State roundup: Man attacks hospital workers in Wilmington

Published 12:00 am Friday, January 21, 2022

Associated Press

WILMINGTON — A man choked a hospital worker unconscious and tried to snap another employee’s neck during a rampage inside a North Carolina emergency room earlier this week, authorities said.

Rothwell Jacob Simmons, 24, has been charged with two counts of attempted first-degree murder and two counts of assault by strangulation, according to the New Hanover County Sheriff’s Office. Simmons was arrested at New Hanover Regional Medical Center after Tuesday’s attack. His bond was set at $7.5 million, news outlets reported.

According to WECT-TV, Simmons appeared in court on Wednesday and, when asked if he wanted to hire his own attorney, Simmons told the judge, “I’m not sure man, I don’t know what the hell got into me.”

According to an arrest warrant, Simmons threw the first victim on the ground, choking her until she became unconscious. He also tried to snap the second victim’s neck, leaving the woman with neck injuries and contusions as he strangled her, officials said.

A spokesperson for Novant Health confirmed the attack, but declined to reveal the extent of the victims’ injuries.  Officials have not said what may have provoked the attack.

Greenville engine maker closes, puts 475 out of work

GREENVILLE — A North Carolina manufacturing plant which makes small engines for windshield wipers, electric windows and other car parts says it is shutting down, putting nearly 500 people out of a job.

DENSO Manufacturing told local economic development officials on Tuesday that layoffs at the Greenville plant will take place later this year and that it will close its doors by January 2023, news outlets reported. The move affects 475 workers, who were told on Tuesday of the impending shutdown.

Since 2019, DENSO’s parent company has been reorganizing, said Brad Hufford, vice president of business development for the Greenville-ENC Alliance. Hufford said he believes that the decision to close the plant is a result of corporate streamlining.

The company said in a statement that the closure was part of an effort to optimize its North American manufacturing operations. DENSO’s closest plant is in Statesville, 229 miles (368 km) west of Greenville.

The Japanese-owned facility opened as ASMO Greenville in 1995. In 2013, DENSO began a $50 million expansion that included an eight-year incentive agreement with Pitt County to add 200 jobs. The county paid the company more than $187,000 annually.

Woman dies after being thrown from car in Greensboro

GREENSBORO — A North Carolina woman was killed Wednesday night in a rollover wreck after she was thrown from a car that was carrying her two children, the N.C. State Highway Patrol said.

The News & Record of Greensboro reported Christina Marie Durham, 30, of Greensboro, was killed when her car ran off a local street, hit a ditch and overturned, the patrol said. Durham was not wearing a seatbelt, was thrown from the car and died at the scene, the patrol said in a news release.

Durham’s children suffered minor injuries and were treated and released at a local hospital, a patrol spokesman said. The children were wearing seatbelts at the time of the crash.

Road conditions resulting from recent winter weather in the area may have contributed to the accident, troopers said, adding that the accident is still under investigation.