Latest Georgia news, sports, business and entertainment at 9:20 p.m. EST


Georgia's new GOP senator sworn into office amid impeachment

WASHINGTON (AP) — A Republican businesswoman has been sworn in as Georgia’s newest U.S. senator. Kelly Loeffler takes office amid a presidential impeachment and rising tensions with Iran. Loeffler was appointed by Georgia GOP Gov. Brian Kemp, even though President Donald Trump and his conservative allies has pushed for congressman Doug Collins, a Trump loyalist and top Republican on the House Judiciary Committee. Loeffler has already said she plans to vote against removing the president. She is replacing veteran GOP Sen. Johnny Isakson, who retired because of health problems. Loeffler will face a special election for her seat in November.


Atlanta police chief halts car chases after deaths, injuries

ATLANTA (AP) — Atlanta's police chief has ordered a halt to all police car chases after crashes that killed or injured people. Chief Erika Shields held a news conference Friday after sending a departmentwide memo about her decision. She said she would rather err on the side of safety, even though her decision may increase crime. Shields says she wants more emphasis on investigative techniques. She says the order will stay in effect while she reviews a policy that has been in place since 2018. Shields said changes might include allowing only highly trained officers to take part in chases.


Judge nixes defense funding appeal in teacher's 2005 slaying

TIFTON, Ga. (AP) — A man charged with killing a Georgia teacher who vanished in 2005 has lost another appeal requesting state funding for expert witnesses. News outlets report Judge Bill Reinhardt on Friday ruled once again that the state doesn't have to pay for Ryan Duke's defense to hire outside investigators. He wrote that Duke, who traded his public defenders for private attorneys willing to take the case pro bono, can't pick and choose which state-provided services he'd like to receive. Duke is charged with murder in the death of Tara Grinstead, whose disappearance was the focus of the podcast "Up and Vanished." Her death was confirmed in 2017.


Animal house: Squirrel wrecks home, insurance won't fix it

ATLANTA (AP) — An Atlanta couple said they came home from a winter vacation to find their house had been ransacked by an unusual suspect: a squirrel. Kari and Dustin Drees returned to find their house in disarray with floors scratched, baseboards chewed, and squirrel feces all around. Reports say a squirrel had fallen down their chimney and became trapped in the house, defecating and scratching at everything to get out. The couple's home insurance provider won't cover the damages, saying a squirrel is considered a rodent not covered by the policy. But the insurer offered to pay for alternative housing while the couple cleans the home.


Such trash! Overturned big rig blocks Georgia highway

ATLANTA (AP) — A tractor-trailer full of trash overturned on an Atlanta highway, spilling its cargo and closing the road for hours on Monday. Georgia State Patrol Lt. Stephanie Stallings says nobody reported any injuries in the wreck on Interstate 285 crash near Interstate 75. The accident occurred about 10:30 a.m. Stallings says the road was back open by 1 p.m., though there was still trash to clean up on the highway shoulder.


Georgia police: Driver fell asleep at wheel in fatal crash

ACWORTH, Ga. (AP) — Police in Georgia say a motorist accused of being behind the wheel during a fatal crash told police he had fallen asleep while driving. Cobb County officer Sydney Melton told news outlets that 23-year-old Shakim Reakwon Holloman was heading southbound on Dallas Acworth Highway between Marietta and Cartersville around 7 a.m. Sunday when he veered into the northbound lane and struck another car head-on. Melton says the driver of the other vehicle, 24-year-old Daniel Rogers, died at the scene. Holloman was charged with first-degree vehicular homicide, reckless driving, failure to maintain lane and suspended registration.


Georgia sheriff's deputy arrested on drug charges

JACKSON, Ga. (AP) — A Georgia sheriff says one of his deputies has been arrested on drug charges. Monroe County Sheriff Brad Freeman said in a Facebook post that Paul Nicholas Stewart was arrested Friday. Freeman said he received a call around 10 a.m. Friday from Butts County Sheriff Gary Long, who said an investigation there revealed that a Monroe County deputy was involved in illegal drug activity. Stewart was arrested that day. He was being held without bond. It wasn't immediately clear whether he had an attorney who could comment on his arrest.


Third baby right whale spotted, giving conservationists hope

Conservationists say a third right whale calf has been spotted off the southeastern United States, giving them hope for the jeopardized species this winter. North Atlantic right whales number only about 411, and have been plagued by high mortality and poor reproduction in recent years. Not a single baby right whale was born in the winter of 2017-18. Several of the calves were spotted last year, and this year there has been at least three. The New England Aquarium in Boston said Sunday that Harmonia, an adult right whale known to researchers, was spotted recently off Cumberland Island, Georgia, with a newborn.