Former Atlanta television personality Warren Savage has avoided trial for cocaine possession by completing a rigorous 18-month drug treatment program in Forsyth County.
At a ceremony for graduates of the program Monday night, Savage, who is in his mid-40s, said he's a changed man.
All that I am and all that I hope to be I owe to my Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ, with whom I have a much stronger connection than I have ever had before in my life," he told an auditorium filled with court officials, program alumni, and friends and family of the graduates.
Savage, who was an anchor at WSB-TV in Atlanta for more than 10 years, was arrested in Forsyth County in 2006 on cocaine possession charges.
He entered the Forsyth County Drug Court Program to avoid the possibility of a lengthy sentence.
In exchange, prosecutors promised to dismiss the possession charge, if he completed the program that, at least, initially, required counseling three days a week and court one day a week.
Forsyth County Superior Court Judge Jeffrey Bagley, who oversees the program, told the crowd that Savage had been derailed twice in his life by an addiction to crack cocaine.
The second time, which led to his arrest, came after Savage left WSB in 2005, the judge said.
"He ended up in Las Vegas, in what we call 'Sin City'. He was reintroduced to crack cocaine. From there, the addiction spiraled out of control."
Bagley said Savage was in the program for months before the judge could notice any significant change.
"He always seemed angry. He couldn't understand why he had to follow the rules. He referred to himself once as 'my whipping boy'."
But the turn-around came, the judge said.
"In his own words, he said: The road to hell is paved with good intentions. The road back is paved with humility," Bagley said. "Warren got it."