Alabama man sought in rape, abduction - and more Chattanooga region news

Alabama man sought in rape, abduction - and more Chattanooga region news

July 29th, 2014 by Staff Reports and Wire Service in Local Regional News

Rape tile

Rape tile

Photo by WRCB-TV Channel 3 /Times Free Press.

OZARK, Ala. - Authorities say a man wanted on charges of sexually assaulting a woman and an 8-year-old girl in Southeast Alabama likely has slipped out of the region.

Ozark police Chief Tony Spivey told the Dothan Eagle that investigators suspect 44-year-old David Pitts, of Ozark, has left the area.

The man is wanted on charges of kidnapping, raping, sexual abuse, theft and burglary. Authorities spent the weekend searching for Pitts.

Police got a call early Friday reporting that a woman and child were missing. Ozark police suspect the two were abducted at knifepoint and driven to a location where they were sexually assaulted.

Authorities said Pitts was last seen driving a Toyota Sienna minivan.

84,000 children to start preschool in Georgia

ATLANTA - Department of Early Care and Learning officials said about 84,000 children are expected to enroll in Georgia's prekindergarten program this year.

Department spokesman Reg Griffin said during the 2013-14 school year, the state's voluntary prekindergarten program served 66 percent of 4-year-old children in the state. Griffin said nearly 82,000 children were enrolled in the program last year. The programs are offered through school districts and child-care centers. Griffin said preschool start dates depend on the calendars for local school systems and day-care centers hosting the programs.

The department's interim Commissioner Amy Jacobs said Georgia's prekindergarten program helps children build a solid educational foundation and has an impact on school readiness in language, literacy and math.

The state's prekindergarten program is funded by the Georgia Lottery.

Man, 25, drowns at Lake Allatoona

CARTERSVILLE, Ga. - Authorities are investigating a Sunday drowning at Lake Allatoona northwest of Atlanta.

WXIA-TV reports the 25-year-old man was swimming near Allatoona Landing in Bartow County when he tried to retrieve a float that blew away. Witnesses said the victim then started having trouble and went under the water.

The Georgia Department of Natural Resources is investigating. The man's name wasn't immediately released.

The drowning is the fifth on Lake Allatoona this summer.

Officer shoots, kills man after attack

KNOXVILLE - Police say a Knoxville officer has fatally shot a man after being attacked.

Police said 45-year-old Ronald Carden died Sunday morning after suddenly attacking Officer David Gerlach, who had stopped to help him and another man change a flat tire along Interstate 40.

The Knoxville News Sentinel reported Carden was a parolee with a violent past. Police spokesman Darrell Debusk said in a statement that Carden, who was recently released from prison, said he wasn't going back right before attacking Gerlach.

Carden was pronounced dead at the scene. The other man, whose name wasn't released, was questioned and released.