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American Scene: 3 bank employees die in private plane crash

- - Monday, January 14, 2013

SALT LAKE CITY — A plane carrying three Utah men crashed shortly after takeoff in Texas on Saturday, killing all three aboard, authorities said.

The Piper PA-46 took off from an airport near Paris, Texas, about 8 a.m.

The Texas Department of Public Safety identified the men as Michael Endo, 50, Michael Dale Bradley, 44, and pilot Rob Thompson, 49, according to a report in the Deseret News.

All three men worked for Utah-based Celtic Bank, The Salt Lake Tribune reported.

"This is a challenging and difficult time for the entire Celtic Bank family," bank CEO Reese Howell Jr. said in a statement.

There was no immediate word on the cause of the crash. The Public Safety Department said it was reportedly foggy and the plane attempted to turn back toward the airport before descending rapidly and crashing.

The plane burst into flames upon impact, Federal Aviation Administration spokesman Roland Herwig told The Tribune.

CALIFORNIA

Old Man Winter visits Southern California

SAN DIEGO — Oddly enough, even polar bears at the San Diego Zoo are getting a helping hand with the unseasonable freezing temperatures sweeping across California.

Zookeepers turned up the heat for some animals and offered shelter to polar bears during a cold snap through the weekend that promised to bring the coldest overnight temperatures.

While polar bears tolerate frigid climes, the zoo animals lack the fat layers that naturally occur in the wild to fully protect them from the cold, so zookeepers offer them shelter and "warming apparatuses" in case they seek it, zoo spokeswoman Jenny Mehlow said.

"The animals do take this in stride because they're wearing a nice, warm fur coat," she said.

Frost and freeze warnings were in effect early Sunday for parts of San Diego County with lows in some areas dipping to 25 and even lower in the mountains, according to the National Weather Service. On Saturday, the town of Ramona in eastern San Diego County recorded a low of 23 degrees, breaking the record of 24 degrees set in 2007.

MASSACHUSETTS

Writer sues management company for negligence

BOSTON — Crime writer Patricia Cornwell is famous for her books on the life of a fictional medical examiner. Now, she has her own personal drama unfolding in federal court.

Ms. Cornwell is suing her former financial management company and business manager for negligence and breach of contract. She claims they cost her millions of dollars in investment losses and unaccounted-for revenues during their four-year relationship.

The Boston trial has opened a window into the life of Ms. Cornwell, who sits in the courtroom while her spending habits and wealth are described for the jury.

Ms. Cornwell says in her lawsuit that problems caused by Anchin, Block & Anchin LLP and former Anchin principal Evan Snapper were so distracting that they caused her to miss a book deadline for the first time in her career.

Attorneys for Anchin and Mr. Snapper deny the accusations and say Ms. Cornwell was a "demanding" client.

INDIANA

Father bears no grudge for alleged kidnapping

SOUTH BEND — An Indiana man says he forgives his parents for allegedly abducting his son nearly 20 years ago and he is eager to be reacquainted with him.

Richard Wayne Landers Sr. said he wants to tell his son, Michael Landers, he loves him but doesn't know his number. He said he can't afford to go to Minnesota, where his son was found living with his parents.

Mr. Landers Sr.'s parents allegedly abducted his son in 1994 amid a custody dispute with the boy's mother. He said his parents never explained why they told a judge they thought he would be a bad parent.

Michael Landers seems to have understood his circumstances and lived willingly with his grandparents. He changed his name from Richard Wayne Landers Jr. in 2006.

PENNSYLVANIA

Trial begins in priest sexual abuse case

PHILADELPHIA — The second trial to stem from a landmark investigation of priest sexual abuse in the Philadelphia Archdiocese is set to start Monday.

The accuser says he was abused by two Roman Catholic priests and his sixth-grade teacher in the late 1990s. One has pleaded guilty, while the others are fighting the charges at trial.

The young man's credibility is expected to be the crux of the case.

A policeman's son, he has battled drugs and alcohol and been arrested for petty crimes.

The 24-year-old testified at last year's trial of Monsignor William Lynn, the first U.S. church official convicted over his handling of priest abuse complaints. But the accuser wasn't cross-examined.

From wire dispatches and staff reports