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Top 10 clicked-on stories of 2014
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Meth or Spaghettios?

Gainesville police searched a car following a tag light violation traffic stop in July. After the officer found a spoon and a glass smoking device, he tested the spoon for methamphetamine, according to police. Ashley Huff said she told the officer the spoon had Spaghettios on it. The field test was positive, but a later analysis at the crime lab didn’t show any controlled substances on the spoon. After Huff spent months in jail, the charges were dropped. This story was picked up by sites like Reddit, Gawker and New York Daily News, many of which linked back to causing the story to skyrocket in popularity. The debut story was the most- read story in 2014, and a follow-up story with more details ranked at No. 5.

Wreck kills 5, including 3 children

An SUV crossed into the other lane on Athens Highway, hitting a tractor-trailer and killing all five in the SUV in this devastating June incident. Among those killed were a 2-year-old, 8-year-old and 13-year-old. The tractor-trailer driver survived. It was later determined that the driver of the SUV had meth in her system.

Gainesville man arrested after jogging teen kidnapped

A 17-year-old was jogging when she said a man kidnapped her, taking her back to his home where he sexually assaulted her. When the man’s girlfriend knocked on the door, the girl ran to her for help and she and the man took the girl home, according to testimony at a committal hearing. The man, Brandon Nix, 27, faces multiple charges and is awaiting his next date in court.

Shooting outside tavern leaves 1 dead

Two men were leaving Branch House Tavern in Flowery Branch when one shot the other. The shooter spoke with authorities and it was later determined that the shooting was an act of self-defense, according to Flowery Branch police. Donald Lee Battle Jr. of Buford confronted Dustin Cody Holcombe of Homer and his date. Holcombe then retreated to his car, where he had a firearm, according to police.

Suspect charged after 2 women shot

A Gainesville man shot and wounded two women in this August incident, according to police. Gainesville police testified at a hearing later that the shooter, Antwan Xavier Earls, 24, may have been motivated by jealousy. He was in a relationship with one of the women and saw a phone number in her phone and suspected infidelity, police said. Earls was indicted on multiple charges in October.

Flowery Branch woman arrested in sex-trafficking sting

A Flowery Branch woman was one of more than 70 Georgia residents arrested in a child sex-trafficking sting in June. Tarah Cassandra Ellis, 34, was booked into the Gwinnett County Jail on June 17 on a charge of prostitution. According to the Gwinnett County court website, Ellis entered a guilty plea on July 23, receiving a sentence of 12 months probation.

Hall County teacher builds student a prosthetic hand

A boy with missing fingers got a new hand just before Christmas, thanks to a teacher at Chestatee High School and the wonders of 3-D printing technology. This story was very popular on Facebook, and most people reached the article through social media.

Cornelia woman charged with vehicular homicide

According to authorities, a woman ran a motorcycle off the road and then left the scene of the incident in this October case. Ruby Marie Marshall, 64, is charged with first-degree vehicular homicide in the death of the motorcyclist, Jerald Benjamin Freeman.

Speed blamed in motorcycle wreck that kills 2

A man and woman on a motorcycle died when it went into the median and the driver lost control about 1 a.m. on a Saturday. The incident was discovered later that morning, and the Georgia State Patrol cited speed as the main factor.

Mother, daughter charged in prostitution sting

A Flowery Branch mother and daughter, Rhonda Haugland and Andria Danielle Kipp, were charged following an investigation into Internet ads on A sting was set up in which an undercover agent called a number and negotiated a price for “companionship or sexual favors.” Kipp and Haugland were charged in State Court on Dec. 12, according to an accusation signed by Solicitor General Stephanie Woodard.