By Jack Stephens
Published in News on April 2, 2004 2:01 PM
Four men from Honduras have been arrested by Sampson County authorities and charged with a series of violent home invasions.
The men -- Carlos Velasquez, Edgardo Zuniga, Leonel Rivera and Roger Bonilla -- were accused of taking part in 60 home invasions in nine eastern counties, including Wayne.
Most of the victims were Hispanic business owners who were tied up and held at gunpoint, authorities said. The crimes also were committed in Duplin, Johnston, Wilson, Bladen, Harnett, Pender and Wake counties.
Wayne County authorities said today that they are determining if the four were linked to any crimes here.
Sampson County Sheriff Jimmy Thornton said the four were arrested after a 911 call from a woman who had been robbed. A nearby deputy saw the suspect vehicle, pursued it and arrested the driver. The suspect was identified as one of the four who had participated in a home invasion.
From there investigators tracked down the other three men. They say more arrests are possible.
Thornton says all four are illegal immigrants and will be deported after their trials.
Sampson Sheriff's Capt. R.R. Mattocks told WRAL-TV that the four men were gang members who may have had military training. One was a former Honduran police officer.
Nursing home sued
A Goldsboro nursing home, its parent company and a nurse are being sued by the daughter of an 85-year-old man who died at the home.
Leigh Anne Franklin of Goldsboro brought the lawsuit for negligence and wrongful death against Britthaven of Goldsboro, Britthaven Inc. of Garner and Ruth Cherry, a nurse.
Ms. Franklin, who was appointed executrix of the estate of her father, William H. Franklin, is asking for more than $10,000 in damages.
She alleges in the suit that her father was admitted July 18, 2002, to Britthaven for rehabilitation from diabetes after being discharged from Wayne Memorial Hospital. But on the morning of July 21, Franklin appeared to be suffering from a respiratory problem, and the suit contends that Ms. Oliver changed his oxygen without a doctor's order and did not call his doctor.
Britthaven's doctor was notified about an hour later, the suit says, and ordered that Franklin be taken to the hospital. A private company's ambulance did not arrive for another hour, the suit alleges. Franklin died later that night of a heart attack.
The plaintiff contends that the defendants were negligent in not exercising the standard of care required of nursing homes and licensed practical nurses.
A report of a shooting today caused a commotion on East Walnut Street in Goldsboro.
But when police investigated, they discovered that a resident was shooting only at pigeons on his roof.
A police official said the resident could be charged for discharge of a weapon in the city, but no charges had been filed.
A 42-year-old man has been arrested by Wayne County sheriff's detectives and charged with three felony sex offenses.
Angelo Applewhite of Red Hill Road, Fremont, was charged with first-degree rape, first-degree sexual offense and statutory rape. He was placed in the Wayne County Jail in lieu of a $125,000 secured bond.
Detective Sgt. Tammy Odom said she had been notified by the Department of Social Services that a 13-year-old girl had been sexually assaulted repeatedly. Applewhite was arrested after an investigation.
Ms. Odom said more charges are possible through grand jury indictments. She was assisted by two other detectives, Sgt. Tony Morris and Chris Bezio.
A man from Richmond, Va., was arrested before dawn today by Wayne County sheriff's officers and charged with felony possession of a stolen rental car.
Sgt. Carter Hicks saw the car with the emergency flashers blinking alongside Arrington Bridge Road, or N.C. 581, near Pecan Road. When Hicks checked on the driver's welfare, he said he detected an odor of alcohol on the driver.
The man said he was driving his girlfriend's rental car. When Hicks investigated further, he discovered that the 2004 Hyundai had been reported stolen from Enterprise Leasing Co. of Newport News, Va.
The driver, Jimmy Lee Harrington Jr., 34, was charged with possession of a stolen car, driving while impaired and driving while his license was revoked. Harrington registered .11 percent blood-alcohol content, the report said. He was placed in the Wayne County Jail in lieu of a $15,000 secured bond.
A Pikeville volunteer firefighter whose tanker truck overturned on the way to a fire has been charged with exceeding a safe speed.
Jonathan Clay Gardner, 23, of Vail Road, Pikeville, was injured in the wreck at 11:18 a.m. March 25 on Pikeville-Princeton Road near Vail Road. He was released after emergency-room treatment.
Gardner was responding to assist Nahunta firefighters. But the tanker truck rounded a curve, ran off the right side, then came back on the road out of control and overturned. The truck, valued at $20,000, was demolished.
In a collision at 2:15 p.m. Thursday, a passenger was injured and both vehicles were demolished at North James and West Holly streets, Goldsboro police said. Dartangen Williamson, 4, of North Center Street, was treated and released from Wayne Memorial Hospital. He was riding with Katara Renelle Johnson, 30, of North Center Street.
A northbound motorist, William Earl Brock, 64, of Heritage Road, Pikeville, was charged with a stop-sign violation. Damages were put at $7,000.
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