Deadly Prattville Accident

May 19, 2014

Alabama State Troopers say a Prattville man was killed in a traffic accident Sunday night.  Troopers said 27-year-old Ricky Bazzel died when the car he was driving left the roadway and struck a tree.  The crash happened just after 8:30 p.m. on Autauga County 10, about five miles west of Prattville.  Troopers said Bazzel was not wearing a seat belt.  The crash remains under investigation. 

GM Lawsuit

General Motors was hit with the maximum fine government safety regulators can impose last week for its delay in issuing a recall linked to ignition switches.  Lawyers for victims either injured or killed in accidents to the defect say the $35 million penalty is just a first step.  Montgomery Attorney Jere Beasley says major changes are needed within the safety regulation system itself.  The company has acknowledged knowing that the switches had problems as early as 2001.  But it didn't start recalling the cars until February of this year.  Beasley's firm along with an Atlanta firm will be handling product liability claims against GM. He predicts the auto manufacturer will ultimately have to pay billions of dollars in compensation. 

ASU Nigerian Students

Many nations are calling for the safe return of nearly 300 Nigerian girls that were kidnapped more than a month ago.  The young girls were taken by the extremist group Boko Haram.  Ruth Ofua, a Nigerian student at Alabama State University, says she's deeply hurt by this news and also concerned about the mental health of the captives.  Ofua is hoping for the safe return of the girls and that their families will find peace in the meantime. 

Dwindling Pension

A study says pension funds serving more than 335,000 Alabama state workers and retirees could run out of money in a decade if changes aren't made. reports the study conducted by the Manuel H. Johnson Center for Political Economy at Troy State University shows the Retirement Systems of Alabama are underfunded and rely on unrealistic expectation of 8 percent investment returns per year when calculating how much money will be available to pay future retirees.