News MIDDAY UPDATE: Fewer Americans hit the road in June; deputy shot during northeast Ga. school standoff will have surgery; Georgia Aquarium to host Titanic exhibition

As summer vacation season kicked in, Americans got out of their cars, driving 12.2 billion fewer miles in June than the same month a year earlier.

The 4.7 percent decline, which came while gas prices were peaking, was the biggest monthly driving drop in a downward trend that began in November, the Federal Highway Administration said Wednesday.

‘‘Clearly, more Americans chose to stay close to home in June than in previous years,’’ said Transportation Secretary Mary Peters.

Overall, Americans drove 53.2 billion fewer miles November through June than they did over the same eight-month period a year earlier, according to the highway agency’s latest monthly report on driving.

That’s a larger decline than the 49.3 billion fewer miles driven by Americans over the entire decade of the 1970s, a period marked by oil embargoes and gas lines, the agency said.

Travel Industry Association spokeswoman Cathy Keefe said the June driving decline ‘‘is not surprising, given the environment that we were in.’’ But she was optimistic that the recent drop in gas prices to below $4 a gallon in many parts of the country will have travelers on the road again.

– Associated Press

Deputy shot during northeast Ga. school standoff to have surgery

A Hall County SWAT team member injured during a standoff in Lula in northeast Georgia will undergo a second surgery Wednesday.

Authorities say Hubert Stanley Tate shot deputy Joe Groover with a .44 Magnum revolver during a three-hours standoff at Tate's RV camper on Monday. Residents had seen Tate walking through town, past Lula Elementary, carrying a gun. The school was put on lockdown.

Tate was killed during an exchange of gunfire.

Groover was taken by helicopter to Grady Memorial Hospital in Atlanta and was in surgery for more than four hours.

He spent most of Tuesday in an intensive care unit at the hospital, recovering from more than four hours of surgery on his right arm.

– Associated Press

Georgia Aquarium to host exhibition of Titanic artifacts

An exhibition of artifacts from the ill-fated ocean liner R.M.S. Titanic will go on display at the Georgia Aquarium later this month.

The exhibition, presented by RMS Titanic Inc., will include interactive displays, videos and recreations of rooms aboard the ship. The Titanic sank on its maiden voyage across the Atlantic Ocean in 1912.

More than 190 artifacts recovered from the area where the ship sank will be put on display. The exhibition will tell a chronological story of life aboard the ship.

The exhibitor, RMS Titanic, has conducted seven search and recovery expeditions to the ship's wreckage. The exhibition opens on Aug. 22.

– Associated Press


– There could be a verdict in the trial of a Macon woman accused of child abuse in an incident that left her child severely brain damaged. Come back to our Web site for the latest courtroom developments.

– We'll tell you more about Melissa Peters Rushing, the woman who was killed and found burned last week in east Bibb County.


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