EYEWITNESS LOCAL NEWSYEAR IN REVIEW
from Eyewitness News Online
From The Tragic To The Unbelievable, We Take A Look Back At The Biggest Stories Of 2012
Reported by: Kallie Cart
Web Producer: Kallie Cart
Reported: Dec. 31, 2012 10:40 AM EST
Updated: Dec. 31, 2012 1:06 PM EST
From the tragic to the unbelievable, the year 2012 was full of memorable stories that affected countless lives and many even made national headlines. Here is a look back at the biggest stories in 2012.
No story likely affected more people than the weather. Some wild and historic storms rolled through our region.
In March, a series of tornadoes caused widespread damage and even deaths. Two tornadoes touched down in our area, damaging several communities from West Liberty, Ky., to Kermit, W.Va.
Then at the end of June, the derecho hit, a word that many likely had never heard but now will not forget. Extremely high winds, hit fast, causing massive damage and knocking out power to most of the state. Some were in the dark for two weeks.
Three months later, another serious weather blow, this time from Superstorm Sandy. The historic storm, just before Halloween, turned into a blizzard once it hit West Virginia. killing six people in the Mountain State and leaving 200,000 in the dark for up to a week.
And then there were many personal tragedies in 2012, with so many lives taken too soon.
In August, two West Virginia state troopers, Cpl. Marshall Bailey and Trooper Eric Workman, were shot to death in Clay County during a routine traffic stop. The state and nation paused to remember those men and their service to our community.
And who can forget the deadliest house fire in Charleston's history? Nine family members were killed including seven very young children when their home went up in flames.
In another incredibly sad story, 11-year-old Jahlil Clements was remembered as a hero after being hit and killed by a car while trying to get help for his mother who was being beaten by her boyfriend in their car along Interstate 77 in March. His mother's boyfriend, Ethan Chic-Colbert, was found guilty of gross child neglect and domestic battery. His trial was televised on “Court TV.”
Several high-profile crime cases dominated the headlines in 2012.
After a two-year search for missing woman Kathy Goble by her friends and co-workers at Kelley's Mens Shop in Charleston, in a shocking twist, one of her co-workers was arrested in April. Goble's body was found dismembered and buried in Charles March's front yard in Chesapeake. March pleaded guilty to murder and is awaiting his sentencing in January.
And the case against Kanawha County sniper Shawn Lester came to a close in 2012, nearly nine years after a shooting spree outside of three gas stations that terrorized the entire area. Lester pleaded guilty to second-degree murder for the death of one of the victims, Jeanie Patton.
A giant gas pipeline explosion rocked Sissonville in early December. The ball of fire heavily damaged Interstate 77 and destroyed four homes. Miraculously, no one was killed or seriously injured. The investigation is still ongoing, but officials say pipe deterioration could be to blame.
A carbon monoxide leak at a hotel in South Charleston caused a major scare and killed one man who was staying at the Holiday Inn on business. In response to the leak, legislators passed a bill requiring carbon monoxide detectors in public places.
Huntington was on fire in 2012. More than 100 arsons were reported. Three people have been convicted, seven are awaiting trial, but many of the fires remain unsolved.
It was a big year in the political world in 2012.
President Barack Obama won re-election in November, but the Mountain State went red and made national news during the primary when 40 percent of West Virginians voted for an incarcerated felon from Texas instead of Obama.
Gov. Earl Ray Tomblin won re-election in November. The victory came a little more than a year after he won the special election. This will be Tumbling’s first full four-year term.
There was political controversy in 2012, with three elected officials from Lincoln County caught up in a voter fraud scandal. All three were sentenced to time in prison.
The West Virginia Board of Education also made headlines after the surprise and controversial firing of Superintendent Korea Maple. Her replacement will start at the beginning of the year.
In the sports world in 2012, West Virginia lost a true mountaineer in May. Former West Virginia University football Coach Bill Stewart died after suffering a heart attack on the golf course. He led the Mountaineers for three winning seasons, including a historic win in the Fiesta Bowl in 2008.
And the Mountaineers made their debut in the Big 12 Conference in 2012. They finished the season with a 7-6 record, including a loss in the Pinstripe Bowl in New York City.
And you also helped Eyewitness News make a difference this year.
Following that tragic fire in Charleston, you helped us raise $18,000 for smoke alarms in our operation "Never Again!" to save lives from fires.
You also responded after the killing of two state troopers, helping us raise nearly $15,000 through our "In-Vest" initiative to buy bulletproof vests for officers throughout the state.
And more than a thousand kids had a very merry Christmas thanks to your generosity. You helped make our “Tower of Toys” drive one of the most successful on record.
These are just some of the stories that touched our lives this year. Here's to a happy 2013!
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