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At least 50 vehicles collide in foggy pileup

PORT ARTHUR | A pileup involving dozens of vehicles left more than 50 people hurt, four critically, as fog and smoke washed over a Southeast Texas highway early Thursday, officials said.

Jefferson County Sheriff’s Office Deputy Rod Carroll said at least 50 vehicles crashed, but that nobody died in the chain-reaction collisions around 5:45 a.m. on Highway 73, five miles west of Port Arthur.

Many of the 54 victims were treated for injuries including broken bones, abrasions and trauma, and one man suffered a heart attack, Deputy Carroll said.

Early-morning fog, combined with smoke from recent marsh fires, contributed to the crashes, the deputy said.

Authorities closed a stretch of the highway about 80 miles east of Houston after the pileup, but reopened it by late morning, he said.


Arson-attacks suspect arraigned in hospital

NEW YORK | A man accused of fashioning makeshift Molotov cocktails from Frappuccino bottles and hurling them at several locations said he wanted to inflict damage on an Islamic center because Muslims had been trying to take over his life for 40 years, according to court papers released Thursday.

Ray Lazier Lengend, 40, from Guyana, was arraigned Thursday on charges of arson as a hate crime and several other counts of arson in the five firebomb attacks on New Year's Day. He appeared groggy and dazed during the hearing via videoconference from his bedside at Bellevue Hospital Center. He answered “yes” and “OK.”

No one was injured in the attacks and only one target, a private home, was seriously damaged.

Queens District Attorney Richard Brown said Mr. Lengend filled the bottles with gasoline and set out in a stolen Buick.

He lobbed one bottle over the counter at a convenience store, threw two at the Imam Al-Khoei Foundation, and one at a house used as a Hindu temple, prosecutors said. One cracked through a window at a private home and did serious damage, and he also threw one that didn’t ignite at the home of his brother-in-law, they said.


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