- The Washington Times - Monday, June 4, 2007

CALIFORNIA

Small quakes shake border communities

CALEXICO — A pair of small earthquakes shook desert communities near the U.S.-Mexico border, but there were no immediate reports of damage or injuries.

The initial magnitude 3.1 quake struck at 11:33 p.m. Saturday and was centered 42 miles southwest of Ocotillo, according to a preliminary report from the U.S. Geological Survey.

It was followed by another magnitude 3.1 temblor at 1:58 a.m. yesterday that was centered 20 miles southeast of Calexico, according to the USGS.

The communities are about 36 miles apart in southeastern California.

DELAWARE

Two teens drown during housewarming

ST. GEORGES — Two teenagers drowned in a backyard pool during a housewarming party, police said.

Martin Chinje, 16, of New Castle, and Leonard Sowajuh, 15, of Newark, left the indoor party to look at the pool Saturday. They were found about an hour later at 8:45 p.m. at the bottom of the pool when the home’s owner went to check on them, said Trinidad Navarro, a spokeswoman for the New Castle County police department.

The spokeswoman said investigators have not found any signs of foul play in the drownings at the home in the Antrim community near St. Georges. One was pronounced dead at the scene and the other en route to Christiana Hospital.

ILLINOIS

School food fight brings felony charge

AURORA — A high school senior accused of starting a massive food fight, which left a police officer injured, was among three students arrested in the prank.

At least 200 students were in West Aurora High School’s cafeteria when french fries, milk, sandwiches and pizza slices were hurled in a free-for-all, authorities said.

“It was just insane,” said senior Zach Little, who was in the cafeteria when the melee began Thursday. “Things like milk cartons, full pop bottles and blue slushies were flying around. Kids literally bought the food to throw it, and to me, that’s a little expensive.”

The reputed instigator, Demetrius Oglesby, 18, faces a felony charge of resisting arrest after authorities said he ran from a police officer. The officer tripped over another student who fell during the food fight, breaking his foot. A school official also suffered minor injuries.

Two juveniles also face misdemeanor charges from the incident — a 15-year-old charged with mob action and disorderly conduct and a 14-year-old charged with assault.

NEW YORK

Tractor-trailer loses roof in tunnel

NEW YORK — A truck driver whose rig was 6 inches too tall for the Lincoln Tunnel drove its entire 1.5-mile length, peeling off the trailer’s roof completely and ripping off decorative ceiling tiles.

Flashing signs and officers using a loudspeaker had warned the driver, and it was not clear why he didn’t heed them, according to the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey, which operates the tunnel.

“He misjudged the height of the tunnel, and once he was inside it, he didn’t realize the damage he was doing,” said Roy Guzman, the safety director of the trucker’s employer, U.S.A. Logistics Carriers of McAllen, Texas.

The driver, who is from Texas, was charged with nine misdemeanor moving violations.

The central tube in the tunnel heading into Manhattan was closed for about 90 minutes after the accident early Thursday but reopened just before the morning rush hour.

TENNESSEE

Sleepy lawyer seeks

new murder trial

MEMPHIS — A defense attorney tried a different argument to win his convicted client a second trial: The attorney was too sleepy.

Charles R. Curbo wrote in a motion for a new trial that he could not properly represent the defendant, Tony Wolfe, because he was tired during the six-day trial in January.

“The court constantly rushed defense counsel, who the court knew had little sleep on account of the hours that the court was keeping for no good reason,” Mr. Curbo wrote.

Prosecutor David Zak said he saw no lack of enthusiasm from the defense.

“The defense attorney showed anger, passion and zeal in representing his client. There was never a moment when he was running out of gas,” Mr. Zak said.

Wolfe was convicted of first-degree murder in the fatal shooting of Leondus Hawkins, 27, in September 2004 at a service station parking lot. He was sentenced to life in prison.

But both sides said the trial held long and late hours because Wolfe required dialysis treatments every other morning and kept the trial from starting until early afternoon for several days. The proceedings went on until 10 or 11 p.m. on some days. The judge is scheduled to rule on the motion next month.

UTAH

Christmas scammer to spend time in jail

SALT LAKE CITY — If her invention had been real, she might have made big bucks. Instead, she gets coal in her stocking — and time behind bars.

Kristine Mylonakis, 45, was accused of fleecing more than 70 investors out of more than $56,000 by claiming she made cylindrical trim that keeps Christmas lights concealed until they are needed. She had no such invention and was sent to jail last week for six months.

“Time in the cooler is the perfect place for someone … to prove whether she is naughty or nice,” Attorney General Mark Shurtleff said Thursday.

Mylonakis pleaded guilty in March 2005 to third-degree felony securities fraud.

WASHINGTON

Ferry rams dock, injuring 1 person

MUKILTEO — A passenger ferry rammed the outer dock at the Mukilteo terminal north of Seattle on Friday, injuring at least one person and damaging the vessel and some pilings.

One person had minor injuries after falling down stairs but was not hospitalized, ferry system spokeswoman Susan Harris. She said the ferry Cathlamet appeared to have a puncture above the water line.

The ferry had come into the dock faster than usual about 6 a.m. and hit pilings that help guide it, she said. It was later moved to an open slip to assess the damage.

A tug boat removed a broken piling from the ferry terminal, which resumed normal service Friday afternoon after another ferry replaced the Cathlamet, Miss Harris said.

The Cathlamet’s captain, a 20-year veteran of the ferry service, has taken a drug test and is on paid leave during an investigation by the state and Coast Guard, Miss Harris said.

WISCONSIN

House explosion kills 1, injures 3

WAUWATOSA — An explosion that sent a plume of fire and debris 75 feet high flattened a suburban Milwaukee home Saturday, killing an elderly woman in the house and injuring three neighbors, authorities said.

Neighbors had reported smelling a strong odor just before the blast, and Fire Chief Dean Redman said the evidence was consistent with a gas buildup.

We Energies, which provides natural gas to the neighborhood, said there was no evidence of a leak from the area up to and including the meter on the house.

The blast appeared to be accidental, said Sherry Duval, spokeswoman for the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives.

Two other homes were severely damaged — one structurally and one from the fire, Chief Redman said. There was also significant damage to at least seven other homes and businesses.

Three neighbors were hurt, one of whom was being treated at a hospital for injuries not considered life-threatening, he said.

From wire dispatches and staff reports

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