie deer disease” — was first observed in 1967 in Fort Collins, Colorado, and has since infected wild herds in 24 states and Canada, as well as in South Korea and Norway, NPR reported.

“CWD passes from animal to animal through prions, misfolded proteins that cause other proteins to misfold around them,” NPR reported.

“Different prion diseases tend to only harm certain species, but can evolve to overcome those limitations.”

In some herds, as many as half of the animals carry prions.

But direct contact isn’t the only way prions are transmitted. According to the New York Times, sick animals and cadavers can spread prions through plants and soil, which could be coated with deformed proteins for years, perhaps even decades.

>> Related: Here’s why monkeys have been sexually interacting with deer, study says

An animal infected with the disease can live two years before signs of symptoms, such as a vacant stare, thick saliva, exposed ribs, or drooping heads, become visible.

There have been no reported human illnesses due to the disease, and scientists don’t have conclusive evidence that infected meat has ever harmed people, suggesting a “species barrier” between humans and deer.

But wildlife authorities in Colorado and Pennsylvania are pushing for hunting regulations to fight the spread of the disease among their local deer populations, according to the Denver Post.

But a recent study from January raised concerns.

Researchers led by Mark Zabel, associate director at Colorado State University’s Prion Research Center, found that macaque monkeys who ate infected deer contracted the disease, the first time the disease was shown to spread to a primate through meat.

"While most research shows there's a robust species barrier, this recent study showed that barrier might not be quite as robust as we once thought," Matt Dunfee, head of the Chronic Wasting Disease Alliance in Fort Collins, Colorado, told NPR.

>> Related: Cobb workers rescue a deer found inside a water treatment tank

Zabel and his team also found that the prions involved in the “zombie disease,” which scientists have only known about for 50 years, are probably still evolving, “which leads us to believe it's only a matter of time before a prion emerges that can spread to humans,” NPRreported.

Mad cow disease, for example, is a prion disease that rooted from scrapie, a deadly disease that afflicts sheep. Once the prions were passed to cows, the cows developed a prion disease of their own (mad cow disease). And when humans ate the beef from those sick cows, they developed prions in their own brains. As of 2016, according to the Food and Drug Administration, 231 people had died from the condition.

Zabel believes the only way to get rid of CWD prions is to set controlled fires. But, “there’s a lot that we still don’t know and don’t understand about the disease,” Zabel said in an interview with the New York Times.

According to Michael Miller, senior wildlife veterinarian for Colorado Parks and Wildlife, mule deer submission more than tripled toward the end of 2017, and CWD continues to be prevalent in Colorado.

Public health officials in the area have been monitoring for CWD and other human brain-wasting diseases, such as Creutzfeldt-Jakob disease.

But over the past 21 years, rising rates of both diseases haven’t impacted human health.

>> Related: Killer herpes from Florida monkeys could pass to humans, scientists warn

Still, Dunfee told NPR, "if you are hunting in an area where CWD is found, have your animal tested. If it comes back positive, don't eat the meat."

Teen charged in crash that killed 3, including a baby: ‘I never saw anyone coming’

A metro Atlanta teenager who is charged in a crash that killed three people, including a 3-month-old baby, said she was looking at the road at the time of the deadly incident.

>> Read more trending news 

"I never saw anyone coming,” Zoe Reardon, 18, told WSB-TV. “My eyes were on the road,” she said.

Reardon faces eight misdemeanor charges that include vehicular homicide and the use of an electronic communication device under the age of 18 in connection with the Sept. 9 crash in Woodstock, Georgia.

Reardon's attorney, Manny Arora, told WSB his client texted her dad about dinner two minutes before the deadly accident. At the time, she was stopped in traffic elsewhere, he said.

However, investigators say Reardon "failed to exercise due care in operating a motor vehicle ... and engaged in the action of putting away her cellular telephone which distracted her," a point the teen disputes. 

“I wasn't doing anything,” she said.

>> Related: Teen charged in crash that killed hurricane evacuee, baby

Kaitlin Marie Hunt, 28, her baby Riley and family friend Kathy Deming, 61, of Marietta, were hit by Reardon’s SUV about 8 p.m. while trying to cross Arnold Mill Road, according to the sheriff’s office.

Riley died that night.

Days later, Hunt and Deming died.

Hunt, a Marietta native who was with the Coast Guard in Florida, had come to metro Atlanta to escape Hurricane Irma.

I see my family’s hurt, my parents' hurt,” Reardon said. “I can only imagine their families’ hurt must be four times what we’re going through.” 

Arora said investigators earlier told her family they saw no basis for charges. 

"No crosswalk and these people happen to be crossing, and she happened to be driving, and it's just tragic," Arora said.

Cherokee County Solicitor General Jessica Moss said she never told anyone there would be no charges.

>> Related: Florida mother who fled to metro Atlanta dies days after baby

Zoe Reardon told WSB that she is a straight-A student who has a partial scholarship to Southern Methodist University in Texas. But she now has the charges from the crash to deal with, and thinks of family members of the crash victims.

"I pray for the hearts,” she said, “and I pray for their healing."

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