- The Washington Times - Thursday, August 11, 2005

ARIZONA

Flash flood sweeps girl, 7, to death

PHOENIX — A 7-year-old girl died in a flash flood that ripped her out of the grasp of a would-be rescuer as her family fled to higher ground.

The body of Marissa Reyes was found early yesterday, about 1 miles from the spot where the rushing water separated her from her family, authorities reported. Her rescuer and her relatives made it to safety Tuesday, said Sgt. Kip Rustenburg of the Maricopa County Sheriff’s Office.

Elsewhere in central Arizona, a man died when he tried to drive his pickup truck across a flooded riverbed near New River, north of Phoenix, said Lt. Paul Chagolla of the Maricopa County Sheriff’s Office.

CALIFORNIA

Woman dies in leap from limo

LOS ANGELES — A woman was killed yesterday when she leapt from a moving limousine into the path of traffic on a busy highway in what appears to have been a bizarre and grisly suicide, police said.

The woman, whose identity was withheld, was fatally injured when she jumped from a Hummer limousine into the path of traffic on Interstate 405 south of Los Angeles, the California Highway Patrol said.

FLORIDA

Reward offered for Humpty Dumpty

INDIAN SHORES — A couple is offering a reward for the return of a 3-foot-tall bronze Humpty Dumpty character that adorned their beachfront home. Hugh Smith and Diana Fuller said the piece of artwork vanished last weekend, and they desperately want it back.

The couple paid $5,112 for the piece, which was bolted atop a pillar of a concrete wall.

HAWAII

Soldier, civilian wife to face same judge

HONOLULU — A soldier accused of beating his 5-year-old daughter to death will be tried in civilian federal court so he and his wife can face murder charges before the same judge and jury, federal prosecutors said Tuesday.

The Army has agreed that “justice would best be served” if Spc. Naeem Williams and Delilah Williams appeared before the same court, U.S. Attorney Edward Kubo Jr. said.

Emergency-room doctors pronounced Talia Williams dead from “blunt head trauma due to battered child syndrome” shortly after she arrived at a hospital July 16. Doctors said the girl had bruises on her arms, chest, knees and thighs and a cut on her back.

Military prosecutors charged Spc. Williams, 25, stationed at Schofield Barracks, with murder last month. Mrs. Williams, Talia’s 21-year-old stepmother, was charged with first-degree murder in U.S. District Court because she is a civilian.

KANSAS

Board weakens role of evolution

OVERLAND PARK — After months of debate over science and religion, the Kansas State Board of Education tentatively has approved new state science standards that weaken the role evolution plays in teaching about the origin of life.

The 10-member board still must take a final vote, expected in either September or October, but a 6-4 vote Tuesday that approved a draft of the standards essentially cemented a victory for conservative Christian board members who say evolution largely is unproven and can undermine religious teachings about the origins of life on Earth.

The new science standards would not eliminate the teaching of evolution entirely, nor would they require that religious views, also known as creationism, be taught. The standards also would encourage teachers to discuss various viewpoints and eliminate core evolution theory as required curriculum.

MASSACHUSETTS

Cheerleader, 14, dies after stunt

TEWKSBURY — A high school freshman died after she was tossed into the air during a cheerleading routine and landed in her teammates’ arms chest-down rather than on her back as planned, authorities said.

Ashley Burns, 14, complained of abdominal pain and had trouble breathing shortly after the stunt, police Chief Alfred P. Donovan said.

“She said she thought she had the wind knocked out of her,” he said. “She was talking, but her condition worsened rapidly.”

Paramedics took Ashley to a hospital in Lowell, where she died. An autopsy was to be conducted to determine the cause of death.

NEW JERSEY

Girl killed by tree at Boy Scout camp

OCEAN TOWNSHIP — An 8-year-old girl died and at least three other children were injured yesterday when a tree fell on them at a Boy Scout camp, authorities said.

Police Chief Kenneth Flatt said the girl was killed when a 30-foot-tall oak tree fell. It was not clear whether the other three children were Scouts.

Joyce McFadden, a spokeswoman for Southern Ocean County Hospital in Manahawkin, said four children were brought to the emergency room there. Their conditions were not available.

NEW MEXICO

Copter shot down in burglary probe

ALBUQUERQUE — A sheriff’s department helicopter that crash-landed during a burglary investigation was brought down by gunfire, authorities said.

Bernalillo County Sheriff Darren White said authorities have no suspects but were working with the FBI. Investigators concluded the bullet struck a control pedal, he said.

Both the civilian pilot and the deputy who were on board when the helicopter went down early Saturday survived with minor injuries, including shrapnel wounds.

The pilot and deputy were assisting deputies on the ground who were investigating a burglary call when the helicopter lost power, Sheriff White said yesterday. The pilot told Sheriff White that he heard a pop before the helicopter pitched and the engine shut down.

Investigators examining the wreckage found what appeared to be a small hole in the cockpit windshield, and a bullet fragment was found in the deputy’s flight suit. Trajectory tests determined the bullet struck the helicopter’s left pedal, one of two that control the aircraft’s right or left motion.

TEXAS

State becomes majority-minority

EL PASO — Texas has become the fourth state to have a non-white majority population, the U.S. Census Bureau said today, a trend driven by a surging number of Hispanics moving to the state.

According to the population estimates based on the 2000 Census, about 50.2 percent of Texans are now minorities. In the 2000 Census, minorities made up about 47 percent of the population in the second-largest state.

Texas joins California, New Mexico and Hawaii as states with majority-minority populations — with Hispanics the largest group in every state but Hawaii, where Asian-Americans represent the largest minority.

From wire dispatches and staff reports

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