- The Washington Times - Tuesday, December 19, 2000

Fall from plane ruled a suicide

SAN FRANCISCO The Sacramento County coroner ruled yesterday that a Hewlett-Packard Co. employee who plunged to her death from a corporate plane committed suicide.

Elisabeth Mathilde Otto, 29, apparently opened an emergency exit and jumped from 2,000 feet Thursday evening. Her body was found Friday in a vegetable garden just south of Sacramento.

Mrs. Otto's family had urged her to seek counseling for depression, a source close to the investigation told the Associated Press on the condition of anonymity.

Pro wrestler saves man by tearing off door

MORGAN CITY, La. A 6-foot-7, 372-pound pro wrestler used brute strength to pry open the jammed door of a burning pickup truck and save the driver's life.

Chad Bonvillain, a bail-enforcement officer who wrestles as Bronco Bob, was driving by when Gary Smith's pickup collided with a tractor-trailer Saturday about 40 miles from New Orleans.

"When I pulled up and saw the flames, there were four people standing around watching and not doing anything to help him," Mr. Bonvillain said. "I couldn't just stand there, I had to try something."

Mr. Bonvillain and a bystander pulled a woman out the passenger door but couldn't get to Mr. Smith. "At first, I couldn't get [the driver's side door] to budge," he said. "I just kept pulling and pulling until the metal started to bend."

Mr. Bonvillain then grabbed Mr. Smith around the neck and carried him to safety. Mr. Smith had a broken arm and several broken ribs. Police charged him with drunken driving.

U.S. temperatures warmer in 2000

Although the United States is ending this year with colder-than-normal temperatures, the nation logged above-average temperatures for most of the year, government forecasters said yesterday.

The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) said the average annual U.S. temperature for 2000 was projected at between 54.1 and 54.2 degrees Fahrenheit, well above the average of 52.8 degrees Fahrenheit logged since 1895.

U.S. temperatures have risen by 0.9 degree Fahrenheit per century over the past 100 years. But within the past 25 years, U.S. temperatures increased at a rate nearly twice that fast, NOAA said.

During the past year, heat waves and drought covered much of the Southern and Western states while the Midwest and Northeast experienced prolonged periods of cooler and wetter weather than normal.

Armed man arrested near Bush's ranch

WACO, Texas A 29-year-old Florida man has been arrested after being caught driving a car containing firearms near President-elect George W. Bush's ranch near Crawford, according to a report yesterday.

The Waco Tribune-Herald reported that suspect John Michael Hughes of Pensacola was taken into custody Saturday evening after being arrested by a sheriff's deputy assigned to Mr. Bush's security detail.

Sheriff Larry Lynch would not discuss the specifics of Mr. Hughes' arrest, the Tribune-Herald reported.

The number of guns retrieved from the vehicle was not disclosed. No shots were fired and there were no reported injuries, the newspaper said.

Former Iowa governor suffers heart attack

DES MOINES, Iowa Former Iowa Gov. Terry Branstad had a heart attack after exercising yesterday and underwent an operation at a Des Moines hospital, where he was in serious condition, his spokesman said.

Mr. Branstad, 54, a four-term Republican who left office in January 1999, felt dizzy and had chest pains while returning to his car after a morning workout.

At the hospital, he underwent a balloon angioplasty, in which a device is threaded through a clogged artery, and a stent was inserted to keep the artery open.

Since leaving office, Mr. Branstad has taught a college course, served on several corporate boards, and consulted with a lobbying firm.

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