- The Washington Times - Monday, January 15, 2007

CALIFORNIA

Radio contestant dies of water intoxication

SACRAMENTO — A woman who competed in a radio station’s contest to see how much water she could drink without going to the bathroom died of water intoxication, the coroner’s office said Saturday.

Jennifer Strange, 28, was found dead Friday in her suburban Rancho Cordova home hours after taking part in the “Hold Your Wee for a Wii” contest in which KDND 107.9 promised a Nintendo Wii video game system for the winner.

“She said to one of our supervisors that she was on her way home and her head was hurting her real bad,” said Laura Rios, one of the contestant’s co-workers at Radiological Associates of Sacramento. “She was crying and that was the last that anyone had heard from her.”

It was not known how much water she consumed.

“I was talking to her and she was a nice lady,” fellow contestant James Ybarra of Woodland said. “She was telling me about her family and her three kids, and how she was doing it for kids.”

CONNECTICUT

Prize bulldog’s puppies stolen

BRIDGEPORT — Thieves broke into an apartment and stole four English bulldog puppies sired by last year’s best of breed winner at the Westminster Dog Show, city police said.

Henry Valer said he found his apartment door kicked in Thursday when he returned home from work and the 5-week-old puppies valued at a total of $10,000 were gone.

Mr. Valer, 33, a breeder registered with the American Kennel Club, said the three males and a female are the offspring of his male dog, Cherokee Legend Rock.

ILLINOIS

Stationary biker rides 85 hours

BURR RIDGE — George Hood may have pedaled his way into the Guinness World Records book on Saturday night.

The 49-year-old Aurora resident began riding a stationary bike at the Five Seasons Sports Club in Burr Ridge at 4 a.m. Wednesday and surpassed the record of 82 hours by 8:28 p.m. Saturday. He stopped several minutes before midnight after completing his goal of 85 hours.

Matt Baron, a spokesman for Five Seasons, said the Drug Enforcement Administration supervisor and 23-year federal law-enforcement veteran was talking and thanking his supporters right up to the end. Paramedics took Mr. Hood to a hospital as a precaution after he dismounted the bike.

“He’ll be under observation for a while, and they’re going to administer fluids,” Mr. Baron said.

Brian Overkaer of Denmark set the record of 82 hours last year. Getting Mr. Hood’s accomplishment into Guinness may take several weeks as officials need to certify it, Mr. Baron said.

MASSACHUSETTS

Big Dig tunnel reopens to traffic

BOSTON — A tunnel in the Big Dig highway complex was reopened to traffic yesterday, six months after a section of its ceiling collapsed and killed a woman in a car.

The eastbound lanes of the Interstate 90 connector tunnel had been closed since the July 10 collapse that killed Milena Del Valle, 39.

The tunnel was reopened after inspectors approved repairs in which workers installed a bracket-and-hanger system to support the concrete ceiling panels.

With the reopening, just one tunnel that was closed after the collapse remains shut down — a high-occupancy-vehicle lane, which is still undergoing repairs.

The $14.6 billion Big Dig project buried Interstate 93 in central Boston and opened new connections to Logan International Airport. It is the most expensive highway project in U.S. history, and had been plagued by cost overruns and leaks before the fatal collapse.

NEW YORK

Study links gene to Alzheimer’s

NEW YORK — A huge international study has identified a gene that apparently can raise the risk of developing the most common form of Alzheimer’s disease, a discovery that may help scientists develop new treatments.

Scientists analyzed the DNA of more than 6,000 people from a variety of ethnic groups and found evidence implicating certain versions of the gene, called SORL1.

It’s too soon to tell how much those gene versions raise the risk of acquiring Alzheimer’s, or what percentage of cases they represent, the researchers said. They said the effect on risk appears to be modest.

Shedding light on the biology of the illness could help scientists find new treatments, said Jonathan Haines of Vanderbilt University, not involved in the work, and other analysts.

Up to 4.5 million Americans are estimated to have Alzheimer’s, which gradually destroys memory and other mental abilities. No cure has been found.

The study, released yesterday on the Web site of the journal Nature Genetics, focused on Alzheimer’s that appears after age 65, the most common type.

OKLAHOMA

7 Mexicans die in minivan crash

ELK CITY — A minivan carrying 12 persons skidded off an icy highway early yesterday and slammed into an oncoming tractor-trailer, killing seven, the Oklahoma Highway Patrol said.

The eastbound van slid through the center median and struck a westbound tractor-trailer on Interstate 40 about 3:50 a.m., Trooper Kera Philippi said. Five of the van’s occupants were taken to a hospital, Trooper Philippi said. Their injuries did not appear to be life-threatening, a hospital spokesman said.

The identities of the woman and six men killed were not released. Trooper Philippi said all the van’s occupants were adult residents of Mexico, and interpreters were being used to locate next of kin.

At the time of the crash, about 110 miles west of Oklahoma City, freezing rain was falling and visibility was limited, said the National Weather Service. A powerful winter storm had coated roads and highways with ice and sleet.

TENNESSEE

Suspect suggests woman killed early

KNOXVILLE — A young woman abducted with her boyfriend during a violent carjacking might have been killed soon after him, according to court papers filed Friday that suggest at least two of the four suspects have given statements to police.

The victims, Christopher Newsom, 23, and Channon Christian, 21, were last seen Jan. 6 while on a date.

Mr. Newsom’s body was found the next day along a rail line. It had been set on fire, Chief Deputy U.S. Marshal Rich Knighten said. He “suffered multiple gunshot wounds,” according to court papers. Miss Christian’s body was found two days later in a house rented by one of the suspects, Lemaricus Davidson, 25, who was charged with carjacking and related counts Friday.

Deputy Knighten told the Associated Press that Miss Christian was held “for a couple of days and brutally raped and sexually assaulted.” However, suspect Eric DeWayne Boyd, 34, gave police a statement after his arrest Thursday that suggested Miss Christian may have been dead by Jan. 7. Court papers say Mr. Boyd claims he visited Mr. Davidson that day and Mr. Davidson was planning to flee. Mr. Boyd, who was charged with being an accessory after the fact to a carjacking, said he helped Mr. Davidson slip out of the house.

Authorities have not said how the woman died.

From wire dispatches and staff reports

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