Latest North Carolina news, sports, business and entertainment at 9:20 p.m. EDT


N Carolina documents first case of COVID-19 community spread

North Carolina's governor says the state has documented its first case of community spread of coronavirus as positive cases climbed to nearly 100 overall. Gov. Roy Cooper also said unemployment benefit requests had surged to 18,000 since he issued an executive order Tuesday loosening the rules for such claims as businesses reduce operations due to social distancing and other virus-fighting measures. The state typically sees about 3,000 claims per week under normal circumstances. Cooper said the state confirmed the case of community spread of COVID-19 in Wilson County, meaning the person testing positive had not traveled to a coronavirus hot spot or been in contact with someone known to have it.


Deputies pull over stolen trailer full of toilet paper

GREENSBORO, N.C. (AP) — With toilet paper flying off the shelves, a North Carolina truck diver caused a stir when he was pulled over hauling 18,000 pounds of bathroom products in a stolen trailer. The Guilford County Sheriff's Office issued a news release saying that deputies on Wednesday spotted the driver of an 18-wheeler and determined the trailer was stolen. They followed him to a warehouse off the interstate and discovered that the driver was hauling 18,000 pounds of commercial bathroom paper products, according to the release. Capt. Daryl Loftis said by phone that the cargo included a mixture of paper towels, toilet paper and other commercial products.


Virus postpones former coach's sentencing for fatal punch

NEW YORK (AP) — The sentencing of a former Wake Forest University assistant basketball coach convicted of assault for fatally punching a man in New York City has been postponed because of the coronavirus pandemic. A spokeswoman for the Queens district attorney's office says Jamill Jones' March 18 sentencing has been adjourned to June 16. Jones was convicted of assault last month for delivering the punch that killed Sandor Szabo in August 2018. He faces up to a year in prison when he is sentenced. Jones testified at his trial that he hit Szabo in self-defense and to protect his then-fiancée.


'Sea calf' born to cow that swam to shore after hurricane

BEAUFORT, N.C. (AP) — A calf has been born to a pregnant cow who swam 4 miles to shore after being swept away by Hurricane Dorian in September. The Charlotte Observer reports the newborn “sea calf” is the offspring of one of three cows found in North Carolina’s Outer Banks after Dorian. Residents of Cedar Island say it has been hard to get close to the mother and calf for a photo because they run at the sight of humans. When Hurricane Dorian generated an 8-foot “mini tsunami," it washed away dozens of animals away and killed 28 wild horses.


North Carolina college investigates use of force by officers

GREENSBORO, N.C. (AP) — Two police officers at a North Carolina university have been placed on administrative leave. University officials took the action after video emerged of the officers forcing a student to the ground and threatening to use Mace on him during an arrest. Officials said in a statement that North Carolina A&T State University is investigating the confrontation, which was captured on video and posted to Twitter early Wednesday morning. University police said Verdant Julius was charged with resisting a public officer and released. Some students have signed an online petition calling for the charges to be dropped.


Sheriff: Inmate found unresponsive in cell pronounced dead

CHARLOTTE, N.C. (AP) — A North Carolina sheriff says an inmate was found unresponsive in his cell before being pronounced dead. News outlets report 45-year-old Willie Burks died Wednesday morning at a hospital in Charlotte. The Mecklenburg County sheriff says Burks didn't have a fever and there were no signs of foul play. He had been in the county jail since June. A medical examiner has been called in to determine the cause of death. State officials are investigating.


Authorities: 3 killed in North Carolina house fire

FAYETTEVILLE, N.C. (AP) — A fire department in North Carolina has confirmed that three people were killed in an early morning house fire. The Fayetteville Fire Department said in a statement Thursday that crews responded to a report of a house fire after 2 a.m. Officials say firefighters saw heavy fire visible from the outside of the single story home and residents were reported to be trapped inside. The department said crews recovered three bodies during a search. The victims weren't immediately identified and it was unclear whether anyone made it out. The fire department and Fayetteville police are investigating the cause of the blaze.


N. Carolina jobless claims surge from virus layoffs

RALEIGH, N.C. (AP) — Unemployment benefit requests in North Carolina surged this week due to the new coronavirus as business activity slowed and as a ban on dining in at restaurants and bars began. The state Division of Employment Security says the number of claims in which people blamed COVID-19 for their layoffs or for reduced hours surpassed the average weekly number of overall claims in less than 24 hours. Similar jobless claim surges are occurring in other states. North Carolina state health officials now count more than 60 residents as testing positive for the virus. Attorney General Josh Stein says his agency is investigating price-gouging complaints.