- The Washington Times - Sunday, August 9, 2009

Two killed in crash with band tour bus

FORT WAYNE, Ind. | The Christian rock band MercyMe canceled a show Saturday in the St. Louis area after its tour bus collided with a car in northeastern Indiana, killing two passengers in the car and the pregnant car driver’s unborn baby.

No one in the band was injured. A news story on the crash and a photo of the damaged bus were posted on the band’s Web site Saturday.

Fort Wayne Police Officer Liza Thomas said witnesses told police the bus was going through a green light about 1:15 a.m. Saturday when the car made a left turn in front of it. The band from the Dallas area had been in Fort Wayne for a Friday night show at Parkview Field.

No injuries were reported on the bus, Officer Thomas said. Two passengers in the car, a male and female, were pronounced dead. Driver Kara Klinker, 18, of Fort Wayne, was in her third trimester of pregnancy, and the baby died. Miss Klinker was hospitalized Saturday in critical condition, Officer Thomas said.

Charges unlikely for crash husband

GARDEN CITY, N.Y. | There isn’t much chance the husband of Diane Schuler will face criminal charges for the fiery crash she caused while driving the wrong way on a highway, killing herself and seven others, attorneys agree.

Prosecutors would have to prove Daniel Schuler was aware his wife was intoxicated and failed to stop her when she packed her two children and three nieces into a minivan at an upstate campground for the ride home to Long Island. A witness who saw her there said she was sober, and state police have said she wasn’t impaired an hour after she left.

So what was defense attorney Dominic Barbara doing when he paraded the teary-eyed widower before a mob of reporters last week to dispute autopsy findings that Mrs. Schuler was high on marijuana and drunk when she smashed her car head-on into a sport utility vehicle?

Attorneys suspect it was the first step in trying to soften the hearts of potential jurors for civil litigation that some victims’ families intend to pursue.

Teen accused of shooting stepsister

AUGUSTA, Ga. | A 14-year-old boy awoke from a bad dream and shot his stepsister in the head 10 times while she napped on the couch, authorities said.

Richmond County Sheriff’s Lt. Scott Peebles said Eric Lee Phillips Whitehead has been charged with murder. The teenager was charged as an adult in the Friday afternoon death of Patricia Ann Troglen, 22.

The teenager told authorities he considered his stepsister to be his best friend, but he became enraged after he dreamed about an argument with her.

Police said the teenager awoke, got a gun from his stepfather’s room and shot his stepsister.

Lt. Peebles said the boy had been in and out of trouble and had been staying at his stepfather’s home temporarily.

Ex-congressman’s brother’s trial ‘on’

NEW ORLEANS | A federal judge has rejected arguments that the recent bribery trial and conviction of former Rep. William J. Jefferson make it impossible for his brother to get a fair trial in New Orleans.

Mose Jefferson, the congressman’s eldest brother and hub of the family political machine, is scheduled for trial Monday, accused of bribing a New Orleans school board president for her support in awarding school contracts to a computer-based math teaching system he helped sell.

Mose Jefferson faces three counts of bribery, two of obstructing justice and one each of conspiracy and money laundering. They carry total maximum sentences of 65 years in prison and $1.75 million in fines.

Examining prospective jurors “will reveal the extent of prejudice, if any, resulting from media coverage of the trial of defendant’s brother,” U.S. District Judge Mary Ann Vial Lemmon wrote in a two-sentence order Friday.

William J. Jefferson was convicted Wednesday in Alexandria on 11 counts, including bribery, for using his influence to broker business deals in Africa.

Priest says gunman used dark for ‘evil’

GREEN TREE, Pa. | Before three women were fatally shot at a Pittsburgh-area health club, the gunman first paused and shut off the lights.

A priest who conducted Betsy Gannon’s funeral Saturday at St. Margaret of Scotland Parish Church said that was only fitting because “evil can’t function any other way than in the dark.”

The church is a few miles from the L.A. Fitness club where Ms. Gannon, 49, and two other women were fatally shot in an aerobics class Tuesday night.

Earlier Saturday, more than 200 mourners gathered in a Methodist church to pay their respects to Heidi Overmier, 46, of Carnegie.

The funeral of Jody Billingsley, 37, of Mount Lebanon, is scheduled for Wednesday.

The three were killed and nine others wounded by George Sodini, 48, who then fatally shot himself.

From wire dispatches and staff reports.

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