5 things you need to know Wednesday

1. Haz-Mat monitoring air quality in Cabarrus County following chemical leak

Crews were monitoring the air quality in Harrisburg Monday morning following an overnight chemical leak. The Haz-Mat team was called out to a packaging company on Mulberry Road, right off Highway 49 in Harrisburg around 1 a.m. Monday morning.

NBC Charlotte was told there was one rail car at the chemical plant leaking a chemical called butadiene. The chemical is used to make rubber and is a colorless gas that can cause eye, throat and nose irritation if come into contact with. Around 50 employees from the chemical plant was evacuated early Monday morning following the leak. No injuries were reported.

Haz-Mat secured the leak around 3 a.m. but continued to stay on scene to monitor the air quality as a precaution. Pharr Mill Road and Highway 49 were re-opened around 4:30 a.m.

2. 8 killed in 'act of terror' on NYC bike path, suspect in custody

Eight people have died and at least 11 others were injured after a truck drove onto a bicycle path in Lower Manhattan, in what officials are calling a 'cowardly act of terror.'

Officials said six victims, all men, were pronounced dead at the scene. Two critically injured people died at the hospital and 11 others have serious but non-life threatening injuries, police say.

Five of the eight killed were from Argentina and one was from Belgium, the countries' foreign ministries said, respectively.

The attacker, 29-year-old Sayfullo Saipov, drove a rental truck that appeared to be from Home Depot onto the path just after 3 p.m., striking multiple people. He continued south for about a mile and hit a school bus, according to investigators. Click here to continue reading.

3. Panthers trade Kelvin Benjamin to Buffalo

Kelvin Benjamin is moving north. Just minutes before the NFL trade deadline, the Carolina Panthers traded the former first-round wide receiver to Buffalo in exchange for two draft picks. ESPN's Adam Schefter first broke the story. 

RELATED: Cam Newton reacts to Benjamin trade: 'Some things you will never understand!'

The Panthers will receive a third-round and seventh-round draft pick for Benjamin. The Panthers drafted Benjamin with the 28th overall pick in the 2014 NFL Draft. Benjamin missed the team's 2015 season with a knee injury. Through eight games, Benjamin has 32 receptions for 475 yards and two touchdowns, including a score against Tampa Bay last week. 

4. Owner of Biltmore Estate dies at the age of 89

William Amherst Vanderbilt Cecil, owner of the Biltmore Estate and a champion of its preservation and success, died at his Asheville home Tuesday.

Cecil also was the grandson of the estate's famous builder, George Washington Vanderbilt III. Cecil was 89.

“My father’s legacy is immeasurable for our family,” Bill Cecil Jr., William Cecil’s son and president & CEO of the Biltmore Company, which owns and operates Biltmore Estate, said in a press release. “He will always be remembered for his leadership, vision and dedication to Biltmore. He had the foresight to do what everyone thought was impossible." Click here to see some incredible pictures of Cecil from over the years.

5. $50,000 in cash a year: Inside the lucrative lives on Charlotte panhandlers

There are rules against panhandling in the City of Charlotte yet it’s an issue police say they are still working to get a handle on.

“It's certainly an issue,” explained Charlotte-Mecklenburg Police community coordinator, Russ Faulkenberry.

You’re likely to see people asking for money at major intersections like the inner loop of I-485 and South Boulevard and I-85 and Brookshire Boulevard.

While some say they are breaking the rules, others would argue it’s a way for those down on their luck to get by. Click here for the Defenders' full investigative report.

© 2017 WCNC.COM


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