- The Washington Times - Wednesday, August 1, 2007

CALIFORNIA

Overpass collapse hurts worker, driver

OROVILLE — A highway overpass that was under construction collapsed yesterday, crushing a delivery truck and injuring a construction worker who clung to a steel beam as it tumbled 50 feet to the ground.

Firefighters swarmed the FedEx delivery truck to cut its driver from underneath a large steel beam that crushed the hood but missed the cab. A second beam landed on the back of the truck.

The cause of the collapse was being investigated.

The driver, Robert Sylvester, 46, of Chico, was pulled free about 2½ hours after he was trapped. Janet Upton, a spokeswoman for the California Department of Forestry and Fire Protection, said Mr. Sylvester suffered injuries to his lower extremities. He was in good condition, Enloe Medical Center spokeswoman Sharon Cuglietta said.

The construction worker, Jeffrey Doll, 39, of Olivehurst, who was on top of the structure, was in serious condition with a fractured pelvis, fractured left elbow and broken lower left leg, officials said.

FLORIDA

Tropical storm projected to weaken

MIAMI — Tropical Storm Chantal, the third named storm of the Atlantic hurricane season, was expected to weaken as it moved across the ocean yesterday but could carry heavy rain to Canada, forecasters said.

The storm, which was not expected to threaten the United States, had maximum sustained winds of 50 mph and was centered about 235 miles south-southwest of Halifax, Nova Scotia, at 5 p.m., according to the National Hurricane Center. It was moving northeast at about 26 mph.

GEORGIA

Car dealer accused in employees’ deaths

ATLANTA — The owner of a car dealership killed two employees because they kept asking for pay raises, police said yesterday.

Rolandas Milinavicius was charged in the fatal shootings of Inga Contreras, 25, and Martynas Simokaitis, 28. All three were from Lithuania but had been living in Atlanta, authorities said.

Mr. Milinavicius, who reportedly was having financial problems, told police that he shot the two Thursday after they kept asking for more pay, said police in East Point, which is just outside Atlanta.

Mr. Milinavicius, 38, surrendered two days after the shootings and confessed to the killings, telling police he had been under a lot of stress, East Point Police Capt. Russell Popham said.

INDIANA

Copper theft spoils food bank groceries

INDIANAPOLIS — Thieves stole copper pipe from a freezer at the state’s largest food bank, wasting nearly $500,000 worth of food meant to help the poor, police said.

The copper theft was captured by security cameras Friday night, police said, but the freezer’s failure wasn’t discovered until Monday. By then, thousands of pounds of groceries at the Gleaners Food Bank had become unusable.

It was the third time in two months that copper had been taken from Gleaners. The food bank serves more than 300,000 people through more than 400 pantries and charities in 20 central Indiana counties.

The theft could cost Gleaners $464,000 in lost food, plus $20,000 for immediate repairs.

NEW JERSEY

Four cities approved for needle exchanges

TRENTON — Intravenous drug users will be able to acquire clean needles in four New Jersey cities under an experimental program approved yesterday to try to slow the spread of HIV and AIDS.

The needle exchange pilot program approved for Atlantic City, Camden, Newark and Paterson will end New Jersey’s status as the only state without a legal way for drug users to get clean syringes.

The state Legislature approved a pilot program last year that allows up to six cities to establish needle exchanges for three years.

The four cities approved by the state Department of Health and Senior Services can begin operating their programs as soon as Sept. 1, but must be operating by Dec. 1.

PENNSYLVANIA

Hospital bans Crocs for workers

PITTSBURGH — Crocs, the rubbery, cloglike shoes, have been deemed inappropriate footwear for workers in patient-care areas at a hospital.

Holes that ventilate the shoes pose a safety hazard, said Sharon Krystofiak, Mercy Hospital’s infection control manager.

“If there’s a chance you could drop something like a syringe in one of them, we want to avoid that,” Miss Krystofiak said. “Some of those holes are relatively large, almost like a dime.”

Mercy nurse Kara Depasquale, 23, was wearing Crocs on Monday, when the policy went into effect. She called it ridiculous.

“I mean, I can get a needle stuck in my arm or my leg,” Miss Depasquale said. “I work 12-hour shifts, and I’m constantly on my feet.”

RHODE ISLAND

Nightclub fire figure to seek parole

PROVIDENCE — The former rock band tour manager whose pyrotechnics ignited a nightclub fire that killed 100 persons is scheduled for a parole hearing on Sept. 19 that could result in his early release from prison, the chairwoman of the parole board said yesterday.

Daniel Biechele will become eligible for parole in September after serving 16 months, or one-third of his four-year prison sentence.

He pleaded guilty last year to 100 counts of involuntary manslaughter for his role in the Feb. 20, 2003, fire. The blaze began when Biechele ignited pyrotechnics at the start of a concert for the metal band Great White at the Station nightclub in West Warwick.

SOUTH CAROLINA

2 children found dead in trash bags

HANAHAN — Two children who had been left in a hot car while their mother was at work were later found dead, their bodies wrapped in trash bags under an apartment sink, authorities said yesterday.

Autopsies were scheduled yesterday for 1-year-old Triniti Campbell and her 4-year-old brother, Shawn Campbell Jr., Berkeley County Deputy Coroner George Oliver said.

The children’s mother, Sametta Heyward, 27, had taken them to work Monday in downtown Charleston and left them in her car all day as the temperature outside rose to 88 degrees, Mr. Oliver said.

Officers investigating a report of a disturbance at her apartment Monday night found her crying and yelling, “Oh, my babies,” according to a police report.

A man holding her told officers “the kids were in trash bags and under the cabinet.” The police report said the woman tried to bite and kick the officers and was restrained. She was taken to a hospital because medics thought she could be having seizures.

From wire dispatches and staff reports

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