- The Washington Times - Saturday, January 19, 2008

Jury convicts 911 operator

DETROIT — A jury convicted a 911 operator yesterday of willful neglect of duty after authorities said she didn’t take seriously a boy’s calls to report his mother had collapsed. The mother was found dead three hours after the first call.

The misdemeanor charge against Sharon Nichols is punishable by up to a year in jail. She will be sentenced March 11.

Miss Nichols, 45, testified she could not hear the then-5-year-old boy on the other end of the line. Authorities said Robert Turner called 911 twice on Feb. 20, 2006, to report his mother had passed out.

Robert, now 7, testified that Miss Nichols hung up on him and accused him of playing games.

Police found Sherrill Turner, 46, dead three hours after the first call. A wrongful death lawsuit against the city argues Sherrill Turner, who had an enlarged heart, would have survived if help had been sent immediately.

Spellings pushes compliance with law

Education Secretary Margaret Spellings warned state leaders in a letter yesterday they still must comply with the No Child Left Behind law, even though a federal court has revived a lawsuit against it.

“No state or school district should regard the ruling as license to disregard NCLB’s requirements,” Mrs. Spelling wrote to chief state school officers.

The 6th Circuit Court of Appeals this month revived a lawsuit — brought by the National Education Association (NEA) and several school districts — regarding NCLB funding. The NEA and allies argue the law is an unfunded mandate. Their case initially was dismissed, but the appeals court ruling reversed the dismissal.

Mrs. Spellings said she is exploring legal options to overturn the ruling. If it stands, she wrote, “it would represent a fundamental shift in practice.”

Police find bodies in submerged car

SPARTA, Ky. — The bodies of a family reported missing more than a week ago were found in a car submerged in a car in a northern Kentucky creek, police said yesterday.

Foul play is not suspected, state Trooper Chip Perry said.

The car was found Thursday in Eagle Creek in Gallatin County, near a sharp curve on a rural road about 30 miles southwest of Cincinnati. Authorities removed the car and found the bodies of two adults and three children inside.

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