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News from around Georgia: Dogs poisoned, man killed by train

Man killed by train in northeast Georgia

ATHENS, Ga. — Authorities say a northeast Georgia man was killed when he was run over by a train.

The Athens Banner-Herald reports that 51-year-old William Thomas of Bogart was killed Tuesday on the CSX railroad tracks in western Clarke County.

Police said the train's engineer first thought there was an animal on the tracks, but the train was moving too fast to stop before it ran over the man.

Authorities are investigating why Thomas was on the tracks when the train was approaching.

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Dogs found dead in central Ga.; poison suspected

MACON, Ga. — Authorities in a central Georgia county say they're investigating the deaths of several dogs they believe were poisoned.

Crawford County sheriff's investigators say that six dogs belonging to a family in the Knoxville community were found dead after being poisoned by some type of toxin. Authorities say they're trying to determine the nature of the toxin.

Authorities say another dog being housed by the family was found dead from blunt-force trauma, possibly from a gunshot.

The Telegraph of Macon reports that the crimes were discovered over the weekend in the community about 25 miles west of Macon.

Crawford County Sheriff Lewis Walker said authorities have few leads to go on.

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Former Verizon worker sent to prison in fraud case

ATLANTA — Authorities say a former Verizon Wireless employee has been sentenced to prison after federal officials say he ordered nearly $2.8 million in equipment for the firm and then sold it out of his Georgia home.

Prosecutors say 62-year-old Michael W. Baxter of Ball Ground used the proceeds to buy cars, jewelry and cosmetic surgeries for his girlfriend.

The Atlanta Journal-Constitution reports that Baxter was sentenced to four years in prison after he was convicted of wire fraud.

Authorities say Baxter ordered the communications equipment from Cisco Systems over a decade when he was employed as a Verizon network engineer. U.S. Attorney Sally Quillian Yates said Baxter then funded a lavish lifestyle.

Baxter was also ordered to pay $2.3 million in restitution to Cisco Systems and $462,828 to Verizon.

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Bibb sheriff's office to discuss traffic stop

photo

The Macon Telegraph

Judge Howard Sims speaks at his 2011 swearing-in.

MACON, Ga. — Officials from the Bibb County Sheriff's Office will discuss the findings of an internal probe into a traffic stop involving a local judge.

The Macon Telegraph reports that officers stopped Bibb County Judge Howard Simms on Sept. 22 for a license check.

The judge was allowed to drive home although a test showed his alcohol level was above the legal limit. Lt. Sean DeFoe said authorities will discuss discipline action involving three deputy officers at a news conference Thursday.

Simms has not been charged with any crimes and didn't return a message seeking comment. Sheriff Jerry Modena previously said that Simms did not request special treatment.