- The Washington Times - Saturday, November 12, 2005

Families remember plane crash victims

NEW YORK — Scores of families gathered in a seaside neighborhood yesterday to observe the fourth anniversary of one of the nation’s deadliest airline disasters.

The crash of American Airlines Flight 587 on a quiet residential block in the Belle Harbor section of Queens killed 265 persons — including five on the ground — on Nov. 12, 2001, at a time when the city was still reeling from the terrorist attacks on the World Trade Center.

“It feels like yesterday,” said Juan Reyes, 19, of the Bronx, who lost his father in the crash. “It happened four years ago, but it seems like four minutes ago.”

Mayor Michael R. Bloomberg told the hundreds gathered on a chilly morning that the city hopes to pick a design soon for a $2 million memorial to the victims. Officials hope to have a monument in place next fall.

Flight 587 had just taken off from John F. Kennedy International Airport for a flight to the Dominican Republic when a section of its tail tore away as the plane’s pilot battled turbulence.

Trooper arrested on misconduct charge

COLUMBIA, S.C. — A state trooper was arrested Friday after authorities accused him of taking thousands of dollars from Hispanic motorists instead of issuing traffic tickets.

Lance Cpl. Stephen A. Watts, 28, of Pelion, S.C., was charged with misconduct after he collected $40 from a driver instead of writing a ticket during a traffic stop Oct. 30 in Lexington County near Columbia, according to an arrest warrant.

More charges were expected, authorities said.

Lexington County Sheriff James Metts said investigators were tipped off after a farmer asked if it was appropriate for police to stop migrant workers and take money without issuing a ticket.

Witnesses and victims spoke little to no English, the sheriff said.

Assistant principal honored at funeral

LAFOLLETTE, Tenn. — Several hundred people attended a funeral Mass yesterday for an assistant principal who was killed as administrators tried to wrestle a gun away from a student.

Ken Bruce, 48, was respected by students, said Campbell County Sheriff Ron McClelland.

“Children loved him. He wasn’t the type to intimidate kids or anything,” Sheriff McClelland said.

Authorities said the shooting at the 1,400-student Campbell County Comprehensive High School on Tuesday began when a 15-year-old freshman was called to the office because other students had seen him with a gun on campus.

Mother accused in death of infant

OSHKOSH, Wis. — A 4-month-old girl died when her inebriated mother fell asleep on top of her while breast-feeding, prosecutors said.

Lorinda Hawkins told police she fell asleep about 15 minutes after she started breast-feeding the baby Feb. 23 because of her intoxication, a criminal complaint said. When she woke up about an hour later, the baby was pale and wasn’t breathing, the complaint said.

Mrs. Hawkins was charged Friday with one count of child neglect causing a death. If convicted as a repeat felony offender, she could be sentenced to 29 years in prison and fined $100,000.

The 27-year-old — who was on probation for child neglect — had consumed six double-shot alcoholic beverages at a bowling alley, the complaint said. A toxicologist estimated her blood alcohol level ranged from .15 to .27 percent.

From wire dispatches and staff reports

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