- The Washington Times - Tuesday, September 1, 2009

ARIZONA

Bar patron refuses ride, dies in crash

PHOENIX | A 21-year-old man who refused a ride and tussled with a cab driver who tried to stop him from driving was dead a few minutes later after rolling his SUV.

Witnesses told police that Caleb Schmidt was drinking late Friday into Saturday morning at a north Phoenix bar. They say they pleaded with him not to get behind the wheel early Saturday morning.

Police say Mr. Schmidt even tussled with a cabbie who tried to block him.

As he drove off, witnesses say Mr. Schmidt immediately lost control. The sport utility vehicle did a 180-degree-turn, struck a concrete median and hit a tree.

The vehicle rolled onto Mr. Schmidt, who had fallen out of an open door. He died in the accident.

CALIFORNIA

4 killed in apparent runaway car crash

SANTEE | Four people died after a speeding runaway car crashed into an SUV, a fence and an embankment before rolling several times, landing on a dry patch in the San Diego River and bursting into flames.

California Highway Patrol Officer Brian Pennings said Friday’s crash killed Mark Saylor, 45, a 19-year CHP veteran; his wife Cleofe, 45; their 13-year-old daughter and Mr. Saylor’s brother-in-law.

Mr. Pennings said someone, thought to be Mr. Saylor’s wife, called 911 just before the crash to say the accelerator was stuck. The car was headed downhill, and a witness said it was going more than 100 mph. The driver of the sport utility vehicle was hospitalized with moderate injuries.

Mr. Saylor was a safety officer, whose job was to inspect school buses, ambulances, tow trucks and armored vehicles.

CONNECTICUT

Warrant seeks arrest of powerful mayor

HARTFORD | Mayor Eddie Perez, already scheduled to go on trial on bribery charges, said Monday that a state judge had signed a new arrest warrant accusing him of wrongdoing involving a former state lawmaker.

Mr. Perez, a powerful political figure, did not go into detail about the allegations other than saying they involved former state Rep. Abraham Giles, whose dealings with the city have been investigated. He said he was innocent and vowed to complete his term, which expires in 2011, and to restore his reputation.

A one-time gang leader who turned his life around, Mr. Perez was elected mayor of the city of 125,000 residents in 2001. He pushed through changes to the city charter that gave the mayor’s office strong control over city government.

FLORIDA

Plea deal made in ammo sales case

MIAMI | A man accused in a scheme to illegally ship nearly $300 million in Chinese-made ammunition to the Afghan military has agreed to a plea deal that could send him to prison for up to five years.

Under the deal, prosecutors will drop 84 counts of wrongdoing in exchange for 23-year-old Efraim Diveroli of Miami Beach pleading guilty to a conspiracy charge. He could also be fined up to $250,000.

Diveroli’s AEY Inc. was awarded a $298 million U.S. Army contract to provide the ammunition to Afghanistan. The contract forbade exporting Chinese ammunition, but prosecutors say the company did it anyway and claimed the rounds were from Albania. Sentencing is scheduled for Nov. 10.

MAINE

Almanac predicts numbingly cold

LEWISTON | Americans may want to check their sweaters and shovels - the Farmers’ Almanac is predicting a cold winter.

The 2010 edition of the venerable almanac goes on sale Tuesday. It predicts numbing cold from the Rocky Mountains to the Appalachians.

Managing Editor Sandi Duncan says it’s going to be an “ice cold sandwich,” with milder weather on the coasts.

The Maine-based almanac issues forecasts based sunspots, planetary positions and the effects of the moon.

The National Weather Service is calling for a warmer-than-normal winter because of an El Nino weather system that has developed in the Pacific Ocean.

OKLAHOMA

Pastor’s son: Funeral is time for God

OKLAHOMA CITY | The son of the pastor who was brutally killed inside her Oklahoma church says her funeral will be another chance for his mother to spread the word of God.

Services for 61-year-old Carol Daniels were held Monday in Oklahoma City. Mrs. Daniels’ mutilated body was discovered Aug. 23 at her small Pentecostal church in Anadarko. Investigators say her body was moved into an unnatural position after she was killed. Also, a preliminary autopsy report shows she suffered multiple gashes to her neck and chest.

Alvin Daniels told KOCO-TV that all his mother wanted to do was preach about God. She drove 60 miles every week to Anadarko to hold services.

PENNSYLVANIA

Bishop cites fatigue for departure

SCRANTON | An embattled Roman Catholic bishop in northeastern Pennsylvania announced Monday that he is stepping down for health reasons, saying he suffers from insomnia and crippling physical fatigue.

Scranton Bishop Joseph Martino, 63, had been leading the Diocese of Scranton since 2003 and will be leaving more than a decade before the usual retirement age of 75.

“As the song says, you have to know when to hold them and when to fold them,” Bishop Martino said at a news conference. “And I think it’s time to move on.”

Bishop Martino had been heavily criticized by parishioners who felt his imperious leadership style and staunch defense of Catholic orthodoxy had alienated many in the diocese of 350,000. Supporters said Bishop Martino was simply enforcing church doctrine.

He said he submitted his resignation to the Vatican in June. Pope Benedict XVI accepted it Monday under a provision of church law in which a bishop, because of illness or “some other grave reason, has become unsuited” to carry out his duties.

WASHINGTON

Woman gets time in fake marriage case

SEATTLE | A 35-year-old Seattle-area woman who ran a visa fraud scheme involving sham marriages to Cambodians faces two years and nine months in prison.

Vuthy Sim was sentenced Monday for three counts each of visa fraud and money laundering, conspiracy to commit those offenses and concealing an illegal immigrant.

U.S. District Judge James L. Robart said foreign nationals were denied visas because of spots that were taken in the fraud.

Sim was convicted Jan. 23 after witnesses testified that she paid U.S. citizens $20,000 to pose as being engaged to Cambodian nationals, while the Cambodian men and women paid her $35,000.

Investigators found Sim made more than $160,000 from a dozen Cambodian men and women who engaged in sham weddings to get U.S. green cards.

From wire dispatches and staff reports

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